Strawberry Avocado Kale Salad

This recipe is a little bit of a different take on Strawberry Spinach Salad.  The kale makes this a bit heartier, the avocado adds some great healthy fats and creaminess; strawberries for sweetness, and pecans for crunch.  The best thing about raw kale salads is that they’re hearty.  You could easily make this at the beginning of the week, and have easy lunches all week long.  Kale is also full of good for you vitamins, and is high in calcium!  While kale might be a bit intimidating, it’s quite easy to turn into a delicious meal.  Since kale is rather tough, if you plan to eat it raw you have to massage it.  I know it sounds weird, and I too have felt the “if anything’s getting a massage it should be me” thoughts, but alas, your raw kale wants a massage too.  All you have to do is rub the salad dressing into the leaves.  You’ll know you’re doing it right when the leaves turn a brighter green, look glossy, and have already softened up a bit.  It doesn’t take long to do a whole bowl of kale, so don’t let this deter your raw kale eating ways!

Strawberry Avocado Kale SaladStrawberry Avocado Kale Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp poppyseeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • About 8 cups raw kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces (or enough to fill a large bowl, it reduces to about half the amount after it’s massaged)
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 oz feta, crumbled (optional)
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

In a measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Place raw kale in a large bowl, pour about 1/2 of the dressing onto the kale, and then massage the kale (rub the leaves between your hands), until kale is bright green and glossy.  Add remaining salad ingredients and serve.  Store in the fridge for about 3 days (although best to leave off the pecans until ready to serve).

Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

It’s finally happened.  After about a year of eating pretty much the same thing every day, I’m finally ready to find a new breakfast.  As much as I adore fruit, yogurt and granola, and I’m sure it will come back in rotation, but I think this oatmeal might be my new go-to.  This oatmeal is lightly sweet, a little crunchy on top, and baking the banana and strawberry gives it a rich caramelized flavor that’s just awesome.  I went ahead and made a double batch of this and baked it in two pans (I didn’t want to have to extend the bake time for a 9×13″ because I was hungry!)  I’m so glad I did so I’ll have leftovers for a few days!  This is super yummy, goes great with some fresh strawberries on top, and a drizzle of half and half makes it a strawberries and cream dream breakfast.  There’s a subtle cinnamon flavor that goes remarkably well with the strawberries.

Strawberry Banana Baked OatmealStrawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 2-4

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond since I had some on hand)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (could also use half and half or Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a 8×8″ baking pan or a pie dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  In a large measuring cup, measure out the milk, then mix in the egg, yogurt and vanilla.  Stir wet ingredients into the dry, then add in the mashed bananas and sliced strawberries.  Pour into your prepared baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set and beginning to turn golden on top.Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries and Cream (A Seat at the Table)

Serve with freshly sliced strawberries and a drizzle of half and half.  If you let the oatmeal sit for about 10 minutes it firms up and you can serve as squares for a more portable breakfast (or snack).

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This salad is great.  If you’re not a salad person, give this a try.  It’s a wonderful combination of sweet and savory.  This is one of my aunt’s favorite salads, and when she got married she asked the caterers to make this for the reception.  The caterer (and everyone else) loved this recipe so much he asked if he could keep it in his repertoire for other clients.

Not only is this beautiful and delicious, it’s a great healthy combination.  Iron (from the spinach) is absorbed better when it’s eaten with vitamin C (from the strawberries).  So as strawberries begin to show up everywhere, pick some up and make this spring flavored salad…you might just love it enough to have it at your wedding.

Strawberry Spinach SaladStrawberry Spinach Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6-8

  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Add spinach to a large bowl, top with sliced strawberries and toasted pecans.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup veg oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until it turns a pale pink (from the red onion).  This makes a large amount, at least enough for 3 or 4 salads.  Store dressing in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving (this will make it easier to pour).  Toss with salad just before serving and garnish with some toasted pecans.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

I didn’t used to be a cake person.  When Sister and I were little we always chose ice cream cakes for our birthdays, and not the new modern kind that have cold cake at the bottom, just straight up ice cream in the shape of a cake with a ganache on top.  So when asked to make a yellow cake for a friend’s party, I was a little stumped.  But thinking of what I know about her and her sister and their enjoyment of chocolate-covered strawberries.  I decided to create this chocolate covered strawberry layer cake.  And I have to say, it was pretty awesome.  This will totally make you into a cake person.  It’s light and delicate, perfect for spring.  It’s almost like strawberry shortcake, but better…since it has a rich chocolate ganache.  It is a bit of a process, so if you’re not feeling quite so ambitious, feel free to use a box cake mix.  But I would definitely recommend making your own whipped cream, it’s easy and really delicious.

But first let’s recap all the food for the party!  I went with a casual comfort-food theme, with a few heavier dishes since this was going to be dinner for most of the party-goers.  Here’s what I served:  beef sliders, turkey meatballs, mini corn dog muffins, mac and cheese, amazing bruschettacaramelized onion dip, smooth and creamy hummus, fruit salad, several cheeses, simple chocolate fudge, mint and chocolate bark, and chocolate covered strawberry layer cake.  Can you believe there was too much food?

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer CakeChocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 30-40, makes a 9×13″ layer cake

Yellow Cake

Adapted from allrecipes

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 16 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 9×13″ pans with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper and spray again.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternate adding in the flour and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Be careful to only mix it until just combined after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among the two prepared pans.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.  Let cool in pans completely.  (I read after making this cake that refrigerating the cakes make them easier to slice in half, so feel free to try that and report back).

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup double-strength brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat cream, butter, sugar and salt over low heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Let sit for about 30 seconds, then whisk the chocolate into the cream mixture until smooth.  Whisk in the coffee and vanilla.  Let sit until the mixture comes to room temperature and is a good spreadable consistency (about 3 hours).

Strawberry Layer

  • 5-6 cups chopped stawberries
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit overnight, or at least for several hours.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (more to taste)

In a large bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with the whisk attachment of your electric mixer.  After about a minute, once it’s fluffy, slowly whisk in the sugar, continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.  Taste and adjust sugar as needed.

Assembly:

Place one of the cakes on your serving platter, then slice the cakes through the middle, using a long bread knife.  I found it helpful to slide a thin flexible cutting board between the layers to move them about.  Spread chopped strawberries along the bottom layer, then spread a layer of whipped cream.  Top with top half of the cake, then repeat.  For the final layer of cake, just cover with a thick layer of the chocolate ganache (do not put strawberries or whipped cream on the top), allow ganache to ooze over the sides.  Garnish with whole strawberries.

Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries

March 31st was a special day.  Not only was it Easter, but it was also my cousin’s 9th birthday!  (If you’re really paying attention, you may be thinking, ‘didn’t your cousin turn 9 last month?’, and you’d be right.  Lucky me, I have two cousins just a month apart in age on either side of the family!)  So for Easter dessert/Kailey’s birthday cake, I made Angel Food Cake.  We served this with a simple homemade whipped cream and some freshly sliced strawberries.  It was a wonderful, light, and delicious combination.  I highly recommend it, angel food cake is the perfect accompaniment to any berry, especially with a little whipped cream!

Angel food cake is rather sweet and airy, so I didn’t make the whipped cream too sweet.  Taste as you go to reach your desired sweetness.

Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and BerriesAngel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Sweetsugarbean

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup egg whites (about 10-12 eggs), room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a bowl, sift together the cake flour and 1/2 cup sugar three times.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you have a handheld electric mixer), add room temperature egg whites and beat on medium speed until frothy.  Add vanilla and beat a little longer, until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat to medium stiffness, then slowly add in the remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.

Gradually fold in the flour mixture in several batches.  Scoop batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan (a tube pan that has little metal pieces that stick up past the rim, so that when you invert it, the pan rests on the metal pieces, not flat on the rim of the pan).  Run a sharp knife through the batter in the pan a few times to remove air bubbles.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Invert the pan, and allow to cool completely before removing.

While the cake cools, prepare your berries and make the whipped cream.Kailey's 9th Birthday

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp granulated sugar

Wash and slice your strawberries, and set aside.

In a bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla extract together until soft peaks begin to form.  Slowly add in the sugar and beat until well mixed and at desired consistency (don’t beat too much or the texture gets a little weird).

Frost cooled angel food cake, and serve with berries.  Enjoy!

Very Berry Muffins

We still have some blackberries from when we went berry picking a few weeks ago.  In an attempt to find a way to cook with them, I stumbled across these muffins.  I liked the sound of them because they’re full of healthy ingredients and aren’t full of sugar like a lot of muffins can be.  This was also the first recipe I’ve seen that uses strawberry puree, I think you could also use applesauce if you prefer.

While these weren’t the prettiest muffins (I think because I used thawed frozen strawberries), they sure do taste good.  They aren’t overly sweet, so they’re perfect for a delicious healthy breakfast or snack option.

Very Berry Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Adapted from Skinny Taste

  • 1 1/2 cups pureed strawberries (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup blackberries, halved
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a blender, puree strawberries until smooth and you have 1 1/2 cups.

Whisk to combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg, vanilla, melted butter, and pureed strawberries.  Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Gently fold in the blackberries.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake for about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Strawberry Rhubarb Drop Scones

These scones were delicious, although “scone” might not be an accurate name for them.  Scones tend to be denser and these were very light and almost fluffy.  They’re also not very sweet, so if you like sweeter treats feel free to add more sugar.  But I thought these were just perfect with a bit of lemon honey butter, or a drizzle of plain honey.

Strawberry Rhubarb Drop Scones

Makes about 12 large scones

Adapted from The Kitchen Ninja

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups mixture of finely chopped strawberries and rhubarb (about 8 large strawberries and 1 large rhubarb stalk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter and olive oil until mixture has a sandy texture.  Mix in the fruit.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, and buttermilk until well combined.  Pour into the large bowl and mix well.

Drop large spoonfuls (about 1/4 cup) of batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden and the top is set.  Allow scones to cool completely on a wire rack.

Lemon Honey Butter

  • 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4-1/2 lemon zested

Whisk all ingredients together.  Adjust sweetness to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)

This was the first time I’ve made a gluten-free dessert (intentionally).  I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I didn’t want to invest a lot into ingredients I couldn’t pronounce and wouldn’t know what to do with.  Fortunately after some googling I found an excellent recipe that only required a couple new ingredients.

These strawberry cupcakes were delicious.  The cake was sponge-y, tasting almost like an angel food cake.  They don’t look particularly attractive, the coconut flour makes the batter darker than all-purpose flour.  To go with it I made a strawberry cream cheese frosting.  Unfortunately the frosting turned out a bit runnier than I would have liked (I think too much strawberry puree and not enough cream cheese), but it was delicious with the cupcakes!

I would definitely make these cupcakes again even if I didn’t need a gluten-free dessert.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)

Makes 16 regular cupcakes, 48 mini cupcakes

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave nectar, and vanilla extract.  Using an electric mixer, blend the wet ingredients into the dry.  Fold in the strawberries.  Scoop batter into the prepared muffin tins until mostly full (using a cookie scoop gives the perfect amount for mini-cupcakes).  Bake for 9-10 minutes for mini cupcakes or 20-25 minutes for regular size, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 hour, then frost and serve.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

I mixed in some strawberry puree and some finely chopped strawberries with 16 oz cream cheese, 1/2 stick butter, and 2 cups powdered sugar.  Taste along the way until it’s at the desired sweetness.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

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.