Iced Lemon Cake

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I am such a huge fan of all things lemon.  Our wedding cake had three tiers; Vanilla, Cinnamon, & Lemon.  The lemon was the winner by a landslide in our book!  My grandmother-in-law also makes the most fabulous Italian lemon cookies.  I was eating them by the dozen over our holiday visit in December!

For my husband’s birthday, I whipped up this simple lemon cake that doubles as dessert or breakfast.  The glaze is a perfect textural combo with the light cake-y texture.  You can easily sub in your favorite egg & butter substitutes.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 sticks unsalted butter (or cultured unsalted butter!)

1 1/2 cups cane sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I love King Arthur‘s)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

For the glaze:

I cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low, combine the butter, sugar & lemon zest.

Beat in the eggs.

Beat in the lemon juice.

In a separate small bowl, stir together the flour & salt.

Slowly beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.

Grease a 9 inch square pan with a speck of butter & pour the batter in.

Bake for around 35 minutes…Keeping an eye on it until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

For the glaze:

Simply stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, & the lemon zest in a small bowl.

Wait until the cake has cooled to spread the glaze evenly across the top.

To let the glaze solidify, it’s best to let it sit & harden for a few hours.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

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I’m a big believer in using whole grains whenever possible in my baking.  It outranks all-purpose flour in its fiber content, vitamin content, & its more stabilizing effect on blood sugar.  I honestly feel like they give my baked goods a richer taste as well, & am a life-long convert!

I can never get enough of fall flavors year round, & this pumpkin bread is such an easy way to transport me back to my favorite season.  Whether it’s for an easy breakfast on the go, an afternoon coffee-time companion, or an after-dinner treat, this bread is the perfect way to pack some vitamin A into your day!

Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour (I really like the organic “white-whole wheat” variety from King Arthur Flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs (or your favorite vegan substitute)

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 1/2 cups canola oil

Just under 2 cups of cane sugar (or other variety of your choice)

1.5 or 2 cups of chocolate chips (depending how chippy you like it!) . If you’re not a chocolate fan, it tastes just as delicious plain!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl

Beat the wet ingredients together in a large second bowl

Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

Stir in the chocolate chips

Split the mixture between 2 greased loaf pans

Bake for between 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean

Enjoy!

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Mint Chip Fudge Brownies

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Happy Valentines’ Day to all!

If you’re looking for decadent chocolate you’ve come to the right place!  If you were ever a fan of mint chip fudge or ice cream, these will be right up your alley.  The brownie layer on the bottom is chocolatey and dense, and the mint chip icing on the top hardens into a silky sweet fudge layer.  You’re going to love them!

Ingredients:

For the brownies:

3/4 cup canola oil

just under 1 cup light brown sugar

just under 1 cup white cane sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon peppermint flavor (I use the one from Simply Organic made from sunflower oil and peppermint oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

a sprinkle of sea salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the icing:

1 stick butter (or 1/2 cup shortening for a dairy-free version!)

4 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1/8 cup water

3 teaspoons peppermint flavor

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Grease a 9×13 glass pan

Beat the canola oil, brown sugar, and white sugar together on a low setting

Beat in the eggs on a low setting

Beat in the peppermint flavor and vanilla on a low setting

Beat everything together on a higher setting and then stir in the chips

Move into your pan and bake for around 25 minutes (start checking them around 20 minutes so you don’t overcook them)

After you have removed them from the oven and let them cool, you can make & add the icing:

Let the butter get to room temperate, and then beat it into a light consistency

Slowly beat in the powdered sugar

Beat in the water

Beat in the peppermint flavor and vanilla extract

Stir in the chips

Spread overtop of the brownies

Optional but suggested: Move the brownies into the refrigerator to solidify into a fudge-like consistency /// Then before eating, either remove them for a few minutes if you do not like to eat them cold, or enjoy right out of the fridge!

Tomato Basil Asparagus Pasta

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Being part Italian, I cannot stress my absolute obsession with pasta!

There are so many ways to dress it up, make it healthy, and keep it simple.

Here’s one of my favorite quick dinners.  I went with Ancient Harvest Gluten-Free Supergrain Pasta (though of course you should use your personal favorite pasta!)

This recipe makes 1 large serving.

Ingredients:

5-6 large asparagus stalks

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 servings of your favorite pasta

1 cup tomato basil pasta sauce

black pepper & cayenne pepper to taste

optional topping – a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Cut off the ends of the asparagus, then place the stalks into a gallon-sized plastic bag

Pour the olive oil into the bag and make sure it covers all of the asparagus

Place the asparagus on a baking sheets and cook in the oven for about 12-14 minutes

Cook and drain the pasta, then mix in the pasta sauce to keep it from sticking

Remove the asparagus from the oven, chop into small pieces, and mix that into the pasta

Add black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste, and then sprinkle on some parmesan if you wish!

 

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

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I seriously could eat fall flavors year round!

You only need 7 ingredients for this simple soup, but the flavors really pack a big punch.  It’s chock full of vitamin a, fiber, potassium, and healthy fat.  It’s also incredibly filling, and very low calorie.  Added bonuses: It’s vegan, & dairy/gluten-free!

The sweet potato taste combined with both the cinnamon and the pepper, cumin, and olive oil result in a nice “sweet + savory” combination.  It’s a thicker consistency, which makes it feel quite hearty.

This recipe makes 1 very large bowl, or two side bowls.

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato

3 cups baby carrots

3 cups vegetable broth

2 heaping teaspoons olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon (sweet saigon cinnamon preferably)

a sprinkle of cumin

a sprinkle of black pepper

(optional: larger quantities of the above spices, added to taste at the end)

Directions:

Thoroughly cook both the sweet potato and carrots until very soft.  (When I’m in a hurry I cook them all in the microwave, though roasting them in the oven or steaming them on the stovetop would be equally effective!)

In a large bowl, use a potato-masher to mash the cooked carrots and sweet potato together until they are as pureed as possible.

After it has cooled, transfer the puree into a blender (or your preferred blending appliance) and puree until totally smooth.

Add the vegetable broth into the blender and blend again until it’s evenly mixed.

Transfer the mix into a pot and heat back up on a low setting.

Stir in the olive oil, cinnamon, pepper, and cumin.

Taste test, add in your preferred extra spices if desired, and voila!

 

Blueberry Peanut butter Smoothie

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I sneak peanut butter into everything!

This smoothie is such a creamy sweet treat as breakfast, a snack, or dessert, & packed with tons of calcium, probiotics, vitamin c, and protein.

This recipe makes a small glass since it’s pretty filling, but if you’re starving go ahead and double everything!

Ingredients:

1 5oz container of plain greek yogurt

about 1/4 cup water

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

3 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter

optional: a dash of your favorite sweetener

Directions:

Layer all the ingredients in the order listed above and blend!  Start it on a lower setting and then slowly increase to higher and higher settings until thoroughly blended.  You may need to give it a quick stir with a spoon halfway through.  Pour into a glass, top with a few frozen blueberries (optional) and enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

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Is anyone else missing fall already?!

It’s my absolute favorite season, so I usually find myself craving fall flavors year round.  You just can’t go wrong with pumpkin and cinnamon!

These creamy oats are so cozy on a chilly morning, especially paired with a blanket and big mug of chai!

Full of fiber, omega 3s, protein, and vitamin A, this bowl is such an energizing morning boost!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quick oats

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 heaping tablespoon of cinnamon (the sweet saigon cinnamon is ideal)

3 heaping tablespoons of pumpkin puree (or less if you prefer a more subtle taste)

a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds or a pinch of sea salt

optional – a dash of your favorite sweetener (to taste)

Directions:

Pour the oats and the water into a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until oats are creamy and water is absorbed

Stir in chia seeds while it’s still hot.  They will absorb the water and thicken the oatmeal

Mix in the pumpkin

Mix in the cinnamon

Top with pumpkin seeds (or mix in a pinch of sea salt) then add your favorite sweetener to taste

Peanutbutter Yogurt Dip

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Hello everyone!  I’m so excited to be here!

I’m thrilled to have joined the blogging world as a platform to share my inspiration for healthy meals and recipes.

I am a firm believer in the holistic approach of healing our bodies by way of giving them whole foods and nourishing them to the best of our abilities.  As someone who has struggled with several health issues over the years, I’ve found that a proper diet has made a world of difference in keeping my body running in the best shape it can.  My mission is to provide inspiration for others to achieve the same state of optimal health, and to prove how simple, easy, and delicious eating healthfully can be!

My first post is a recipe for one of my go to favorite snacks.  It’s simple, satisfying, and totally feeds my sweet tooth!

Ingredients:

1 5 ounce container of plain greek yogurt

3 heaping tablespoons of powdered peanut butter stirred in

1 crunchy apple of your choice (I recommend fuji or honeycrisp) either on the side or sliced for dipping