Strawberry Banana Coffee Cake

I can’t seem to stop shoveling strawberries in my mouth.

Anyone else having this problem?

Okay. Good. Glad we are on the same page.

I love when you can tell the true changing of the seasons by how produce tastes. I took one bite of a particularly vibrantly colored, delicately sweet and meaty strawberry about a month ago and said, “You guys! It’s officially spring!” The Dude and Monkey looked up from their plates with little to no interest and continued on with their respective lunches.

Oh well. I’m not sure what kind of grand response I was expecting from my exclamation.

Okay that is a lie. I was actually hoping for a little mini fiesta break, like in that commercial for the taco shells.

The one where they are lamenting over the round taco shell and the little kid says in subtitles “why not make it flat on the bottom?” and then the commercial cuts to a little party where they fling him up in the air and throw confetti.

So yeah, that is what I was hoping for. A quick springtime party with confetti and a mariachi band.

Digress much?

So when I can hold on to a few strawberries without eating them, I actually really really love to bake with them. (Remember these little cookies?)

Here is my latest strawberry concoction. A lovely little coffee cake, if it pleases you.

Oh and yes you may notice that there does not appear to be a large amount of strawberries on this cake…well…I’ll be honest with you. I ate too many before I baked up this batch for the pictures. Woopsie. (P.S. It is also the reason that I have all of two pictures of the cake in this post. Hey. This is real life. And strawberries get eaten in real life.)

This cake is sweet and dense, offering a nice contrast to the crumbly struesel layer all over the top. And the nutmeg and cinnamon thing going through it all? Sign me up! I love the way that nutmeg tastes with strawberries. The spiciness stands up so well to the smooth sweetness of the fruit.

Love it!

Happy Spring, ya’ll!

Strawberry Banana Coffee Cake

1/2 cup (heaping) diced, fresh strawberries

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup (about 1 medium) mashed black bananas

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl combine strawberries and sugar. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, while mixing the other ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine bananas, eggs, honey, vanilla, butter, and milk.

Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into a well greased, 8×8 baking dish.

Drain strawberries and scatter them over the top of the cake batter. Gently press strawberries into the top of the cake with the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle struesel (recipe below) over the top of the cake. Note: I only used about 3/4 of the mixture to top the cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Streusel Topping

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

In a small bowl stir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour.

Then using your fingers or a fork, quickly work the butter into the flour and sugar until it becomes the consistency of cornmeal and only small pea-sized chunks of butter remain.

Almond Butter Fruit Dip

Sometimes unexpected things happen in the kitchen.

Sometimes they are more of the unwelcome variety. For example, this morning I was getting supper ready to go in the slow cooker. I quickly reached into the refrigerator to grab a box of chicken broth and immediately started shaking it up. Suddenly everything was covered! If I had been a little bit more careful and had payed any attention to what I was doing at all, I would have noticed that the little tab was not secure. So I totally covered not only the kitchen, but also my poor Little Monkey who happened to be standing right in the line of fire. And let me tell you, she did not appreciate it either. I, being the very picture of maturity, thought it was pretty darn funny; and proceeded to teasingly tell her I was going to eat her since she smelled so delicious.

That probably didn’t help her feel better about the situation. Oh well. The Dude would have appreciated it, but she was at preschool. Le sigh.

So there are the not so great unexpected kitchen happenings, but there are also some delicious ones.

Remember back when I made this breakfast cake? Well, when I was tasting as I went along making that cake, I found out something quite unexpected.

There is a second little recipe hidden inside.

A tasty fruit dip recipe.

Oh yes.

If you stir together a little almond butter, Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and vanilla; bam! Sliced fruit just turned into a more interesting and filling snack.

This stuff is crazy good. Super rich and nutty (duh!) from the almond butter, with a little tang from the yogurt. It is sweet, obviously, but not so much that it overpowers the sweet fruit slices you have going on. And it really does make a filling snack (ahem…or lunch..oops), thanks to all of the protein and healthy fats that are packed in from the almonds and yogurt. Score!

Almond Butter Fruit Dip

3/4 cup almond butter (you can whip up my recipe found here)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon vanilla

Stir together almond butter and brown sugar until well combined.

Fold in Greek yogurt and vanilla.

May be served immediately or after a couple of hours left in the refrigerator to chill with fruit slices, graham crackers, pretzels, etc.

Hawaiian Risotto

I have been waiting a whole year for this.

It has to be one of my favorite leftover recipes I have ever made. I think it will be one of your favorites too.

Cube up some of that baked ham you are going to have sitting forlornly in your refrigerator after tomorrow along with some of the pineapple that sat prettily on top, and toss them into a rich and comforting bowl of risotto. Maybe you turn around to say something to your Little Dude and a little bit (or maybe a lot a bit) of the sweet pan juices and glaze you used on the ham dribbles its way into your pan. I don’t know. It probably wouldn’t be the worst thing that ever happened in your kitchen. In fact, it might be one of the best.

The rice is creamy and rich with the salty cheddar cheese. The ham cubes offer a hearty filling bite, while the pineapple bursts with their sweet juice giving you that addicting salty-sweet contrast.

Oh and might I suggest swirling in a generous helping of Sriracha? It is definitely the right thing to do.

Mahalo, and Happy Easter.

Hawaiian Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

1/3 cup white wine

4 cups simmering chicken broth

1 cup simmering water

1 cup cubed ham

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1/4 cup pineapple tidbits

In a large pan, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until translucent and soft.

Add rice and garlic and toast for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Pour on white wine and stir until absorbed.

Ladle in the warm chicken broth about 1/3 cup at a time. Stir until the liquid is absorbed by the rice before adding more.

When all of the broth is gone, heat some water in a pot. Begin adding the water 1/3 cup at a time until the rice is soft and creamy (I used about 2/3 cup).

When the rice is done, stir in ham, cheese, and pineapple.

Serve immediately.

Hot Cross Bun Pancakes

Brace yourselves. I’m about to do something really mean.

“Hot Cross Buns.”

“Hot Cross Buns.”

“One a penny. Two a penny.”

“Hot Cross Buns.”

Hahahahaha! Now that song is going to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, like it has been stuck in mine ever since I made these Hot Cross Bun Pancakes last week.

Okay. Okay. I’m sorry.

I’ll make it up to you by leaving you with this amazing recipe that you should make for your fam on Friday morning. They taste every bit as spicy, sweet, and festive as the buns but are waaayyyy less work.

And look on the bright side. At least with the song on constant replay in your head, you aren’t as likely to forget to make them.

Hot Cross Bun Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3-1/2 cup raisins

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

In a medium bowl mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, orange zest, baking powder, and salt.

Stir in raisins. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together milk and eggs.

Add melted butter to milk and eggs, whisking the entire time until combined.

Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until combined.

Spoon pancakes onto a preheated griddle or pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until bubbles have formed.

Flip and cook about 2 minutes more.

Transfer pancakes to a warm oven until ready to serve.

Pour Vanilla Glaze onto pancakes in a cross shape. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons milk

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl. Continue stirring in milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until desired thickness.

Southwest Turkey Burgers

This one has been a favorite in my house for years.

It kind of evolved out of a turkey meatloaf recipe that I found in an awesome church cookbook that my grandmother gave me. Aren’t local church cookbooks the best? I love me some recipes from little old ladies in a rural small town. Good. Stuff.

So anyway, this recipe is something that I have been making for years and have been really excited to share with you ever since I started this blog. It is sort of a tried and true recipe for us.

The Hubs usually asks what we are going to have for supper when he is on his way home from work. Anytime these are on the menu, I can hear how excited he gets. And honestly, I do too. We love them.

They make a hearty, healthy meal. Full of lean protein, fiber, and even a few veggies thanks to the salsa (Hey! Every little bit counts, right?!) And if you are worried about them being dry little hunks of meat in a bun (Oh come on. Dont’ pretend you weren’t worried about that. It’s a turkey burger…I get it.), don’t be! The salsa, olive oil, and beans keep these babies totally moist and tender.

I can tell you that they are perfectly fine to be mixed up and formed into patties earlier in the day when kiddos are schooling, distracted, or napping. You can just put them in the refrigerator and pull them out when you are ready to cook them up. I can also tell you that they sadly do not work on the grill. They are a little too soft and have a tendency to fall apart on the grates. But don’t worry they are fabulous cooked up on a grill pan or iron skillet.

We all like to eat ours with thick slices of cheddar melted on top, and salsa smeared into the bun like ketchup. Other toppings we enjoy are avocado slices, baby spinach, fresh or pickled jalepeno slices, and spicy brown mustard.

I hope you guys like them!

Southwest Turkey Burgers

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

1/2 cup mashed black beans or pinto beans , drained and rinsed

1/4 cup salsa

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 heaping teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder, and dried cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb ground turkey

Combine chips, beans, salsa, spices, olive oil and egg in a large bowl.

Add in turkey and gently combine all ingredients with your hands. Form into patties.

Preheat oven to 375.

Preheat a grill pan, iron skillet, or large oven safe pan to medium-high heat.

Turn pan to medium heat and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Fry burgers for about 10 minutes, and flip.

Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes.

If desired, top with cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.

Old Fashioned Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

No I did not stutter in my title.

I am presenting you with a cookie made of old fashioned oats, that tastes like an Old Fashioned cocktail.

Ya feel me?

This whole thing came to be because I have a slight Mad Men obsession. Every time I get out our big canister of old fashioned oats, I think to myself, “Ha! I should make this bowl of oatmeal Old Fashioned just like Don Draper’s favorite drink.” Well, of course that would be ridiculous (…even though I am probably going to try it…), but then I got to thinking about what else old fashioned oats are good for.

Bam! A cookie idea was born.

I totally got in touch with my inner Betty Draper in order to make these too. Oh boy.

Well first off, I showed up at the liquor store right whenever it opened…at 11 AM…to buy bitters…with a barefoot Monkey on my hip.

Mmm hmm. I’ll just let that mental image sink in for a moment.

Classy huh? I felt like to really complete the picture I should have stood outside the store and smoked a cigarette while I let her play in the parking lot.

Well, as it turns out, the ABC Store doesn’t sell bitters. And apparently you can just buy it right at your grocery store.  It is over next to the grenadine and margarita salt. So you can save yourself the embarrassment and just keep your barefoot babies where the belong ya’ll — at the grocery store.

Shoo.

So when I got home after picking up The Dude from preschool I immediately mixed myself up a little Old Fashioned cocktail. You know, just a little something something to take the edge off with my lunch.

Okay I am totally kidding. I mean, I did mix up the drink, but only so I could taste it because I had never had an Old Fashioned before. And I figured I should probably try the actual drink before I attempted a baked good that it was inspired by. Now before you go calling DHR on me, I will have you know I only had a few sips. Promise. But I will tell you, even having only a few sips of hard liquor in the middle of the day made me feel so Betty.

I have never felt more strongly connected to the Draper family.

Wow. The 60’s must have been a real special time to be a parent.

You know what else is real special? These cookies.

They are soft and chewy (aren’t the best cookies always soft and chewy?) with a nice little spicy punch from the orange zest and bitters which, as it turns out, is a really fun little flavoring (think along the lines of pumpkin pie spice). The bourbon is understated and lends a heady sweetness that is balanced out by the tart cherries.

Here’s the recipe.

Old Fashioned Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

makes 1 dozen cookies

1/2 cup salted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milled flax seed + 4 tablespoons water (or 1 egg)

1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

4 tablespoons bourbon

4 tablespoons dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. About 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add flax “egg” (I used the flax egg method in my testing because I wanted to taste the dough as I went along, but had every intention of making the cookies with a real egg. However, I liked the nuttiness the flax gave the cookies so much, I decided to keep it in my final recipe. You can add a real egg if you prefer, though.) and stir until combined.

Mix in bitters, vanilla, orange zest, and bourbon to the butter mixture.

Dump the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir until combined.

Give the cherries a rough chop and fold them into the cookie dough.

Mound the dough into 2 tablespoon sized balls onto a greased cookie sheet, and gently flatten out just a bit with your hand.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Gluten Free Samoa Pancakes

I’ve got something I am pretty excited to share with you this weekend.

How about some pancakes? How about some pancakes that don’t weigh you down and make you feel all blah? How about some pancakes that are actually hearty and keep you full for longer than an hour? How about some pancakes that taste like Girl Scout Cookies?

Well, come on over here and let fix you some!

Now don’t be all weirded out by the whole gluten free thing. This is absolutely no different than making regular pancakes, except that we are going to make our own fancy pants healthy “flour” first. You could by all means buy your own oat and coconut flours at the store, but I assure you this is a much cheaper way to go. Trust me, this takes about 60 seconds and then you are off mixing up a pancake batter.

Measure out 1 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats, and 1/2 cup of dried coconut (NOT the shredded, unsweetened stuff that you find in your baking aisle. Regular shredded coconut has too much moisture still in it to be ground into a flour. What you want is DRIED or DESSICATED coconut. It is a bag of really small dried flakes of coconut. You are probably going to have to walk over to the health foods area of your grocery store, but it is worth it. So go find it!). Now all you do to make the flour is dump the oats and coconut into a food processor and pulse until it is the consistency of cornmeal.

See? Nothing to it.

Then we simply proceed like normal pancakes. We mix all of the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Then the wet in another. Then mix them all together. Now at this point, you are probably going to notice that the batter is pretty runny and you might feel inclined to mumble a bad word or two to me about how this pancake batter looks more like a crepe batter and you knew this gluten free thing wasn’t going to work out. Well to that I would say, “Hold your horses! And please go pour yourself another cup of coffee, because you are kind of cranky this morning!”

You definitely need to let this batter sit for at least 5 minutes before you start to fry them up. You need to give the oats a chance to do their oat thing where they start soaking up the liquid in the bowl and get all thick and gluey. So seriously just give it a minute. Set your pan to preheat, warm up your coffee, and straighten up the kitchen, then come back and get started on the pancakes.

Turn your pan to medium low heat and then cook them for 3 minutes. Right before you are about to turn them, sprinkle on a few chocolate chips. Flip them over and cook for another 2 minutes. At this point, I like to place them in a pan that I have sitting in a 200 degree oven to stay warm until all of the pancakes are made.

Look at this. I kind of blew The Dude’s mind when I busted out a stack of cookies, and a plate of pancakes.

Hahaha. Poor kid. I tried to be fast so she could get in there.

These pancakes are moist, and slightly chewy from the coconut. They are slightly rich from the coconut oil and dark chocolate chips. I don’t know how else to convince you to make these. They taste like Samoas!!!

Totally irresistible.  I am kind of in love.

Gluten Free Samoa Pancakes

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup dried or dessicated coconut

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200.

In a food processor or blender, pulse oats and coconut until a coarse powder (similar to cornmeal) has formed.

Pour flour mixture into a bowl with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine milks, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut oil.

Whisk in eggs.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and let sit for at least 5 minutes to thicken.

Spoon the batter onto a pan at medium/low heat. Cook for 3 mintues. Sprinkle on some chocolate chips, and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes more.

Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to eat.

Ding Dong!

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