Sorry about not blogging as frequently; I think the fact that I haven’t seen sunshine in over a month is really starting to get to me. It’s depressing and quite frankly I have no idea why my parents decided to raise me in Minnesota? People who live here are super humans; they have the ability to handle bone-chilling weather and things like tator tot hotdish. (I’m being sarcastic, but it’s totally a thing.)
So the good news is that I’m going on vacation in a week and I can’t freaking wait. I’m headed to Arizona and you can bet I’ll be soaking up the sunshine like it’s my job. Don’t worry, I never fail to slather on the sunscreen. Oh and I definitely won’t be forgetting to consume copious amounts of Mexican food. Words cannot describe how much I love the Southwest culture.
Before we get into life updates let me just inform you that I’m writing to you from a Starbucks in the middle of the desert (also known as the state of New Mexico). I’m here visiting my grandparents for a week.
Do you know what one of my favorite things about my grandmother is? She knows how much I appreciate good food. She even had green chile chicken stew waiting for me when I got off the plane. How sweet is that?
In fact she’s been going crazy in the kitchen: homemade whole wheat bread, corn muffins, raisin bran muffins, sopapillas, and much more. Going to the gym twice a day is necessary when she’s cooking. In fact we did Zumba together yesterday… then several Ludacris songs came on. Yeah I can’t even describe what a 77 year old doing Zumba to hip-hop looks like. She was literally bopping around to ‘how low can you go’. WHAT IS HAPPENING!
You don’t want that picture in your head. Let’s move on.
I’ve been writing over at the Food Network’s Healthyeats.com recently. I’m sharing recipes and creative inspiration from my kitchen. Check it out and get my fresh spring veggie pasta with butternut squash sauce recipe (pictured above), along with links to my other favorite pasta dishes.
Can I just say that I love the Food Network? I’m hoping one day I can pay for it as a single channel because it’s all I watch. I’m being completely serious by the way.
Okay are you ready for the big news?
I’ve been waiting to tell you this.
It’s totally exciting!
I’m moving to California!
Year round sunshine and surfing here I come.
Okay I have to run, but make your Mom a nice lemon pie for Mother’s Day. It’s a present she won’t forget.
I made you a snack!
In cake form.
I know you just got super excited, right? Surprise, surprise, snack cakes make me jump up and down too. But shhhh, this snack cake is full of secrets. Healthy secrets that will make yo’ abs pop. (Because after eating brownies and cookies and pies for months, I figure that it’s time to lighten it up). This snack cake actually won’t get you a six-pack nor do I suggest you invent a new ‘bundt cake diet’; this recipe just uses minimal butter because I secretly despise Paula Deen.
I’m joking! I’ve got nothing against that woman. I just enjoy giving you healthier alternatives that make it possible to enjoy something a bit indulgent while still being able to button your skinny jeans.
I bring you a snack that you most certainly can eat if you’re having a-stressed-out-of-my-mind-and-I-NEED-CARBS-OR-SOMETHING-SWEET-NOW kind of day. At only about 200 calories per serving, I’d say this might even be a breakfast cake. Or you could turn it into muffins.
I know you’d high-five me if you could right now.
I hate to admit this, but I really lovelovelovelove making bundt cakes. They’re SO pretty and perfect for sharing. Wait… when did I turn 70? Must have been last year when I started drinking tea and obsessively grocery shopping.
Maybe when I’m actually 70, I’ll act like I’m 23. That would be interesting… yet incredibly scary at the same time.
Anyway I’ll give you my full attention and provide you the deets on this lemon and blackberry cake shenanigan that I dreamt up. It began after I stopped by the grocery store (shocker!) after the gym. I’d been wanting to bake something for over a week. I realized that I haven’t made a simple cake in quite sometime and remembered how beautiful my last bundt cake was. (Bragging rights because it won a contest.) I snatched up blackberries; well because they’re like the best berry ever, and picked out a couple of lemons. Once I got home I realized that I had a ton of greek yogurt that needed to be used; this was perfect because putting yogurt in cakes makes them SUPER moist and delightful. I used a combination of whole wheat and regular flour to make the texture dense and divine.
I’ll be honest. It tastes like a muffin cake that I want to live in.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this cake! It’s pretty, snackable, and definitely worth baking up for Mother’s Day.
I can’t wait to surprise my Mom with this!
Lemon Blackberry Yogurt Bundt Cake
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup skim milk (or almond milk)
3/4 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt
1 pint of blackberries
zest of 1 lemon
Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk both flours with baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time, beating well. Set aside.
- In separate bowl mix together milk and lemon juice; add in yogurt and stir to combine. Next, combine all wet ingredients together. Turn mixer on low-speed and slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients; mixing until just combined.
- In a bowl, gently smash blackberries into smaller pieces and mix with the teaspoon of flour. Add your lemon zest and stir again. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 of batter in prepared pan. Layer with blackberries. Spread another 1/4 of batter on top of blackberries. Continue to do this until all of the blackberries are gone.
- Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, if desired. Or make the lemon cream cheese glaze. To make glaze combine lemon zest, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, and powdered sugar in medium bowl. Drizzle over cake.
- I calculated this cake to be about 200 calories per serving with the frosting. Feel free to use your own calculations.
- I do not recommend using ONLY whole wheat flour to make the cake.
- Feel free to make these into muffins. They would be delicious!
Ahhhhhhhh! I’ve been so completely busy lately.
Today I competed in a Chinese take-out cook-off. It was amazing to see the turn out and all of the creative dishes.
We were required to make 250 samples. I know… that’s a lot of freakin’ samples! I spent my Saturday night chopping, dicing, and listening to Bon Iver. I was totally in the zone. There is something about the combination of music and food that leaves me feeling completely content. I mean, I LOVE creating dishes more than anything in the world. Music tunes out everything else. I end up being happiest in my brain thinking about flavor combinations.