Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake

As soon as I showed my mom this recipe she’s been eager for me to make it.  It took a while for me to get around to it, but it was definitely worth the wait!

This cake as an excellent crumb.  It’s super moist and tender.  The strawberries add a wonderful slightly sweet, slightly tart taste and it just welcomes summer.  Bundt cakes are a wonderful easy dessert, they look classy but aren’t fussy and they’re perfect for letting people decide just how big a slice each person wants.  Since we had some leftover cream cheese frosting from the Women’s retreat on Saturday, I put that out to make this cake extra dessert-like.  If you prefer to keep it simple, you can top it with a simple lemon glaze.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake

Serves 12-15

Adapted from A Spicy Perspective

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (divided)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) plain Greek yogurt
  • 12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease a 10″ bundt pan.

Sift together 2 1/4 cups of flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tbsp lemon juice.  Alternate stirring in the flour and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.

Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.  Gently fold them into the batter.

Scoop the batter into the bundt pan.  Bake for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan.  Whisk together the remaining lemon juice and the powdered sugar.  Pour glaze over cooled cake.

Blueberry Balsamic Dressing

Sometimes salad is boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of salad.  I love all the things you can do with it, and it’s really delicious on a hot day.  But every once in a while it just gets boring.  This salad dressing is for those times.  The blueberry makes it slightly sweet.  Balsamic makes it tangy.  This dressing will definitely add some excitement back into your salads.

Blueberry Balsamic Dressing

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

  • 1 1/4 cups blueberries, thawed if frozen
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
  • 3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender, except for the olive oil.  Slowly stream in the olive oil, blending until well combined.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Savory Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread

I’ve wanted to try this recipe for ages.  As soon as I saw it, I thought it would be an awesome combination.  I was not disappointed.  These shortbreads have an amazing buttery taste even though there’s no butter.  The rosemary and parmesan are a great match.

These are perfect as a snack, a fun appetizer, a great accompaniment to a salad, and/or a great pairing with drinks.

Savory Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread 

Makes 30

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups freshly grated parmesan
  • sea salt for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the oats in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the water over it.  In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, brown sugar and egg.  Pour the mixture over the oats, stir to combine and set aside.

In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, rosemary, and black pepper.  Whisk to combine, then stir in the parmesan.

Gradually stir the flour mixture into the oat mixture.

Scoop the batter onto greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheets (they don’t spread out a lot so you should be able to fit them all on two pans).  Flatten the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle a little flakey sea salt over each shortbread.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until set and starting to turn golden.

Curried Couscous Salad

Sorry for being so slow getting last Tuesday’s recipes posted!  It’s been a crazy week!  I unexpectedly had to go in for a physical to make sure I’m in good health to donate bone morrow through DKMS Americas.

Sandra (right) and me (left) at our catering event

Then I worked with my friend, Sandra to do a big catering job.  So for three days we were SUPER busy making food for 100 and preparing the picnic on Saturday afternoon.  As soon as that job was done I came down with a bad cold (probably exacerbated by not taking care of myself in the hot weather on Saturday).

And then yesterday I had to send off one of my very best friends as she prepares to move to Colorado for a new job!  Sorry for the delay, but hopefully these recipes are worth the wait!

For the end of this four-week term of School of Christian Living (my Tuesday cateringgig), I knew I wanted to keep it simple and cool.  It’s already getting to be pretty hot and muggy, so I didn’t want to have to have the oven or stove on for very long.  In my recipe browsing I came across a recipe for a Curried Couscous Salad in Vegetarian Times cookbook.  I was intrigued, but it combined the greens of a tossed salad with the couscous.  I decided to keep the tossed salad and the couscous salad separate.

I was extremely pleased with how this salad turned out.  It came together really nicely and is super versatile, so feel free to add whatever you have on hand.  I think some frozen peas would be great, you can use shallots or red onion instead of the scallions.  Get creative!

I’m not a big fan of raisins, but have found that golden raisins have a delicious sweet taste, and mixed in with a salad I don’t mind the texture.  If you refrigerate this salad the raisins get plumped up adding a huge burst of sweet flavor.  If you can’t get past the raisins try dried cranberries, currants, or just extra dried apricots.  I also meant to have toasted slivered almonds to sprinkle on top, but I forgot them in the oven (I did remember to turn the oven off…), and forgot to add them every time I had leftovers as well.  I think it’d be delicious!

This is also the prefect salad for picnics or BBQs, it can be served at any temperature and will be fine sitting out for a while.

Curried Couscous Salad

Serves 20

  • 4 cups uncooked couscous
  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat Israeli couscous
  • 9 cups water (or stock)
  • 2 1/2 cups (1 box) golden raisins
  • 2 cups dried apricots, chopped
  • 3 large (29oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large bell peppers, diced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches cilantro, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 6-7 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil, then add the 4 cups of regular couscous.  Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and allow to sit for about 5-8 minutes, until the water has been absorbed.  Fluff couscous with a fork when finished.  In a separate saucepan toast the Israeli couscous for a few minutes on medium-high heat.  Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for a few minutes until couscous is tender but still chewy.  Drain any excess water and mix in with the regular couscous (in a ridiculously large bowl, or divide into two large serving bowls).

Add the raisins, chopped apricots, chickpeas, peppers, scallions, and cilantro.  In a large measuring cup, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.  Allow to sit for at least an hour for the flavors to blend.

Tuna Melt

Sister moved to NYC with her boyfriend, Chris, and near their apartment is this adorable restaurant that has THE BEST tuna melt.  It’s amazing.  Since I don’t get up to NYC often enough (and because Sister mocks me for wanting to only eat at one restaurant the whole time I’m there), I had to try to recreate their super tasty tuna melt.

Lemony Tuna Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 large can tuna (in water), drained
  • 1/3 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Top your choice of bread with tuna salad and extra sharp cheddar cheese, toast until melted.  Devour!

Snickerdoodle Biscotti

Biscotti is an excellent coffee snack.  These snickerdoodle biscotti bring the cinnamon-sugar flavor of a snickerdoodle cookie and combine it with the crunchy tasty log of a biscotti.  Dip these in your coffee (or milk or hot chocolate) and you have the perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up treat!

Snickerdoodle Biscotti

makes about 20 biscotti

Adapted from Everything’s Coming Up Daffodils

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg white (for brushing)
Preheat oven 325°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined.  Divide the dough in two and shape each half into an 8″ x 3″ rectangle on a greased cookie sheet.

Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.  Brush egg white onto the biscotti dough and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar.

Bake for 35 minutes until golden and firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and slice rectangles into 10-12 pieces.  Lay each biscotti cut side down on the pan and bake for an additional 8 minutes on each side.

Allow to cool completely and store in an air-tight container.

Zucchini Nut Sandwich Cookies

Since no meal is complete without a little something sweet (life lessons from my Grandma!), we had Zucchini Nut (open face) Sandwich Cookies for dessert at the Women’s Retreat on Saturday.

I’m a big fan of these cookies.  They’re kind of like an oatmeal cookie, with cinnamon and oats.  They’re chewy, nutty and delicious.  Then you top them with a cream cheese frosting and it’s like magic.  Super delicious.  They’re called sandwich cookies because you’re supposed to put the frosting in between two cookies, but that can be a lot of cookie (which isn’t a problem in my opinion).  Since we were focusing on “Women’s Body Wisdom” at the retreat and we had a visit from a personal trainer, we decided to keep the cookies “open-face” so they could have a taste but didn’t have to commit to two cookies.

This is also my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, I experimented until I got the cream cheese to butter to sugar proportion just right.  It’s just sweet enough and still has that delicious slightly tangy flavor from the cream cheese.  I use this for any recipe that calls for cream cheese frosting.  Sometimes I might add a little lemon zest instead of cinnamon.

However you want to eat them, they sure are tasty!

Zucchini Nut Sandwich Cookies

Makes 12 sandwiches (24 cookies)

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 scant cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini, squeeze extra liquid out (1 medium size zucchini)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.

Mix in flour mixture into the butter until just combined.  Stir in zucchini, oats and walnuts.  Refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Scoop dough onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake until edges are golden, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies cool make the cream cheese frosting.

Lauren’s Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Slowly add sugar until well blended, then beat in the vanilla and cinnamon, if using.

Scoop frosting into a ziploc bag (or piping bag) and cut the tip off to “pipe” the frosting onto your cookies.

Creamy Green Pea Dip

In addition to the Asian Cabbage Salad, Homemade Pita, and Edamame Dip I made this Creamy Green Pea Dip.

I loved the smooth, slightly sweet taste of this dip.  It gets a little kick from the jalapeno, but isn’t spicy.  This would also make an excellent cold pasta sauce.  With the addition of silken tofu it adds some extra protein to your meal.  And as my mother always told me growing up, the peas will make your eyelashes curly!

Creamy Green Pea Dip

Serves 20-22, makes about 4 cups

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 container (20 oz) silken tofu, drained
  • 1 bag (16oz) frozen peas, defrosted
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Edamame Dip

This Edamame Dip was a great addition to Saturday’s Women’s Retreat.  Edamame (soy beans) are an excellent source of protein and with flavorful ingredients like sesame oil, siracha, and lemons, it makes a tasty snack!  This would also make an excellent spread for a sandwich!

Edamame Dip

Serves 22

Adapted from La Fuji Mama

  • 2 (16oz) bags shelled frozen edamame
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp siracha
  • 4 lemons, 2 zested and the juice of all 4

Allow edamame to thaw, or run hot water over frozen edamame until thawed.

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until mixture is mostly smooth, or until at the desired consistency.  Mix in batches if necessary.

Scrape dip into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.  Mix well before serving and check seasoning.  Serve with crudites, rice crackers, chips, or pita.

Homemade Pita

Saturday Seekers had a day long Women’s Retreat.  It was a wonderful gathering and I was delighted to make lunch for the event.

I made Asian Cabbage Salad, an Edamame Dip and a Creamy Green Pea Dip.  To go with it all I tried my hand at making Whole Wheat Pita.

Making the pita was similar to the naan I tried earlier this week.  I made little mini-pitas so that everyone could have a couple.  I was really pleased with how these turned out!  I used more whole wheat flour than the recipe called for and my house was cold, so it took the dough close to two hours to double in size.  Other than the time, these are really quite easy to make!

Homemade Pita

Makes 60 mini-pita

Adapted from Budget Bytes

  • 3 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 4 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (more as needed)
  • 3 tsp salt

Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar; stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes until a foam develops on top.  Add olive oil.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour and salt.  Pour in the liquids and stir.  Continue to add 1 cup of flour at a time until you can no longer stir dough with the spoon.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky, but is soft and pliable.  Knead the dough for at least 3 minutes.

Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it.  Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface and shape into a long log.  Cut pieces off the log and roll them out (they should be very thin).  Keep rolled out dough under a damp clothe so it doesn’t dry out.  When the oven is ready, place rolled out dough onto a wire rack and place the rack in the middle of the oven.  Turn on your oven light and keep an eye on the pita.  When they have puffed up, about 3-4 minutes for mini-pita, they’re done.

Remove puffed pita from the oven, move pita to a plate and cover with a damp towel.  The steam will soften the pita.

Allow the pita to cool completely.  Store pita in an air tight container in the refrigerator.