Raspberry Crumble Bars

raspberry crumble bars4

Happy Friday!

Well, it’s not entirely happy for me. In some crazy sleep deprived fog I foolishly decided to give up sweets for lent. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s been two days and already the gummy sour bunnies that live in the center console of my car are screaming my name. I’m already planning my easter basket. It’s going to be epic.

But just because I’m unhappy, doesn’t mean you have to be. You can make these Raspberry Crumb Bars. Please make them, for those of us who cannot.

raspberry crumble bars3

 

This recipe is really simple and can be easily tweaked. If you’d prefer blueberry or strawberry jam you can easily substitute. I also use this amazing granola in the topping, but if you don’t have some readily made (or you ate it all last night) you can use a good store bought brand.

raspberry crumble bars2

 

The shortbread crust is buttery, yet somehow light, and the fruity jam and nutty granola combine for the perfect bite.

raspberry crumble bars5

I made these for the first time for a meeting of my moms group. There are about nine of us moms who have babies around the same age and we try to get together once a week for play dates. It’s so much fun to get the babies together and watch them interact. But the best part is, we always have dessert.

raspberry crumble bars

It’s awesome. Once a week you can look forward to dessert (and a glass of wine!) in the middle of the day. It’s pretty great. In fact, I’ve thought seriously about being one of the people who nurses their kid until they are like, a tween, just so I can continue to use the excuse, “I’m breastfeeding” when eating my second bar. And also use it an excuse when I take tiny slivers out of a third slice until I’ve basically eaten the whole thing. Don’t worry, if you’re not nursing there are plenty of other reasons to eat these delicious, crumbly bars….”Having friends over for dinner!” “Just finished the laundry!”  ”It’s Tuesday!” …you get the idea.

raspberry crumble bars6

 

I’ll be thinking of those tiny slivers for the next 38 days…but who’s counting?

Enjoy!

Recipe: Raspberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 -1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces raspberry jam (I like the kind with seeds) OR USE THIS
  • 1 cup  Coconut Maple Granola (or store bought granola without dried fruit)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla.
  3. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing until it almost comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out on a board. Lightly pat two-thirds of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Spread with the jam, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Mix the granola into the remaining dough with your hands. Break the dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface. Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.
  4. Cool completely and cut into 9 or 12 bars.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

 

Baked Strawberry Donuts with Strawberry Sugar

Baked Strawberry Donut

I’m baaaaaaaaack! Hey guys! Remember me? I’m the one who abandoned you and left you recipe-less for the past 7 months. I’m sorry, I really am, but I have a good excuse! I gave birth to the most beautiful, perfect, amazing little boy in the whole world and I have been spending every waking (and there have been a lot!) moment staring at him, playing with him, and planting so many kisses on him I have perma-chapped lips. So, I’ve let other things slip. I constantly have a pile of laundry that isn’t done. Ponytails are my best friend. Don’t even get me started on how much spit up I let cover my shirt before I consider it “dirty.” And, I haven’t really been keeping up with things in the kitchen – all I can say is thank goodness for Trader Joe’s and the Thai place down the street! But, all that is about to change – it’s about time don’t you think? I know my husband does – no matter how hard I try I can’t get him to consider cereal dinner.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I have a whole lotta love this year. More than ever. So, I need something to show that love. Clearly, the answer here is doughnuts.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Strawberry baked donuts with strawberry sugar. If that doesn’t sound like love I don’t know what does! These donuts are light and airy, sweet and sugary, and in true SSB fashion – “healthified” (only 2 tablespoons butter?!) so you can have one for breakfast AND dessert :)

Baked Strawberry Donut

I was racking my brain to come up with the perfect Valentine’s Day recipe. I knew I wanted something sweet, and I couldn’t get donuts off my mind…but how could I make them Valentine-y? That’s when it hit me – strawberry sugar. And the secret to this amazing pink stuff is…freeze dried strawberries. You can get them in the grocery store, usually with the dried fruit, or, if you happen to have a box of Special K Red Berries lying around the house, get diggin’!

Baked Strawberry Donut

The perk to this method is that you get to snack while you are picking out the berries! However you do it, you need about a half cup. Set them aside for later and get cooking.

Baked Strawberry Donut

 

Whisk dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except strawberry jam. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until moistened. Then, stir in the strawberry jam. The strawberry jam is your secret weapon in this batter. It adds a little color, a little sweetness, and lots of strawberry flavor. If you are lucky enough to have your mom’s homemade strawberry jam in your fridge, complete with chunks of strawberries mixed in, I highly suggest using it :) If not, any store bought brand will work!

Baked Strawberry Donut

 

You do need a donut pan for this recipe. I got mine on Amazon and it has been well worth the few bucks I spent. The best way I’ve found to get the batter in without making a huge mess is a good old ziplock bag. Just snip off  a corner and pipe away.

Baked Strawberry Donut

After you finish baking these pillow-like cakes, it’s time to set up your decoration station. Sugar. Butter. Donuts.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Make sure the donuts have cooled slightly or they will absorb too much butter (although some may not think that is a bad thing!) and the strawberry sugar will melt right on and turn red. It probably will do a bit of this anyway so I suggest second dusting with a spoon or if you want to get really fancy, a powdered sugar shaker.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Make these for the ones you love. Make them for your coworkers. Make them for your kids. Make them for yourself. Just make them! ‘

 

So happy to be back. Enjoy!!

Recipe: Baked Strawberry Donuts with Strawberry Sugar

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • For strawberry sugar:
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray doughnut pans with baking spray.
  2. Into a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in strawberry jam.
  3. Fill donut pans almost to the top. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a cutting board.
  4. For the topping, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in shallow bowl. To make the strawberry sugar, combine sugar and freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until a fine sand is created. Pour into a shallow bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the strawberry sugar, either on one side or both sides.

 

 

White Peach and Olive Oil Cake

Hey there!

It has been HOT here lately. Like, escape to the movies, eat all meals in an air conditioned restaurant, run to Target for a kiddie pool HOT. So, I’ve been switching up my normal routine. Instead of my early morning gym sessions that are the norm, I’ve been waking up and enjoying hanging out and getting things done around the house while it’s not too hot yet. I open the doors and windows and twiddle around the house before I start sweating. It’s the only time it would be possible to turn on the oven. So yesterday morning before my hubby even woke up, I had this cake baking in the oven. Not a bad way to wake up, huh?

It’s no secret that I love all fruit, but white peaches are especially delicious, especially this time of year. They are really sweet and pair perfectly with the olive oil in this cake.

Look at that batter! The olive oil tuns the batter such a rich shade of yellow. If you’ve never had an olive oil cake, prepare to fall in love. The olive oil makes the cake turn out incredibly moist and gives that cake a TON of flavor. Just make sure you use a good olive oil that you like the taste of (I suggest giving it a taste plain, first) because you will really taste the olive oil in the finished product.

When making this cake, you toss the peaches in olive oil and sugar, so when you are whisking the dry ingredients in, that batter might seem a touch dry, but don’t worry. Once you add the peaches the olive oil and sugar juice that you created will thin things out to the perfect consistency.

This cake bakes in a 9×13 baking dish for only about 30-35 minutes, so it’s prefect for early morning baking because it’s done before you’re so hot you just have to turn that oven off. :)

The cake fluffs up perfectly. It is moist, crumbly, fruity from the peaches and the olive oil, and rich in the absolute best way thanks to the delicious olive oil. It’s a perfect summer treat. I thought it tasted great with a hefty dusting of powdered sugar on top, too. :) Plus, if you bake it in the morning, it is totally acceptable to eat it for breakfast ;)

Enjoy!

Find the original recipe here. The only change is using white peaches instead of yellow. You can use either, but I like the extra sweetness of the white peaches.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Hey!

So, things have been a liiitle crazy around here lately, so some quick and easy meals have been a must. These muffins have been my grab and go-to for breakfast pretty much every morning last week, not to mention a few quick lunches and snacks mixed in as well!

Luckily, I don’t feel too badly about making two of these and a handful of cherries my impromptu lunch because of all the good stuff that fills them up!

The recipe I derived these muffins from calls for you to process the oats in a food processor to make oat flour, but I prefer the texture difference of using the whole oats instead. Plus, I almost doubled the amount of blueberries used in the batter because…why not?! Who doesn’t est a blueberry muffin wishing there were just a few more blueberries scattered in there?

Make sure to give the frozen blueberries a toss in flour before mixing them into the batter, that way they won’t all sink to the bottom. You could use fresh blueberries if you have them, but for some reason I can never keep fresh blueberries in the house long enough to do anything other than eat them by the handful!

Go ahead a fill the muffin cups almost o the top, that way you’ll get big, puffy muffins. I also think next time I make these I’ll sprinkle some dry oats on the top for even more texture.

These will keep for about a week, but they are also great to freeze. I think they will be one of my “make before baby comes projects.” I wouldn’t mind having a dozen or so of these in the freezer for late night feeding snacks!

 

Recipe: Blueberry Oat Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups oats
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Mix flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to oats; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture.
  3. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs). Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  4. Toss berries with 2 tablespoons flour, and gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over batter.
  5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

If you think “Healthy Cookie” is an oxymoron, well…you might be right. But there are definitely cookies you can feel way less guilty about eating, and this is one of them! In fact, I’ve eaten about 20 over the past couple days and haven’t had a single twinge of guilt. Perhaps it’s because my belly is already bursting with what the doctor predicts to be an 8 pound baby (eek!) …but still. :)

The combination of chocolate and cherry is a no brainer. I also firmly believe that any cookie containing oats can be eaten for breakfast without a second thought. Don’t you agree??
When you are mixing the batter up, you may be a bit worried (like I was) that there won’t be enough moisture, but just keep stirring and things will come together.
Usually, I don’t think it is too big of a deal to skip the “refrigerate for one hour” step in cookie baking, especially if you are in dire need. And truthfully, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you did skip it here, BUT I will say it makes a difference. Especially because you are using chopped chocolate, which, if you don’t refrigerate it first can get a little too melty during baking.
These cookies are sweet and hearty. Snag one before your morning workout and you’ll have an extra boost of energy to get you through. Or grab a couple after dinner for a guilt free dessert. Or snack throughout the day and say you are “keeping the baby’s energy up.” It’s a totally legitimate excuse. ;)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
  3. Combine melted butter and brown sugar. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add cherries, vanilla, milk and egg; beat until combined. Fold in chocolate. Refrigerate 1-3 hours. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Adapted From Cooking Light

Strawberry and Avocado Salsa

Happy Friday!

 I’m so excited about this recipe. It involves so many of my favorite things! Strawberries, avocado, cilantro, and Mexican food in general. If it wasn’t so frowned upon I’d make a giant batch to bathe in. That would be frowned upon, right?
This salsa is so versatile, which, along with the amazing flavor is why I love it! You can really spice it up and eat it with tortilla chips, or leave the spice out and have it with cinnamon sugar chips for a sweet treat, or us it as a topping for grilled steak, chicken, or even fish! Basically, you should just make it and then you’ll start inventing ways to use it just so you can eat it at every meal.
Strawberries are all over right now and I couldn’t be happier. Last week I got some that were as big as my head! Ok, maybe a sliiiight exaggeration but they were huge! Usually I can take a strawberry down in one bite, two TOPS. But these were 4 or 5 biters! Unheard of!

 You want to make sure your avocados are ripe but not mushy. You want the chunks to stay chunk-y in the salsa, not get blended in. I throw a ton of cilantro into this salsa because I love it. In my experience, you either love cilantro or hate it. While my cilantro-loving self can’t imagine how anyone couldn’t feel the same, you could make this dish without the cilantro…I guess. ;)
Another great thing about this dish is that it is just as easy to make a small batch as it is to make a big batch, so it’s perfect for your next BBQ, dinner party, or picnic. Or, it’s perfect to keep in the fridge for a few days for meals, snacks, and eating straight with a spoon. :)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Strawberry and Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • about 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 2 avocados, cut into chunks
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (for a milder salsa, take out the seeds and ribs)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Enjoy!

Papaya Margarita

Hi friends!

 The past few days the weather here has been amazing. Warm, sunny, calm winds, basically exactly what you would dream up if you were casting “perfect weather” in a film. So, I’ve wanted nothing more than to be outside. This weekend we spent Saturday in San Francisco eating lunch at a restaurant right on the pier with lots of good friends. It would have been great even if the weather was crappy, but it made it that much better that we were able to wear dresses and soak up some rays. Then on Sunday we got our patio furniture all cleaned off and ready for many, many dinners outside this summer, I did some work in the garden, washed the cars, and sat basking in the sun for about an hour. All in all a perfect, sunny weekend. After I came in the house, I wanted a cold, delicious drink, and the papaya margarita was born.
Now I have to confess, in my current state I haven’t actually tried this version of the drink but my husband gives his full approval. I will also tell you that all you have to do is substitute the tequila with sparking water and you have a delicious, pregnancy-friendly version of the drink!
I have been loving papaya lately. I get mine at Trader Joe’s and they are always really good. I usually buy a couple at a time and get one more ripe and one that’s really green. That way, by the time I finish the ripe one the green one has ripened up and is ready to eat!
For this cocktail you need about 1 cup of chopped papaya – which makes 2 cocktails. A half of a large papaya should give you enough to make 6 or 8 though, so drink up!
You need to blend the papaya into a puree in a blender with 1 tablespoon of water (per 2 cups). You are left with a pretty thick puree, but don’t worry – you’ll dilute it with the tequila (if you’re lucky!) :)
Next, juice up 2 limes. Combine the lime juice with the papaya puree and 1 tablespoon agave syrup. Shake really well to combine. The puree should be thinner now thanks to the lime juice. Add 6-9 oz of tequila (depending on how you’re feeling!) and shake well. Pour over a cup filled with ice. Garnish with a lime slice.
This is a perfect summer drink. It’s light, refreshing, fruity, and slightly sweet. I think it will be a staple on your summer happy hour menu!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Papaya Margarita

Ingredients

  • Makes 2 cocktails
  • 1 cup papaya chunks
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 6 to 9 oz tequila
  • ice
  • lime for garnish

Instructions

  1. Blend papaya into a puree with 1 tablespoon of water. Add juice of 2 limes and agave syrup and shake well. Add tequila and shake again.
  2. Fill a glass with ice and pour the shaken cocktail over (do not pour through the top holes of the cocktail shaker! You’ll lose all the papaya puree. Instead, take the top totally off and pour.)
  3. Garnish with a lime and enjoy!

 

 

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Hey there!

Happy Friday! Hope you are looking forward to a wonderful weekend! It is supposed to be warm and sunny in the Bay Area and I’m looking forward to being outside and soaking in some rays. Until then, I’ll be eating this cake!

Don’t you just love having people over for dinner? I do! The other night we had some friends over for dinner and it was so much fun. I was in charge of the main dish and dessert. I went for an apple theme because I purchased a giant bag of apples before I left for Chicago (smart move I know) and needed to use some up. So I went with pork chops and applesauce for dinner and I spent hours trying to find the perfect apple dessert. Sometimes when I have people over, I tend to go a biiiit overboard or try to be too fancy. I was looking at some seriously complex (and don’t get me wrong, delicious) looking apple desserts, but then I came upon this ridiculously simple apple cake and for some reason just went with it.

Wouldn’t you know, this dessert received RAVE reviews from the dinner guests! Sometimes simple is best! I also didn’t mention a peep to the guys who were going on and on about how delicious it was that it was both low fat AND whole wheat! Muahahahahaaa! (ßmy sneaky laugh!)

I think one thing I did that made my guests (and me!) swoon over this cake is that I used really good cinnamon. For Christmas, I got some “boutique” spices from my mother in law which I use all the time. You don’t have to go scouring your local gourmet shop for ceylon cinnamon, but you should use a good quality cinnamon, preferable one that hasn’t been sitting in your spice cupboard since Full House was running new episodes.

Another trick is to really cream the sugar, butter, and cream cheese. I let mine run on medium high speed for about 5 minutes. This leaves you with a ridiculously airy batter and in turn, a light and fluffy cake! It’s also really important to let your butter and cream cheese come up to room temp before mixing. Don’t even try melting or defrosting in the micro. Just be patient!

After you cream the batter, gently fold in the dry ingredients and then the apples coated in lemon, cinnamon and sugar. Pour in a spring form pan and sprinkle with more cinnamon & sugar mixture. Make sure to grease the pan well so it doesn’t stick!

You may want to leave the house while this is baking to avoid being so entranced by the smell that you pull it out of the oven and dive in to a half-baked cake with a spoon.

You can serve the cake warm or at room temperature, and it goes extremely well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Incidentally, it also serves as a fantastic breakfast. J

Enjoy!

Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • • 1/2 cup stick butter, room temperature
  • • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • • 6 ounces block-style reduced fat cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 cup)
  • • 2 large eggs
  • • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • • 4 cups chopped, peeled apple (about 3 large)
  • • Cooking spray
  • • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, vanilla, and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
  3.  Combine 1/4cup sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture, lemon juice, and apple in a bowl, and stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.
  4. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.



Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Hey! No April foolin’ here – this Strawberry Mint Sorbet is a quick, easy, and super delicious treat you’ll want to make no matter what the weather is where you live. I say that because I’m about to head to freezing cold Chicago from sunny, warm California, but I might just make a batch of this to eat while snuggled up in a sweatshirt and blanket!

The best part of this recipe? Besides how amazing it tastes of course.. It’s only 3 ingredients!

The second best part? It only takes one simple step to come together! Just crab your food processor, toss everything in and blend away!

You want to let the berries thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes before processing. Then, you’ll end up with a fantastic smelling strawberry mint crumble.

Don’t worry, no one will judge if you try a bite ;)

Drizzle in 1/2 cup water and you’ll get the base of your sorbet. It’s basically like a sweet, minty, fresh strawberry slurpee.

Stick it in the freezer for at least an hour and serve. Fresh, fruity, homemade sorbet that is better than any you could buy in the grocery store or pay $3 a scoop for in the ice cream shop.

Enjoy!!

 

Recipe: Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 16oz bag frozen strawberries, thawed at room temperature for 20 minutes
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor and process until you get a crumbly consistency.
  2. Drizzle in 1/2 cup water and process until smooth.
  3. Freeze in a shallow container for at least 1 hour.

Superfood Granola

Hey!

As spring approaches, I’m finding myself in the mood for some lighter foods all throughout the day. Especially after indulging a little too much over the holiday weekend! But, being as I’m just about 6 months pregnant, I’m also finding myself needing a bit more food to fill us  both up! So, I want to make sure the extra food I’m eating isn’t just satisfying my hunger, it’s also giving me the nutrients I need to pass along to my little man.

This superfood granola is so packed with good-for-you-stuff it’s a light, yet filling meal you can feel great about eating. Oh, and it tastes so good you’ll feel like you’re indulging too!

This granola is a little bit different than my normal granola recipes, mainly because it’s not baked! Which coincidentally makes it a cinch to throw together on a weeknight or any old time. The almond butter and honey you add bind the granola without needing to bake it – so it’s perfect for all you raw food lovers out there! The honey does make it a little sweeter than my usual granola recipes but I counterbalanced the extra sweetness well by using unsweetened fruit. But if you like your granola sweet, feel free to use sweetened fruit!

This recipe really packs in the vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. All things we could use more of on a daily basis! If you press this granola into a pan and chill it, you’ll end up with granola bars. Perfect for those of us that are constantly on the go (who isn’t!?!). Or you can do what I did and break them up before they are completely set to make a chunky no-bake loose granola. Either way it tastes delicious. The unbaked oats have a different taste and texture than baked oats, but not baking them allows them to soak up the almond buttery/honey goodness. And because this granola is a bit sweeter you can toss it into some plain greek yogurt for a quick, easy, and extremely healthy breakfast – no extra sweeteners needed!

This granola will definitely help you get your day started off on the right foot. Give it a try!

Enjoy!

*Important recipe note! This granola will come out just as good with some small substitutions. No chia seeds? No problem? Like rasins instead of blueberries? Go for it! you get the idea.. :)

Recipe: Superfood Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried blueberries
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 cup raw/turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine oats, walnuts, flaxseeds, wheat germ, and dried fruit in a large bowl.
  3. Combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently until lightly bubbling; 2-5 minutes.
  4. Immediately pour almond butter mixture over oat mixture and carefully mix with a rubber spatula or spoon.
  5. Gently press mixture into prepared pan, smoothing the top evenly.
  6. For granola bars: Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  7. For loose granola: Refrigerate until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Break granola up into chunks and continue to let cool at room temperature until completely cooled.
  8. Store bars or granola in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Hey there!

 Did you have a good weekend? I did! On Saturday we went to an engagement party for two of our very good friends, Alex and Stephanie. It was so much fun! We got to meet lots of family members from both the bride’s and groom’s families. Don’t you find weddings to be way more fun when you know lots of people??! :) I also discovered I am going to need to take some serious dance lessons before this wedding! The bride and groom have many Latin relatives who can turn circles around me on the dance floor. I swear one of the bride’s aunts taught Shakira all her moves. It was amazing…and intimidating! Good thing I have a year to learn! Everything at the party was fantastic, including the food! But the best part was the end of the night when the cupcakes came out! Well, they were actually like mini bundt cakes. Ohmygoodness! These things were mind blowing. There were lots of flavors, so naturally, I tried them all! We had a thing going with a few of my friends where we each took a bite and passed it around. You may think that’s weird, but think again. It is the absolute best way to try multiple flavors of baked goods! Eating one whole cupcake is so last year.
By far, my favorite was strawberry lemon. Lemon cake with really chunks of strawberry floating throughout. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. So obviously I set out to recreate it first thing Sunday morning. The only problem? I didn’t have any strawberries! So my options were…get out of my PJ’s and head to the store, or make do with what I had. Baking in your PJ’s is so much more fun anyway!
In honor of my delicious Saturday night memories, I baked this pound cake in a bundt pan, but you could definitely use a traditional loaf pan if you’d like. I think there would be enough batter for two loaves and you may want to check for doneness 10-15 minutes earlier, but it should come out tasting just as delicious!
There’s loads of lemon flavor in this cake from a double dose of lemon juice and grated lemon rind. I love adding both because #1 you get way more flavor and #2 you can see the little flecks of lemon rind in the cake so everyone knows before they even have a bite that they are about to get some fresh lemon flavor (surrounded by a moist and delicious cake of course!).
I was initially going to glaze this cake with a simple powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze, but once I tasted it I realized it was absolutely perfect as is. It is a pretty sweet cake, so it doesn’t need any extra sweetness from the glaze (of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t do it if you wanted to!). It is a bit crumblier than a traditional pound cake, I think because I used low-fat buttermilk. The texture is almost a cross between a pound cake and a coffee cake. Which, coincidentally makes it perfect for breakfast! :)
I think you are going to love this cake as much as I do. In fact, you may even force yourself to bring two-thirds of it to work to share out of fear that you just might eat the entire thing yourself!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon rind (about 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Coat a 10-inch bundt pan liberally with cooking spray and dust with flour.
  3. Combine 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and stir well with a whisk. Combine 2 cups granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed. Add rind and juice; beat just until blended. Mix blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour. Stir to coat. Fold blueberries into batter.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan; sharply tap the pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

Hey there!

 Did you ever have one of those days? I had planned to post this banana bread recipe yesterday but I ran out of the house without my work bag, in which was my computer, a bunch of stuff I needed for work, and my lunch. Major bummer, mostly because it meant an extra day keeping this amazing recipe from you! On another note, do you have any idea how hard it is to get through a work day without a computer?! There is almost nothing you can do to kill time ;)
Before we left for vacation, I had a few bananas that we hadn’t eaten. I knew they’d go bad over the time we were gone, so I threw them in the fridge. Did you know you can freeze bananas, peel and all? They will turn a very beautiful shade of dark brown, but they freeze really well. Then you have them on hand when you need to make this bread!
I love banana bread but hate the guilt I feel eating most of the butter, oil, and calorie ridden loaves out there. I have a recipe that calls for 1/2 pound of butter for ONE loaf! Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, and perfect if you’re baking it to bring to a breakfast gathering where you will only have one luscious slice, but if you want something you can have all week and legitimately call it “breakfast” without the least bit of guilt – this is the bread for you! The secret is in my favorite ingredient: Greek yogurt! The addition of Greek yogurt gives you moist, tasty bread with wayyyy fewer calories and all the flavor.
Another secret to this bread is using really ripe bananas. Have you ever heard of using bananas as a substitute for butter? Well, you can do it (although I suggest only subbing it for half the recommended amount of butter) and it turns out great. I do it in chocolate chip cookies sometimes and in lots of my muffin recipes. Anyway, using lots of really ripe bananas allows you to get away with only a third of a cup of oil in this whole loaf. And trust me, if you didn’t know, you’d never know!
This batter mixes up really, really thick. But don’t worry, that’s just how it’s supposed to be! You’ll have to get your arm muscles going to stir in the walnuts! I love walnuts, so there’s lots of them in this recipe. If you aren’t so keen on them, feel free to use less or leave them out.
Don’t mind the mess!
You might think you are over stuffing the loaf pan with all this batter, but you’re just a little over an hour from a puffy, delicious, healthy loaf of banana bread. I mean, how many times can you actually say you are getting your protein eating a slice of banana bread???!? Greek yogurt, I thank you!
Enjoy!
*Note: I’ve heard a couple of people made a smaller loaf and put some batter into muffin tins. Great idea!!! Also, be sure to tent the bread with aluminum foil after about 20 minutes to avoid it getting too brown. 

Recipe: Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 extra ripe bananas
  • 2 T vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine both flours, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In another bowl whisk eggs, oil, and sugar. Mash in bananas and stir in Greek yogurt.
  3. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (batter will be thick!). Stir in walnuts.
  4. Spray a loaf pan generously with cooking spray and spoon in batter.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. Check to see if the top is getting too brown and tent with foil if necessary. Bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean from the center of the bread.
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