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Bran Snack Cake

April 3, 2014

Bran Snack Cake 1 | Espresso and Cream
I know, I know. The whole “bran cake” probably doesn’t have you dashing to the kitchen to make this recipe, does it? Hang with me for a moment and let me explain. I’ve undoubtedly mentioned before how much I love hearty, healthier, one-bowl cake that doesn’t require a lot of fuss. This cake is all that and more.

Growing up I remember buying the most amazing bran muffins at the local grocery store. They were made by the local Dutch bakery (we grew up in a very Dutch town) and were pretty much the best things on the planet. They were huge muffins, not in paper liners, and the bottoms of the muffins were gooey and covered in some sort of caramel glaze that soaked into the muffins and kept them moist. At the time, I thought I was eating something healthy. I mean, they’re bran muffins for crying out loud. Now I realize they were more than likely loaded with sugar and butter and calories only being disguised by the bran as a better-for-you treat.

Bran Snack Cake 2 | Espresso and Cream
So last week when the urge to bake hit me hard I decided to try and recreate those muffins with a healthier twist. This bran cake is made in an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan, though you could certainly use a round cake pan if that’s what you happen to own. Instead of being loaded with sugar and butter and all those bad-for-you ingredients, I made a light glaze to go on the cake and drizzled the cake with a couple tablespoons of honey right after it came out of the oven.

Joe, who is not one for healthy desserts and cakes, was a huge fan of this cake! Although I had to warn him about portion control. One slice of cake a day is really all you should think about eating, if you know what I mean. We’re talking about bran, after all.

Bran Snack Cake 3 | Espresso and Cream

Bran Snack Cake
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Serves: 9 to 12
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups 100% bran cereal (such as All Bran)
  • 1¼ cups milk (I used 2% but you can use whatever you prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch square (or 8-inch round) cake pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, melt butter. Add brown sugar to butter and stir until well combined. Pour mixture into bottom of pan.
  2. In large bowl, combine all-purpose and whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt until well combined. In second bowl, combine bran cereal, milk, egg, oil and sugar until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the cake. Invert cake immediately onto serving platter. Drizzle with the honey. Cut into squares to serve. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Birthday Cake Oatmeal

March 21, 2014


As much as I love variety and change in some aspects of my life, like my work and my workouts, I really crave routine in some aspects of life. Take, for example, breakfast. I eat oatmeal or oat bran for breakfast every single morning. To me, it’s the perfect morning meal. But at the same time, I get bored with the same old oatmeal every morning. It’s good to mix things up every now and again.

I mentioned a month ago that I bought a box of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix. I realize it’s totally not very “foodie” to admit this, but I’ve been finding a lot of ways to put that box of cake mix to use in everyday life. Probably not the healthiest or most important skill, but considering that the box has lasted over a month, I don’t think I’m doing too much damage in the health department.

One of my new favorite treats is to stir a little bit of dry cake mix into my morning bow of oatmeal. Something about doing so feels completely indulgent, without being overly sweet or putting me into a sugar coma. If you’re looking for a way to make your morning a little more fun, I would highly suggest giving this a try!


Birthday Cake Oatmeal
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
I make this oatmeal when I'm craving something a little more like dessert without totally indulging in a breakfast pastry or something similar. I keep a box of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix around in case the craving strikes.
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup milk (I like 2% but you can use whatever milk you prefer)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 packets stevia or 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix
  • Peanut butter, if desired
  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine the oats and water. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until much of the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add milk, vanilla, stevia and salt to oats and stir until well combined; stir in the cake mix and cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until oats are your desired thickness. Top with peanut butter, if desired.



Yogurt Streusel Coffee Cake

March 7, 2014

YogurtCoffeeCake_1The weekend is almost upon us! For some reason, Friday’s arrival just sort of ambushed me and I am having a hard time believing that it’s Friday. I guess that’s a good problem to have, much better than the week dragging by. We don’t have a whole lot on the calendar this weekend, which I’m totally excited about. A few dinners with friends and family, a couple of lazy mornings, and enjoying the warmer weather with the pups. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

At work I’ve been creating some really fun yogurt cake recipes. And while I can’t share the amazing recipes just yet, I did play around in my own kitchen with a completely different yogurt cake that’s delicious in its own right. My dedicated taste tester, Joe, was a big fan of this cake. Serve it as a coffee cake in the morning or as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. It’s not overly sweet, which both Joe and I loved. But I think the best part is how easy it is to make.

I hope that wherever you are the weather is getting warmer (and yes, 30 degrees totally counts as warm!) and you take some time to relax with loved ones. See you Monday!


Yogurt Streusel Coffee Cake
Recipe type: Brunch/Dessert
Serves: 16 slices (2 cakes)
I love how easy this recipe is! You use the actual yogurt container to measure out all the sugar, oil and flour, meaning you don't need to dirty measuring cups and you can throw the yogurt container away when you're done. This coffee cake is easily my new go-to for easy, effortless entertaining. Perfect for breakfast, brunch of dessert.
  • 2 containers (5.3 to 6 oz) Greek yogurt (I used a flavored raspberry Greek yogurt)
  • 2 containers sugar
  • 1 container oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 containers all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Streusel
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Icing
  • 1 container powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, sugar and oil. Stir until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. In medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to wet mixture, beating with a whisk or electric mixer until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour batter into cake pans.
  5. In small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats and flour. Work the butter in with your fingers until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle streusel mixture on top of cakes.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean (a couple crumbs may remain because it's a slightly moister cake.)
  7. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cake. Turn cake out of pans and cool on wire cooling racks.
  8. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cakes. Serve cakes warm or cool.



Whole Wheat Biscuits with Jam

March 3, 2014

Whole Wheat Biscuits | Espresso and Cream
In our house, weekends are for taking a little extra time to make breakfast. I love waking up early (yes, we wake up early even on the weekend) and starting a pot of coffee on the stove top, getting out ingredients for homemade biscuits and spending an extra few minutes in the kitchen preparing breakfast.

Growing up, my mom made biscuits served with beef stew and it was always one of my favorite meals. Today, I usually make biscuits for breakfast on the weekends, paired with scrambled eggs and, if Joe is lucky, I’ll make some bacon, too.

When Joe and I were first married, I made homemade biscuits for him one morning for breakfast. About half way through the first biscuit, he looked at me and said, “These biscuits are SO good. Where did you buy them?” When I told him I made them from scratch a look of disbelief came over his face. We still laugh about it today. My husband, who knew he was married to a food editor, in shock that I could make biscuits that delicious. Clearly, I had some work to do.

Whole Wheat Biscuits 3 | Espresso and Cream
Sometimes, when I’m feeling a little guilty and want to make a breakfast that feels slightly more virtuous I’ll make these biscuits 100% whole wheat. They’re heartier and more dense than a traditional biscuit, but I love the rich, nutty flavor of the whole wheat flour. If you’re looking for a biscuit that’s more traditional, lighter and fluffier, I would suggest using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour.

Whole Wheat Biscuits 2 | Espresso and Cream

Whole Wheat Biscuits with Jam
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour (if you like a lighter biscuit, swap half the whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk (use 2% or whole milk)
  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt until well combined.
  3. Cut butter into small pieces. Use a fork or pastry blender to blend butter into flour until mixture resembles a coarse meal with some larger pieces of butter remaining.
  4. Add milk to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Use your hands to bring dough together gently, lightly kneading dough just 2 to 3 times. Turn dough out onto floured surface and pat into a rectangle about ½ inch thick. Fold dough in half crosswise to make a double thickness of dough.
  5. Use a 2½ to 3 inch biscuit cutter to cut two biscuits from dough. Re-shape dough and cut two more biscuits for a total of four biscuits.
  6. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until biscuits are flaky and golden brown. Serve with jam or butter.



Homemade Vanilla Coconut Butter

February 23, 2014

I go in waves with all things homemade. Deep down inside, I love making everything by scratch. If I had the time, I would make my bread and my peanut butter and my pasta by scratch every week. Tonight I had a little extra time in the kitchen, so I made enchiladas with homemade flour tortillas and homemade enchilada sauce and I felt so accomplished knowing that I could name every ingredient in the food we were eating.

But if I’m being honest with myself, I just don’t have the time or energy to make everything from scratch all the time, no matter how much I might like to do so. My time is worth a lot, and I try to strike a healthy balance. Sometimes I go weeks on end making hummus by scratch or making my own peanut butter. Other times I simply find it worth it to purchase those items from the store.

The only time I regularly make things my scratch is when it’s vastly cheaper. I just can’t resist saving a little money and learning a new kitchen skill. I’m a big fan of coconut butter (not to be confused with coconut oil or coconut milk) which has a creamy, melty texture and great coconut flavor. But buying coconut butter can be pricey, so I set out to make it myself. I’m not sure what took me so long! I just had to share how easy it is to make coconut butter at home.

Because I prefer a little sweetness, I added some sugar to the recipe below, though you certainly don’t need it for the recipe to work. Since I’m not a huge jam or preserves person, I find that this coconut butter is a great substitute. It’s slightly sweet, creamy and tastes great on toast or drizzled on a morning bowl of oatmeal. The coconut butter will get hard at room temperature (especially in the winter when it’s colder in the house) but you can bring it back to spreading consistency by putting it in the microwave for a few seconds before you use it!


Homemade Vanilla Coconut Butter
This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe by Ashley from Edible Perspective, which I found on Food52. You can find her recipe here. It's incredibly versatile and I can see myself making lots of variations of this basic recipe. The sugar isn't necessary in this recipe, but I like the sweetness it adds and the way it brings out the coconut and vanilla flavors.
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon high-quality vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Place all the ingredients together in the bowl of a large food processor. Blend 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Coconut butter will get hard in cooler temperatures. To soften, microwave 20 to 30 seconds or until desired consistency for spreading on toast.



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