Monday, June 25, 2012

LEMON YOGURT CAKE {for the Secret Recipe Club}

Lemon Yogurt Cake

This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was a little trickier than usual. The More Than Occassional Baker is a blog from the UK, which means I had to do some conversions like Celsius to Fahrenheit, grams and milliliters to ounces, and I used my scale instead of measuring cups. It was kind of a fun little challenge!
I have to admit that I had to search through tons of her recipes to find one that I could make with stuff I had on hand because It’s been a crazy week and I didn’t get around to it until late last night. Lucky for me I came upon this simple cake recipe that sounded refreshing and light for a mid-morning snack.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

1 C. Self-Rising Flour (find how to make it here)
1/2 C. Honey (she uses sugar)
3/4 C. minus 2 Tbsp. Plain Nonfat Yogurt
1/2 C. Canola Oil
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 F. 
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour into 9" round cake pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. Cool in pan and serve as desired.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

HOMEMADE FLAVORED WATER {without the artificial stuff}

Flavored Water

My younger sister called me the other day asking about “green smoothies” and “detox drinks”.  I don’t know much about “detox drinks”, but the one she read off to me that Dr. Oz recommends sounds a little harsh for a beginner! Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Collard Greens, Fennel, etc. He has others that sound way more appealing! But, in the course of the conversation, I remembered this nice refreshing flavored water I made a few times (and apparently forgot about).  Since ginger has natural stomach soothing properties I thought she should give it a whirl. Stomach issues or not, it’s a good no-recipe drink to keep in mind during the hot summer months! You can make it just about any flavor you like or make it sparkling water. I do highly recommend using fresh mint, it gives it a more sophisticated taste. Here's a link to a bunch of other refreshing combinations!

Homemade Flavored Water

     In the bottom of a water pitcher, place slices of lime (about 1/2 a lime), a few thick-cut slices of peeled ginger, 6 or so fresh mint leaves, and a few slices of seeded cucumber. 
     Gently muddle (without pulverizing) with the handle of a wooden spoon.
     Fill the pitcher half way up with ice, then fill with purified water or tap water. If desired (and I do!), add 5-6 drops of liquid stevia to sweeten. 
     Stir together and refrigerate a few hours to let flavors meld before drinking. Pour through the strainer part of the water pitcher to avoid chunks in your glass. You can add more water and ice to the pitcher one or two more times before it loses flavor. Keeps for up to 3 days.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


The kids are obviously out of school because I haven’t had a chance to do a post for a while. I’ve made a few blog-worthy dishes, but the hard part is always being able to snap a pic before it’s all eaten or before the sun goes down! I haven’t tried my hand at artisan bread much, but the few times have left me with less than rave reviews, but I think this recipe from Tasty Kitchen is a winner! It is ridiculously easy to make and the dough can be refrigerated for up to 9 days to be used as needed for a fresh baked loaf.  It has a nice chew without being overly crusty. Save yourself $5 bucks a loaf and make this instead.
EASY ARTISAN BREAD                           enough dough for 3-4 loaves
(Printable Recipe)
6 1/2 C. All Purpose or Bread Flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. Instant Yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
3 C. Lukewarm Water (100 degrees F.)
Flour and cornmeal for dusting work surfaces

Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife then dump into a large bowl. Repeat until you’ve added all of the flour into the bowl.
Add the yeast and salt into the flour and mix well.
Pour in the water and stir together until just moistened. Beat the mixture for 40 stokes with a wooden spoon.  Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go and continue until dough forms a lumpy, sticky mess. NO KNEADING!!!
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm draft free area. Let the dough rise until it’s doubled and has a sponge like appearance, 1-2 hours.
Now you can use it right away or use only portions or put the whole thing in the fridge for use later. If you refrigerate it, it keeps up to 9 days.
For a baguette or round:
Place 1/4 of the dough on a floured surface and dust hands with flour. This is important—the dough is quite sticky.

Working the dough as little as possible form it into a small round or 14 inch long cylinder for a baguette. Lightly flour any sticky spots on the dough. It should feel smooth and soft all over like a baby’s skin and not at all sticky.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cornmeal on rimless cookie sheet and place the dough on top of the cornmeal. Cover dough with a light tea towel and let it rise for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 F. Put your baking stone into the preheating oven (if you have one). If you don’t have a baking stone, place a rimless cookie sheet in oven as it preheats. Place the stone (or empty rimless cookie sheet) on the top rack and put a broiler pan or saucepan on the bottom rack.
When dough has risen, slide the shaped dough off of the pan onto the hot stone (or hot rimless cookie sheet). Fill your bottom pan with 2 cups of really hot water. Close the oven quickly so that the steam stays in the oven. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until medium golden brown. When done, the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Superfood Salad
With the end of school comes the annual neighborhood water ambush! The parents congregate at the bus stop and hide with water guns and water balloons ready to fly at the kids as soon as they step off the bus. It turns into a huge water fight and is followed by a pizza/potluck party. Usually there’s way more junk food than real food, so I took this super healthy salad. I knew better than to think the kids would dig into this vs. the potato chips and cookies, but thought the adults would appreciate the option. The best part is that I was able to use up a bunch of spinach and kale from my garden that was getting out of hand!
(click here to find out more about “Superfoods”)

Superfood Salad”                                    Serves 6
(Printable Recipe)
Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 bunch kale
3 C. spinach
1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1/4 C. finely diced red onion
1/2 C. fresh blueberries (or dried cranberries)
3/4 C. small-diced apple
1/3 C. toasted sunflower seeds
1/4 C. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/3 C. crumbled feta cheese
fresh herbs such as chives, basil, cut fine (optional)

Place finely diced red onion in a small bowl with cold water to cover. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
Wash the kale and spinach and pat it dry. Slice off the stiff stems of the kale below the leaves and continue slicing the stem away from the leaf until you have cut a thin v-shape into the kale leaf and removed the tough stem all the way up. Stack the kale leaves two or three at a time, roll them up, and slice the leaves into thin ribbons. Use the same technique to slice the spinach.
Place the kale ribbons in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and massage it into the kale with your hands for two minutes. You’ll notice the kale start to turn a darker green and the texture of the kale will begin to soften a bit.
Drain water from red onions and squeeze out excess water (This technique takes the "bite" out of them).
Add the spinach, red onions, blueberries and/or craisins, apples, and sunflower seeds to the kale. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and sugar. Pour over the salad and toss. Sprinkle feta cheese & herbs, if using, over the top and serve. The salad can be refrigerated for up to a day before serving (if doing this, I would suggest refrigerating the salted kale separately from the other ingredients and tossing the salad together an hour or two before serving).