My favorite munchkin is growing at supersonic speed, so getting plenty of protein and nutrients into him is even more important than ever.  It can be tricky though, as he can have a picky palate. This weekend’s concoction has whole wheat and oats, bananas, yogurt, and a little brown sugar — to balance the pint of maple syrup he was sure to pour on them.

Ingredients

3 large organic bananas, mashed
2 eggs
6 ounces Greek or Australian yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin top pan with a little vegetable oil.

Combine the bananas, eggs, yogurt, sugar, and canola oil together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combining thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the muffin top pan. It is a thick batter, so use a spoon to spread it in the pan.

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Bake for ten minutes or until a tester comes away clean.  Serve hot with a little butter and maple syrup.

How They Turned Out:

They didn’t fool the munchkin, who determined quickly they weren’t pancakes. But with enough syrup they did the trick.

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I had more cherry cheesecake batter than I needed when I made the Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake, so I decided to make individual cheesecakes in a muffin tin.  Turns out, Trader Joe’s Cookie Thins are the perfect size for a “crust” because they fit right in the bottom of the tin.  I popped two Trader Joe’s meyer lemon cookie thins in each muffin cup and then filled the cups with cheesecake batter.

I must have overfilled the cups, because they puffed up nice and lovely (if cracked) over the tops of the cups. (Baked 35 minutes at 325 degrees.)  I pulled them out of the oven to cool, and when I checked back later they’d fallen.

 

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When I removed them from the pan, I had these fun little bowls. Filled with berries and whipped cream, they are a festive dessert.

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Of course, now that I want to recreate these for a party, I probably won’t be able to.  But I’ll still try.

When the world seems too sad or scary to bear, I always find comfort in the kitchen. Focusing on creating something nourishing to my family’s body nourishes my soul, even when life is at its gloomiest. This dessert is an attempt to combine all that’s good in the world — brownies, cheesecake, and cherries — in one lovely treat.

Ingredients

2 cups of frozen pitted cherries, thawed
2/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of water
2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 tbs lemon juice (I used two frozen lemon juice cubes made when I made the lemon poundcake)
1 Ghirardelli brownie mix (you’ll make this according to the directions, so you’ll need an egg and vegetable oil)
3 packages of cream cheese
8 ounces Noosa Tart Cherry yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla
3 eggs

How I Made It

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the cherries with 2/3 cup of sugar and 2/3 cup of water.  Cover and microwave for however long it takes to come to a boil.  You might stir it halfway through to make sure the sugar dissolves.

In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  When the cherries are bubbly,  carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Stir in the cornstarch, then the lemon juice.  Set the cherries aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a springform pan with a little oil or butter.

Make the brownie batter according to the directions on the box. Spread the batter in the springform pan and bake for 35 minutes. The edges will be completely set but the middle will be just set.

While the brownie bottom bakes, make the cheesecake batter.  In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to combine.  Add the yogurt and vanilla.  Allow the batter to mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. I like to turn up the speed for a minute or so to whip the batter, for a lighter consistency when it’s done.

Gently spoon cherries over the brownie batter. Use a slotted spoon so it’s not too soupy. Top with the cheesecake batter.  It will be thick, so add it in dollops and spread it gently to fill the pan (don’t just dump it in).

Bake for 55 minutes or until the middle is set (not hard, but not wet either).  Turn off the oven and let the cake rest in the oven for 20 minutes or so.  Remove the cake and let it come to room temp, then chill it in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Serve it with a spoon of cherry sauce or a little whipped cream.

How It Turned Out

This may be the first crack-free cheesecake I’ve ever made.

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The layers are lovely, and super rich. A small piece is certainly enough.  Until later, that is.

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I am one of those people who feels compelled to have a bowl of lemons in the kitchen — and then fails to use them all before they go bad.  Today, I decided to zest and juice them all and then make something yummy.  This pound cake is a basic recipe, with a few twists.

First, after throwing out all my baking and cooking sprays (one of my remaining bad habits in the kitchen), I decided to throw caution to the wind and use coconut oil (solid) to grease the pan.  Coconuts go with lemon, right?

Second, I recently read something somewhere (I have no recollection where) about the sweet crunch a cake will get if you sugar the pan instead of flouring it. So I sugared the coconut oiled bundt cake pan instead of flouring it.

Third, I didn’t have plain yogurt or enough sour cream for the recipe.  What I did have was 4 ounces of sour cream and a container of Noosa Raspberry Yogurt.  (I am addicted to Noosa yogurt — even the pumpkin flavor is good!)  Raspberries go with lemon, right?

Ingredients

2 tbs organic coconut oil
2 sticks of unsalted organic butter, softened
3 cups of sugar (I use Zulka Morena, a minimally processed sugar)
3 tbs lemon zest (this was about 4-5 medium sized lemons)
3 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
juice from one medium lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 eggs (preferably not straight from the fridge)
4 ounces sour cream
8 ounces Noosa raspberry yogurt (or other Greek or Australian yogurt)

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt pan with coconut oil and sprinkle sugar evenly in the pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Sift together with a fork.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until well-combined. Turn the speed down to medium and add the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing each into the mixture before adding another. Once the eggs are all combined, add the lemon juice.

Turn the mixer down to low. Add one third of the flour mixture, then the sour cream. Add another third of the flour and half the yogurt.  Add the last of the flour and the last of the yogurt. Turn up the speed for just about 30 seconds to be sure it’s all combined.

Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give the batter a few good stirs. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. You might have extra, which you can bake as cupcakes (just halve the baking time).

Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a cake tester comes away clean. Let the cake cool in the pan. Loosen the sides with a slim knife, and turn it out onto a cake plate.

How It Turned Out

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The sugar trick worked on the sides but not the top (maybe that’s because of the pan?).  Otherwise, it’s an oh so summery cake to share.

P.S. What did I do with the juice from all those lemons I zested? I juiced them straight into an ice tray. When it’s done freezing, I’ll have little cubes of fresh lemon juice for whenever I need a couple of tablespoons for a recipe.

My best friend loves cucumber sandwiches, so whenever we have a tea party or other excuse for finger foods, I make them for her. These are an upgrade from my last cucumber sandwiches, made more elegant with a round shape and fresh dill garnish.

Ingredients

Seedless English cucumber, sliced thin but not too thin
Blue Isle Yogurt Spread, plain*
Fresh organic dill
Sea salt
White sandwich bread (1 loaf will make 12 sandwiches)

How I Made Them:

My sweet sous chef S recommended cutting the bread into circles by using a glass. Smart and easy! He cut the bread for us by pressing the glass into the center of each slice of bread.

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the yogurt spread on the slices of bread. Arrange the cucumber slices on one piece of bread and sprinkle with salt. Top with the second slice of bread. Garnish with fresh dill (I used a spot of yogurt spread to make the dill stick).

How The Turned Out:

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Fresh and light and perfect. The Supersonic Seven Year (formerly known at the Stupendous Six Year Old) announced to his mother (my best friend, the cucumber sandwich connoisseur) “These are great! We should make them at home.”

 *I stumbled onto this new Blue Isle Yogurt Spread when I was looking for cream cheese. I tried out the plain flavor for this recipe, and liked it so much that we whipped up a lovely veggie dip with a little garlic and dill.

 

This is a simplified version of a Southern staple of picnics and church potlucks. Using frozen fruit instead of canned reduces the sweetness, and the yogurt adds a nice zing.

Ingredients:

8 ounces (1 container) Noosa lemon yoghurt
1 container original Cool Whip
2 packages Dole Mandarin Sunshine Blend frozen fruit (thawed, drained)
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

How I Made It:

Gently mix the yogurt and Cool Whip with a rubber spatula. Fold in the coconut and then the fruit.

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Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

How It Turned Out:

Yummy!

 

 

This year’s Easter supper was a wonderful success, thanks to my spectacular new sous chef (my friend S is a wonder in the kitchen). This year we had a traditional feast with few fresh twists.

Brie en Croute

Cucumber Sandwiches

Deviled Eggs

Hummus with Snap Peas, Carrots and Radishes

Ham with Apricot Maple Glaze

Essential Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Broccolini

Ambrosia Salad

Homemade Rolls

Lemon Curd Cakes with Strawberries, and Whipped Cream

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