Over the past few weeks, we’ve really gotten a taste of some glorious weather. Sunshine, 80 degree temps, and nice cool breezes. I’ve been taking Cassidy and Izzy on lots of nice, long walks every day to enjoy the beautiful weather. We even had a little picnic in our front yard last week!
So, with all the gorgeous weather, I’ve just been dying to get in the kitchen and bake up some bright, springy treats. And then- BOOM! Freezing temperatures and high, cold winds. *sigh* Oh well. That’s what you get when you live in Texas. However, I STILL decided to bake up something bright and sunny- this Orange Yogurt Cake. It’s nice and moist with a great pop of fresh orange flavor. So even if it was freezing outside, we brought the sunshine indoors with this yummy cake!
Orange Yogurt Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon, juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, yogurt, oil, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla in a bowl. Pour into pan. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
Garnish with additional orange slices if desired.
Recipe source: adapted from Martha Stewart
I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about summer is the fresh corn on the cob. Our grocery store will usually have them for around 5 for a dollar, so I stock up! We grill them, roast them, make salads, casseroles and all kinds of awesome dishes. But right now, fresh corn on the cob isn’t in season, so I’m stuck with frozen. Luckily, I found this tip about how to make oven roasted corn using frozen kernels. I was so intrigued I just had to try it.
I’m not going to say it’s as sweet and awesome as fresh-off-the-cob, but hey, in a bind, it works great! I added in some red and green peppers and my family gobbled it up!
[Short Cut] Oven Roasted Corn
1 bag frozen corn kernels
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the frozen corn with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on a baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for about 10 minutes until corn begins to blister slightly. Serve immediately.
Recipe source: adapted from Bev Cooks
One of my favorite meals is my mom’s stuffed peppers; and over the past couple of years, every time I’ve made it, I’ve asked myself, “what if I used quinoa in place of the rice?”. Joel and I both love quinoa, so this was a no-brainer. Finally, I did it, and surprise, surprise- we loved it! This dish is SO full of flavor- I’m so happy with it every single time I make it, which has earned it a regular spot in our dinner rotation. The best part is, my baby girl loves it (and I feel great about giving it to her)!
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
2 medium bell peppers
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and cooked
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, drop the peppers in and boil for 5-6 minutes. In a small bowl, mix tomato sauce, basil, and sugar and set aside. Brown meat and onion in a large skillet; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, salt, and cooked quinoa. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon meat/quinoa mixture into peppers and place into skillet. Pour any remaining meat mixture around the peppers (you should have quite a bit left). Top with cheese. Cover and cook on low for another 8-10 minutes. Serves 4.
Recipe source: adapted from my mom’s recipe
**Looking for good, non-candy ideas for your baby’s Easter basket? Check out my list of helpful ideas at my family blog, A Little Something Lovely!
A loooong time ago, when Joel and I lived in our apartment in North Dallas, we used to eat at an Indian restaurant (my first Indian food experience was there, actually!). They had this delicious drink called a mango lassi. It was like a mango smoothie and we loved it! You may ask yourself, “what exactly is a ‘lassi’?”, well, to the best of my knowledge, it’s a smoothie made with fruit, yogurt, milk, and honey. Sounds good, right? Well it is!
I love that these are made with fat-free yogurt, so they’re pretty much guilt-free! You can use any fruit you like, although I believe mango is the most common. I’m going to try strawberry next, then probably peach or blueberry since Cassidy loves blueberries so much. She loved the mango flavor, though! This was a great “dessert” after a healthy meal and I felt great about feeding it to my baby. I know these will be a popular beverage this summer, since it’s so light and refreshing!
2 cups mango, chopped (I used frozen mango, which saves so much time!)
1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth (if you’re using frozen mango, it may be pretty thick, almost like frozen yogurt). Serve immediately. Serves about 4.
Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original
Who doesn’t love corn dogs, right? No one! Especially in fun-sized little mini muffin form! I saw these awhile back and knew I wanted to make them, but wasn’t jazzed about using store-bought wieners that are made with who-knows-what. If you buy the kind that are 100% beef, they’re full of fat and sodium; if you buy the turkey or “low fat” varieties, they’re still full of sodium along with all kinds of additives, preservatives, nitrates, and Lord only knows what else. So naturally, when I discovered Trader Joe’s (God bless that store!) carries all-natural chicken dogs that contain minimal fat and sodium, and are completely free of nitrates and preservatives- I did a major happy dance. Right there in the store. Then I came home and (finally!) made those adorable little corn dog muffins I’ve been dying to try! Yay!
Besides being so darn cute and fun to eat, these are actually really good! And bonus, they’re 100% kid-friendly! Granted, I had to cut them up into little baby-sized bites, but Cassidy still gobbled hers up.
Homemade Corn Dog Mini Muffins
1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/3 cup milk
4 all-natural wieners (I used Trader Joe’s chicken dogs), cut up into small chunks
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the corn muffin packet with the egg and milk. Divide batter into 2 greased mini muffin pans and drop a few pieces of the wieners in each cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 24 mini muffins.
Recipe source: adapted from The Family Kitchen
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone who reads this blog: I love sweets. Rich, decadent desserts are my thing. Give me a big plate of warm chocolate chip cookies or brownies or chocolate cake and I’m a happy girl. BUT eating all the sweets you want doesn’t really fit into a post-partum way of life. Joel and I are both working really hard on watching what we eat, plus now that Cassidy eats whatever we eat, I’m super picky about what I cook. I don’t want her growing up eating junk food, so I’ve been working really hard at cooking healthy, all-natural meals the whole family can enjoy. But what about my poor sweet tooth?? Am I supposed to just give up sweets cold turkey? I say no.
That’s why I LOVE recipes like this- they incorporate something super good for you, while satisfying the old sweet tooth at the same time! Win-win! I’m not going to lie and say you can’t detect the avocado in this pudding- you can (barely). But for an avocado lover like me, I thought it was awesome. SO smooth and creamy! It honestly tastes so decadent and rich; nothing like you would expect “health food” to taste. Joel and I were both wowed by this pudding and I’ll be making it again and again. And while I’m on this little health kick, maybe next I’ll try black bean brownies!
Avocado Chocolate Pudding
2 ripe medium avocados, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup milk (regular or almond milk, coconut, etc.)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients, until smooth, in a food processor or blender. Serve immediately or chill first. Serves 2-3
Recipe source: my friend Nikki at Seeded at the Table; originally from Forgiving Martha
When I posted Cassidy’s 1st birthday party last week, I promised to share the recipe for the birthday popcorn, so here it is!
I think every kid should have lots of bright and colorful treats at their birthday party, and while this popcorn is ridiculously easy, it’s equally as popular! Every time I have ever made this (and trust me, I’ve made it for almost every occasion!), people seem to go nuts over it. I love it because I can customize it for ANY occasion- Christmas, Halloween, baby showers, Easter…you name it. All you need is different kinds of sprinkles and you’ve got endless possibilities.
2 bags unbuttered microwave popcorn, popped (I prefer the ‘tender white’ variety made by Orville Redenbacher)
12 ounces white candy coating or almond bark*
colored rainbow sprinkles
Place the candy coating in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted and smooth.
Lay out two long sheets of wax paper on a wide surface. Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl and slowly drizzle the melted candy coating over it. Stir with a large spoon until all the popcorn is coated. Spread in an even layer over the sheets of wax paper and immediately sprinkle liberally with the sprinkles. Let dry for at least 2-3 hours. Break into pieces and serve. Makes enough for 24-36 people.
Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original
*white chocolate chips can also be used
**Warning** This is a VERY picture-heavy post!
As you all know, Cassidy turned one last month (still reeling over that one…) and of COURSE, we just had to throw her a big ol’ girly birthday party! Lots of pink, lots of aqua, and lots and lots of yummy treats!
I loved the invitations! Especially since they sort of coordinated with the invitations from our baby shower; I plan to frame them together in Cassidy’s room. I ordered them from tinyprints.com
I got the table cloth, cupcake tower, pink label stickers, and pink stick candy all at Party City
The cute little favor boxes came from Michael’s.
I got lucky one day at Home Goods and found these adorable cupcake liners.
The cupcakes were strawberry with vanilla buttercream and Cassidy’s smash cake was funfetti
As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I sort of had a fun little theme going with sprinkles. I used 4 different kinds, which I thought was kinda fun
A little baker’s twine can add just the right pop of color! (also found at Michael’s)
I found this adorable frame at Hobby Lobby one day for 7 bucks! I thought some sweet pictures of the birthday girl were the perfect decoration!
Cassidy didn’t exactly dive in head-first like we all expected. She ate one sprinkle at a time and barely made a mess!
…and of course Izzy had a good time!
Happy birthday, Cassidy!!!
Menu (all sweets!)
Funfetti smash cake
Strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream
Sprinkle sugar cookies (recipe to come!)
Vanilla meringues, from Trader Joe’s
Birthday popcorn (recipe to come!)
Bubble gum stick candy, from Party City
Pink lemonade (not pictured)
I’m going to be honest with you- since Cassidy was born, I haven’t spent one single night away from her. In fact, I haven’t spent more than 4 or 5 hours away from her! Joel has, due to various business trips, but not me. Nope. And I’ve been perfectly ok with that. In fact, every time we decide to take a couple of hours for ourselves and leave the baby with a grandparent, as soon as we leave the driveway, I’m flooded with feelings of guilt over leaving my baby. Then I’ll drive Joel nuts by asking if maybe we should’ve just stayed home. Am I alone here?? Surely I’m not the only crazy mom.
But everything changed a couple of days ago when Joel booked us an overnight getaway. That’s right, in a few short days, I’ll be
abandoning leaving Cassidy to go enjoy an overnight stay in a plush hotel room. There will be champagne, a couple’s massage, gourmet dining, and best of all- a night of uninterrupted SLEEP. No baby monitor, no early morning wake up call, no nothing. Nothing but sleep. This all sounds great, but truth be told, I’m still unsure how I’ll handle it. Am I really ready for a night away from my baby?? Don’t get me wrong, the room is BOOKED and there’s no going back now, but I really hope I don’t blow the whole thing by whining for my baby the whole time.
Anyway, that story has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with hash…sorry. Onto the recipe. I had some really yummy smoked ham leftover, along with a couple of really beautiful red peppers and a bag of frozen hashbrowns lying around. What else would I do but make ham and red pepper hash?! YUM!
Ham and Red Pepper Hash
1 16-ounce bag frozen hash browns
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked, diced ham
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
3 large eggs, poached or fried
salt and pepper
Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet, then add the frozen hash browns and red peppers. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or so, until peppers begin to soften. Stir in ham and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes more. Top with cheese and poached eggs. Serves 3-4.
Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original
I think we can all agree that birthdays are special. As soon as you wake up the morning of your birthday, you want to feel special! When my sister and I were growing up, on the morning of our birthdays, my mom would make us our very own breakfast in bed. She would wake us up singing and laughing and the whole family greeted us on our special morning. Too bad I don’t get that kind of treatment anymore…(I’m lookin’ at you, Joel!) Hehe, just kidding….
On Cassidy’s first birthday, Joel and I (like huge dorks) greeted her with lots of loud, happy singing and laughing. Then we all sat down and enjoyed these yummy, festive birthday pancakes. What a great start to a happy, happy day!
These are really soooooo easy. In fact, I’m not even going to post an actual recipe, because I used boxed pancake mix. I’m not going to spend all morning making pancakes from scratch when I could be snuggling my sweet birthday girl! These are ready in less than 10 minutes! Score!
To make the pancakes: start with your favorite brand of pancake mix and prepare as directed. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (I used rainbow jimmies- they melt a little inside the batter and give that “funfetti” look.). Cook as directed and serve with maple syrup.