Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

I enjoy baking but I LOVE cooking. Baking always seems to get a bit tricky and if you aren't paying close attention and making precise measurements, you could end up with a complete disaster. When I cook, I do my thing, I let my mind wander and most of the time I don't even closely follow the recipe. Cooking is my therapy and I love spending time in the kitchen.

This Lemon Almond Ricotta cake though...I loved making it! It came together seamlessly, the recipe was easy to follow and the end result was incredible. A friend made this cake for my birthday last year and I knew it would be the perfect end to our Easter meal. It might even be my new favorite Springtime dessert! Lemon and almond go together like a dream and the ricotta creates such a nice balance. Using almond meal instead of flour gives this cake a unique texture that I love. Our Easter meal was complete when we finished with a delicious slice of this gem of a cake.

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake
recipe from Honey and Figs

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste equivalent amount
zest from 2 lemons
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
2.5 cups almond meal
10.5 oz. ricotta cheese. 
almond flakes

Freeze whisk attachment and mixing bowl.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 20 cm. round springform pan with parchment paper and set aside. 

Beat softened butter, 1 cup of the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy and pale, about 5-6 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add almond meal and beat on medium to combine. Gently fold in the ricotta cheese. 

Remove bowl and whisk from the freezer and beat egg whites and the remaining powdered sugar (1 cup) until soft peaks form. This took me 8-10 minutes. Fold stiff egg whites into the cake batter and gently combine. 

Pour mixture into cake pan and sprinkle with almond flakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes and then cover with tin foil. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until cake is done, the top is slightly browned and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. 

Let the cake cool for 20 minutes before removing from the springform pan. Dust with additional powdered sugar before serving.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pulled Pork, Sweet Potato Salad, Jalapeno Lime Slaw + Roasted Okra

YOU GUYS. Mark fired up the smoker this weekend for the first time this Spring and we enjoyed the most delicious meal on the screened in porch. The weather was incredible and our azaleas were in full bloom. I love love love love love this time of year! 

We bought a pork butt from Harris Teeter and rubbed it with a brown sugar coffee rub from Trader Joe's. Mark smoked it for several hours and it was perfect. Along with our pulled pork we had sweet potato salad, jalapeno lime slaw and roasted okra. 

Gina's Sweet Potato Salad was a winner! I only used about 1/4 of a Vidalia onion because the one that I found at the grocery store was huge. I also opted to only use the green parts of the scallions and used only 1/4 cup of mayo. We try to stick with sweet potatoes vs. white potatoes so this was a yummy way to get our potato salad fix- and even better the next day! 

This Jalapeno Lime Slaw has been a long time favorite. It's so easy to toss together and has few ingredients but big flavor. The only thing I swap in this recipe is honey instead of sugar. We love this salad! 

Nothing fancy for the okra. Just washed, trimmed and tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I baked this at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, tossing every five minutes.

For more dinner ideas, you can check out my hashtag on Instagram, #eatmooredinner! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Skinny Lemon Bites

I just can't quit with the snack bites. The possibilities are endless with these bite sized treats and I find that they are the perfect snack to have around for a quick energy boost during the day or to curb a sweet tooth at night after dinner.

These skinny lemon bites are perfect for Spring! I love the light, bright flavor of lemon- especially in the warmer months! With only four ingredients, you can whip these up in no time. I doubled the original recipe and added lemon zest for even more lemon flavor. I have been storing these in the freezer and they taste like lemon sugar cookie dough! The perfect healthy springtime treat! We can't get enough.

Skinny Lemon Bites
recipe adapted from House of Yumm

1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp. lemon zest
2.5 Tbsp. honey 
1/4 tsp. pure lemon extract

Place cashews, oats and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse until there are no large pieces left. Add the honey and lemon extract and pulse until combined. Scoop out the mixture with a teaspoon and form into small balls. Chill in refrigerator or freezer and enjoy!