Strawberry French Cake

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Baking always seems to be a little bit more challenging than cooking for me, because I feel like it’s harder to improvise and I never enjoy following recipes and measurements step-by step. But this Strawberry French Cake recipe was perfect and is at the top of my list for favorite things I’ve ever baked. I followed the recipe exactly, but couldn’t resist adding a thin layer of Belgian Speculoos Cookie crumbs at the base of the pan and a light sprinkle on top. It is designed to be moist, almost custard-like in the center so be sure not to over-bake!

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries sliced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.

  5. Fold in strawberries. Spread the batter in the prepared cake pan.

  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar evenly over the top of the cake batter.

  7. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.

  8. Let the cake cool completely in the pan and slice and serve the cake from the pan.

 

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Please bake this, you will definitely not regret it! ❤

Berry Breakfast Muffins

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I’m never too hungry right when I wake up in the morning, but when I know I have homemade muffins waiting for me, that’s a different story. These muffins are perfect because you can add whatever fruits or nuts or oats you desire and they will be always be tasty. I took this recipe from Clean Eating Recipes and jazzed it up a bit with the fruit around my kitchen.

Ingredients:

Baking Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with baking wrappers or grease the tins well with coconut oil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut milk and lemon juice. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Place the honey, eggs, and coconut oil in a mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add in half of the coconut milk mixture and whisk until just combined. Whisk in the remaining dry ingredients and finish by adding in the remaining coconut milk mixture, mixing just until combined – do not over-mix.
  5. Fold the blueberries, raspberries, and banana into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins (tins will be completely full of batter).
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until tops are set.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Store in an airtight container.

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I hope you enjoy and let me know what you ended up adding to them! 🙂

Avocado and Buffalo Chicken Salad

I’ve recently been craving Buffalo Chicken and summertime means salads right? So i found the best of both worlds and it was as delicious as I’d hoped. The recipe was adapted from this recipe I found on Pinterest. I decided not to add quinoa (though it would have been good with it too!) and I didn’t use quite as much hot sauce, probably 1/2 cup instead of 3/4. And to top it all off I used Organic Ranch from Trader Joe’s!

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  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
  • 1/2 cup franks red hot sauce
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups of chopped green leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn
  • Drizzle ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh cilantro (optional)

Holiday Caramel Apple Trifle

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Without one tiny, minuscule doubt, if you make this dish for dessert you will be the hit of the party. It’s so easy and so tasty, and will make you want dessert even after you’ve filled yourself up on an overwhelming amount of turkey, ham, rolls, potatoes, etc, etc. I would certainly recommend making this for any holiday occasion, because its fun to make, pretty, and can serve a lot of people.

I found a recipe on Pinterest (here) and improvised by making a yellow cake mix from Fresh Market and also bought the most delectable caramel sauce from Fresh Market as well, which I recommend everyone buy and eat it on pretty much anything and everything. It’s seriously life changing.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chopped peeled granny smith apples (about 5 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I also added chopped hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, divided
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 jar (12-1/4 ounces) caramel ice cream topping, divided
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) cool whip, thawed, divided
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix baked according to the recipe (or pound cake or angel food cake)
  • Additional apple pie spice to sprinkle on top!

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the apples, walnuts and hazelnuts, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice. Cook and stir for 8-10 minutes or until apples are tender.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/2 cup caramel topping and 1/2 teaspoon of apple pie spice. Fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping.
  3. In a trifle bowl or glass serving bowl, layer a third of the cake cubes, cream cheese mixture and apple mixture. Repeat layers twice. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and drizzle with remaining caramel topping. Sprinkle with additional apple pie spice if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  4. Yield: 14 servings.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Molasses Cream Cheese Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

October is here and I decided that I needed to make something delicious/warm/pumpkin-y to help me forget my upcoming winter woes. I couldn’t find a pumpkin cupcake recipe that had a filling AND a frosting, so I combined a few different recipes and invented my own. & it was totally worth it. Though I would consider them more “Muffcakes” than cupcakes or muffins. Or “puffcakes” since they are pumpkin. YAY I LOVE PUMPKIN! (recipe below)

Cake:

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 & 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ginger
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix – it gives it some extra fall spicy-ness)

Filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (if you can get a hold of pumpkin cream cheese, it’s even better!)
  • 2 TBSP molasses
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (just use some of the leftovers from Libby’s)
  • add flour to thicken the frosting if needed
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin pans with 24 muffin liners & set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. In a smaller bowl mix together the eggs, oil and pumpkin.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.
  5. Fill the muffin liners 1/2 of the way with the pumpkin batter.
  6. With a mixer cream all of the filling ingredients together.
  7. Drop small spoonfuls of the filling (about a teaspoon) into the center of each filled muffin liner.
  8. Add a little more batter to each cupcake, enough to cover the cream cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges of the cupcake begin to harden. (Don’t test in the middle since the middle will stay soft and gooey).
  9. While the cupcakes are baking, mix together the cream cheese, butter, pumpkin and vanilla in a medium bowl to make the frosting. Gradually add powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add flour to the frosting if you would like it thicker.
  10. Frost the cupcakes once cooled. Dash with cinnamon for added appeal 😀
  11. Enjoy!

By Myles Katherine ❤

Crema Catalana

Inspired by the Spain Box from Try the World, I made the Crema Catalana recipe from their online magazine with my own twist to it.

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The original recipe is below:

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2½ Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. milk
  • Grated zest of ½ orange (or in my case honey!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 Tbsp. P. Listo jam
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. In a small bowl using a hand held mixer, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk until the cornstarch dissolves.

2. In a saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups milk, orange zest, and salt. Heat over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until small bubbles form along the edge of the saucepan. Once the bubbles appear, lower the heat to keep warm.

3. Add the egg and sugar mixture to the cornstarch mixture and whisk until homogenous. Slowly pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly, until smooth and homogenous, then pour back into the saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a spoon, until it thickens, 10 to 12 minutes. Do not allow to boil.

4. Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins, then cover and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 3 hours.

6. Remove the ramekins from the fridge and spoon 1 tablespoon of the jam onto each custard. Sprinkle with the sugar, then broil until the tops are caramelized, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note that instead of using orange zest, I added about a tablespoon of an organic lavender honey that I have newly acquired and which is absolutely delectable.

I had never cooked with ramekins before, so I bought mine from Crate & Barrel (only $2.95 per dish!)  on the way home from work one day and am so excited to have them as a new addition to my kitchen!

I’m disappointed because I didn’t have a torch to really get the sugar bubbled and crispy, instead I broiled mine in the oven for a few minutes. They were still sweet and delicious though!

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Enjoy ❤

Refreshing Chia Seed Pudding with Honey and Raspberries

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By Natalie Anne ❤

Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and so much more. They are amazingly delicious and are the spotlight of my new favorite breakfast/dessert. When soaked in almond milk (or any type of milk/liquid) for just 30 minutes Chia seeds expand to create a natural pudding consistency to which you can add honey, brown sugar, and fruit (like pomegranate seeds, strawberries, raspberries etc.). Lately, I’ve been getting the Chai Chia Pot with Pomegranate Seeds from Pret a Manger once a week for a delightful breakfast, until I decided to buy the ingredients and make my own homemade batch of Chia seed pudding this past weekend.

I adapted it from a recipe I found on Pinterest

I tripled the original recipe to make sure I had plenty of leftovers for the next several days and I also added fruit, brown sugar and honey:

Ingredients for the pudding (4 servings):

  1. 3/4 cup of almond milk (I used vanilla flavored almond milk)
  2. 1 can of coconut milk
  3. 6 tablespoons of chia seeds

Additional Flavors and Sweetening:

  1. Try the World’s Elderflower Saft Syrup from Sweden
  2. Trader Joe’s Turkish Honey
  3. Light Brown Sugar
  4. Strawberries
  5. Raspberries

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Directions:

  1. I have a large Mason Jar Cocktail Mixer from Williams-Sonoma that I combined the almond milk, coconut milk, and Chia seeds into. I also added a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of the Elderflower Syrup into the jar before putting the lid on it and shaking it for a minute.
  2. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for thirty minutes (or longer)
  3. When the mixture has become solid (similar to a tapioca consistency) mix about 1/2-1 tablespoon of brown sugar into each serving and top with whatever fruits you desire. The brown sugar is highly recommended though and really transforms the flavoring!
  4. Enjoy!

 

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Banana Pudding Pie with Caramel Drizzle

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Happy Monday! The warm June weather and humidity have started to settle in, and I have had the biggest craving for banana pudding. I looked up various Pinterest recipes and found one that I wanted to try! I varied it slightly to cut back on all the Cool Whip and decided to add a homemade caramel sauce to the recipe as well. If you’re craving the sweet comfort of a homemade banana pudding recipe, look no further!

Ingredients:

  • 1 9 pinch pie crust, prepped, baked and cooled (I was lame and just used a store bought graham cracker crust)
  • 2 cup chopped vanilla wafers
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 8oz tub Cool Whip
  • 1½ cups of milk
  • 1 5.1oz box instant vanilla pudding
  • juice from one lemon
  • Homemade caramel sauce for drizzling (recipe below)
  • Optional: chopped walnuts for topping

Directions for the Banana Pudding Pie:

  1. Cut the bananas into thin slices and then toss with the lemon juice. The lemon juice will prevent them from turning brown as fast as they normally would.
  2. Whisk together the milk and pudding mix. Mix in the cool whip. Mix in 1 cup of the crushed vanilla wafers and finally the bananas.
  3. Scrape into the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until set.
  4. Top with any additional or leftover Cool Whip as you please. I just spread some around the edging of the pie. Sprinkle with the remaining vanilla wafers and then drizzle with the caramel sauce and if so desired, walnuts.

Directions for Homemade Caramel Sauce (taken from my Caramel Toffee Cheesecake Recipe)

  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and syrup. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Once it is caramel colored, add the butter and stir until the butter is melted. Add the cream and stir until it’s all combined. Bring it back to the heat if you get clumps and stir it until they’re dissolved. Store in the refrigerator if not using right away. Makes about 3/4 cup.

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Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast

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In case it’s not completely obvious, strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit. And I happen to also love eating sweet, dessert-like brunch food! This recipe was actually adapted from a foodie Facebook video that a family member of mine had shared. My mother showed it to me and we knew we had to make it the next morning…with our own adjustments of course! It ended up being the perfect meal to start off our Memorial Day Weekend before going hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Ingredients:

10 Slices of Brioche Bread (to make five French Toast “Sandwiches”)

3/4 Cup of Chopped Strawberries (or any fruit you prefer!)

4 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup of Milk

1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon

Filling:

1 Package of softened Cream Cheese

1/3 Cup of White Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

(Optional) 1 Egg

Sugar Coating:

1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar

3 Tablespoons of White Sugar

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon

  1. Heat a large skillet or pan on medium heat.
  2. To make the French Toast Egg mixture, beat the 4 eggs together, then add the milk and cinnamon and stir until fully blended. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until fully blended. I recommend using an electric beater for this part. Set aside.
  4. Mix the brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside
  5. Add butter to the heated pan and dip one side of every piece of French Toast in the egg/milk mixture and place the dipped sides down onto the pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until the sides facing down start browning slightly, then take them off the pan and set on a plate.
  6. After removed from heat onto the plate, spread a coat of the cream cheese mixture onto the cooked sides of every bread slice.
  7. Next, layer 5 of the 10 slices with strawberries then use the other 5 slices as tops to the open face sandwiches. You will essentially have 5 French Toast sandwiches.
  8. Butter the pan again.
  9. Carefully submerge each entire sandwich one at a time into the egg mixture then, coat by dipping them into the sugar mixture before placing immediately onto the hot pan.
  10. Cook for 3-4 minutes depending on how well-done you like your French Toast then flip the sandwiches to the other side and do the same until they are cooked to your liking.
  11. Remove the sandwiches from the heat and top with powdered sugar or syrup or other fruits!

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Sweet Lingonberry Crepes with Cream Filling

Crepes are one of my all-time favorite indulgences. Ever since I had my first one in fourth grade made by my favorite teacher in French class, I’ve been hooked. The great thing about them is that they can be oh-so sweet and bursting with Nutella, sugar, and fruits, or they can be excessively savory with creamy French cheeses and sliced meats. When Try the World surprised us with their most recent subscription box featuring Sweden that offers mouth-watering goodies like Elderflower Saft Syrup and Lingonberry Preserves, I knew instantly what I wanted to make. If you’re interested in learning more about Try the World, here is the link to our introductory blog post or check out their website and use our discount code “bonvoyage” for 15% off!

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Crepe Recipe (adapted from here)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour and eggs (texture of dough will be a bit tough and sticky). Slowly add milk and water stirring until smooth. Add salt, butter, sugar, and extract and continue beating until smooth.
  2. Heat and oil pan to medium high temperature. Pour about ¼ cup of batter into pan and tilt the pan to swirl in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly in a circle that covers the whole frying pan.
  3. Cook crepe for about 1 to 2 minutes until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, and turn crepe over and cook its other side for about 1 minute.
  4. Remove from the crepe from heat and onto a plate and spread cream filling (see below) in the middle and roll crepe and top with Lingonberry Preserves or other sweet jams, fruit, chocolate, powdered sugar or even whipped cream! This recipe makes a of crepes (around 20) so repeat, repeat, repeat, and eat, eat, eat!

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Cream Cheese Filling with Elderflower Saft (adapted from here)

  1. 1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese
  2. 1/3 cup Sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons of Elderflower Saft
  4. 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  5. 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Using a hand mixer blend together until light and creamy.  Transfer to a bowl until ready to use.

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Since the recipe made so many crepes, I actually added dark chocolate chips and Try the World’s Holiday Box Italian Hazelnut Spread after flipping the crepe over the first time on the heat. I put the toppings on the crepe while it was still in the pan and then folded it four ways to create the traditional triangular shape!

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Bon Appetit! ❤