Tuesday, July 29, 2014

cherry almond coffee cake.

My sister invited me to participate in this month's mystery dish!

We had to make a recipe that included at least 3 of the following: coffee, 
sour cream,
farro, almonds, cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, jicama, cucumber, tomatoes, infused or flavored olive oil, fresh herbs, cornmeal, and hot peppers. 

With all the fruit included on the list, I knew I wanted to make something sweet. And of course I immediately thought of combining cherries and almonds! 

I found several recipes using dried or maraschino cherries but I wanted to use fresh ones. I was super excited to find this coffee cake recipe because it combines fresh cherries and raw almonds, and also includes sour cream to keep it super soft and moist. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. It can be part of a balanced breakfast ;) ;), snack, or dessert!


fresh cherry almond coffee cake from noble pig


for coffee cake:

2 cups fresh, pitted, chopped cherries
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds

for glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tablespoon milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a bowl, combine chopped cherries and brown sugar, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, sour cream, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Batter will be thick.
  3. Grease a 10 inch bundt pan (or 2- 8" round pans). Spoon half the batter into pan. Make sure to completely cover the bottom of pan.  Spread it around evenly with a spatula or something similar. Top with cherry-brown sugar mixture. By spoonfuls, put the remaining batter over cherries. Just swirl it around gently, you don't have to completely cover the cherries. Sprinkle with almonds.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-45 minutes (depending on which pan you use) or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  I checked at 25 minutes and kept checking every 10 minutes until done. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan. During the cooling time, carefully run a sharp knife around the edges.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over the cooled coffee cake and serve.

Check out the links below for other yummy recipes!

July Mystery Dish via thepajamachef.com
  1. Watermelon Salsa - The Pajama Chef
  2. Farro Salad - Chez CateyLou
  3. Cherry Almond Coffee Cake - Two Happy Bellies
  4. Watermelon Fruit Salad with Mint Lime Dressing - Yummy Healthy Easy
  5. Toasted Almond Caramel Mocha Gelato - Culinary Couture Blog
  6. Cherry Galettes with Almond Sour Cream Crust - The Well Floured Kitchen
  7. Cherry Watermelon Granita - Joyful Healthy Eats
  8. Cherry Almond Mocha Smoothie - Baking a Moment
  9. Pepperoni Pasta Salad - I Want Crazy
  10. Almond Cherry Bars - I Dig Pinterest
  11. Cucumber Salsa - Weary Chef
  12. Cherry Almond Popsicles - Blahnik Baker

Sunday, July 27, 2014

vanilla almond granola.

We do love cereal and granola around here but I am just tired of paying for it. If you want the good, healthy stuff it can go up to around $3-5- yikes! The only exception to that was last week when Kroger had Kashi cereal on manager's special for only $1.50- now that was steal!  But sadly... it doesn't happen very often.

Alas, I decided to try my hand at some homemade granola. Let me tell you- it was delicious! It can also easily be adapted for GF eaters by using GF certified oats and can be vegan by using coconut oil and maple syrup. 

It was also super easy to make. It seriously took only about 5 minutes to mix together and then you just throw it in the oven. If you don't have time to stir every 15 minutes, just leave it in and after it cools, break bunches apart as you please. I can't wait to make some different versions of granola!


vanilla almond granola from sally's baking addiction


2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2-3/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or another liquid oil (i.e. melted butter, olive oil, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees. 
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Toss the oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the syrup or honey and oil together until combined. Whisk in the almond and vanilla extracts. Pour over the oats and toss to coat. Make sure all of the oats are moistened.
  4. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow granola to cool completely. It will get crunchy during the cooling process. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

green protein smoothie.

I only have 1 week left until I go back to work (sniffle, sniffle). Since I have been off this summer, I have been making smoothies almost every morning. I've had so much fun experimenting with different kinds.  I am hoping to continue my smoothie-making-morning-ritual when I go back to work too! 

Also, Grant and I just got home from a short but incredibly sweet vacation to Virginia. We had a great time lounging by the pool, playing mini golf, visiting a couple local restaurants, & going on a few hikes at Shenandoah National Park.  Below the recipe are a couple pictures from our trip :)


green protein smoothie recipe (1 serving)


1 frozen banana
1/4-1/2 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
1-2 Tbsp nut butter (I used peanut butter)
6 oz greek yogurt (I like to use vanilla or plain)
2 handfuls spinach (kale or another green would probably work too)
Optional sweetener such as maple syrup, agave, stevia, etc., (I did not use one)


Blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor. If using a blender, I recommend putting the milk in first and the spinach in last. 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

soft homemade oreos.

I have been dying to make copycat Oreos but needed a special occasion to make them. You can only get about 10-12 sandwich cookies from this recipe which doesn't seem like enough for Grant to take to work and too many to keep at home. This would mean I would be eating them all day long until they were gone.

Grant's family invited us to Symphony on the Prairie last weekend. It is an event that takes place at Connor Prairie (a big historical park) in Indianapolis.  At this evening event, they have a of symphony come play.  Thousands attend and most bring a picnic dinner (anything from McDonalds to fancy cheese & wine. It's one of those events that makes you feel classy but it's still affordable.  Anyway, I was told there would be 7 of us and I could bring dessert. Hence the perfect opportunity to make these cookies.  Enough for all of us to have one and enough for Grant and I to sample beforehand and perhaps have a couple leftover. 

My handsome hubby and me at the Symphony

These cookies were a hit, too. They were super, super soft and had a creamy inside. Real winners. I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did!


Soft Homemade Oreos 


Cookies from crazy for crust

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's special dark is recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg

    Cream Filling from sally's baking addiction
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening 
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
    2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. Set aside.
    4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars. Mix in egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
    5. Scoop (about 1 tbsp) cookie dough onto the cookie sheets. I got 25 cookies. 
    6. Bake for 8-9 minutes . It's ok if they are a little underdone, they will be softer that way.
    7. Let cool completely before filling and making sandwiches.
    8. While cookies are cooling, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and vegetable shortening.  Gradually add powdered sugar then the vanilla. Filling will be pretty thick.
    9. With a spatula, spread cream filling onto one cooled cookie and sandwich it with another cookie. 
    10. Enjoy!
    Recipe Sources: 

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    grandma's blueberry muffins.

    These are my favorite muffins in the world. As you can see from the name, they are my Grandma's recipe which makes them even more special to bake. Not to mention, they taste amazing- I hope you think so too!

    I am totally on a blueberry kick right now and just had to make these blueberry muffins. I have been baking these muffins with my mom and sister since I can remember. Whenever we got ready to bake something, my mom would ask my sister or me to get the recipe card. My mom has a million and one recipe cards so sometimes the recipe card we needed was hard to find.  The recipe card for this one, however, was always the easiest to find- it was the one that was smudged and spilled on because we used it all. the. time. As much as we made them, I never got tired of them.

    These muffins are sweet, moist, soft, and just plain perfect. Many people like spitting them in half, and putting butter on it. Not me, though- I like them just as is. :)


    grandma's blueberry muffin recipe:

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 3/4 cup blueberries
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
    2. Grease or line 24 muffin tins with paper liners. 
    3. Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumb mixture forms.  I used a pastry knife, but a food processor works even better. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture. Set aside.
    4. Put eggs, milk, and vanilla into the crumb mixture in large bowl. Beat until smooth, then gently fold in blueberries. Fill your 24 muffin tins 3/4 full.
    5. Place reserved crumb mixture into a small bowl, then dribble in melted butter. Toss with a fork to make crumbs. Sprinkle on top of each muffin cup.
    6. Bake for 20 minutes or until crumb topping is golden brown.