Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

The strawberry patch saw us a few times this Spring and we loved the constant supply of freshly picked berries. Too many strawberries are never a bad thing! I had my heart set on making the Strawberry Dream Cake from the cover of May's Southern Living but it never happened!

My friend Katie sent me this recipe as back up and I must say, this Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake was a stellar runner up! I had all of the ingredients on hand and the cake is TO DIE FOR. It came together easily and I didn't mind licking the bowl clean once the batter was poured into the cake pan. I can imagine that this cake would be just as good with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a mixture of all of them. 

Make this cake. It's perfect for Summer!

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
recipe from A Spicy Perspective

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2.5 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep a 10 inch bundt pan with grease and flour (I used butter).

Sift together 2 1/4 cups of the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, then stir in 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing until just incorporated.

Toss the strawberries in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter. 

Pour the batter into the bundt pan. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for 60 minutes, or until when a toothpick is inserted it comes out clean. 

Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes on a cooling rack. Turn pan over onto cooling rack and cake should slide out. Once the cake is cool, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over cake.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Faves

These Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins were so tasty and made for easy breakfasts and snacks this week! 

Spiked Seltzer. This stuff is light and refreshing...and really sneaks up on you. Obsessed. (grapefruit is my fave)

My Saturday Happy Hour is going to include this Strawberry Gin Smash

I finally found a great pair of white skinny jeans and bonus points because they are still on promo this weekend! I recommend sizing down at least one or two. 

I love a good milky pink mani and Essie's Romper Room fits the bill! I'll be adding this to my collection. 

JT, I love you. You never let me down. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Kate Ate: Baby's First Food Essentials

I am in total denial that she is even old enough for this, but here we are. Little Kate has entered the world of real food and when she had her first blissful taste of Avocado shortly after she turned 6 months we knew that she was more than ready. She was so excited with each bite and kept pulling the spoon to her mouth! She's tried tons of different vegetables and some fruits already and is doing so well with new flavors and textures. Another little food lover- I'm so proud. 

Pulling out all of my baby food making supplies made me so happy. I love cooking for my family and having little mouths to feed, although challenging at times, is so much fun. Here are some of my favorite baby food making products!

Beaba Babycook Pro- while not necessary, it certainly makes the entire process much easier! I love having one appliance that steams and purees and that is only used for baby food. Cleanup is easy, too. I love this thing!

Oxotot Baby Blocks- the best containers for food storage as well as taking on the go. They are freezer and microwave safe and also stack neatly in trays for tidy storage in the fridge or freezer.

Beaba Silicone Multiportions Container- These trays are my favorite for freezing purees. Each section holds a 2oz. portion and pops out easily when you are ready to use. I also use these to freeze my marinara sauce for pizza! I pop two out which is enough to cover a pizza and dip pizza knots in!

Beaba Silicone Spoons- the best baby spoons!

Cooking for Baby- This book is great! It was my go to for Will. The recipes are organized by baby age making it easy to work through and experiment with different flavors and food combinations.

Little Foodie- My newest discovery this time around. I'm loving this book and the Baby Foode blog is one of my favorites right now! 

Additionally, these mesh feeders are great for frozen fruits and veggies for teething babies. Bumkins bibs are easy to wipe down and throw in the wash. 

I'm looking forward to many more first food adventures with this little princess!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Kate: 7 Months Old!

SEVEN MONTHS! It doesn't even seem possible. Something about being more than halfway through the first year always seems bittersweet and even more so this second time around. 

I always heard that time flies at a much faster pace with the second baby and it's so very true. I'm trying to soak up all of the moments as much as possible because. 

We don't go back to the pediatrician until July for a 9 month checkup, but when I hopped on the scale with Kate, it seems that she's weighing in at right over 14 pounds. Still petite but just perfect! She's still wearing size 1 diapers and mostly 3-6 month clothes. She is taking 2-3 naps a day and is sleeping through the night most of the time. Some nights she wakes up 2-3 hours after going to bed, which is always right around the time we are ready for sleep ourselves. 

Seven months is a magical age. I felt the same way with Will, too. I don't know what happens but it just seems like the days run smoother, sleep is more consistent and I just feel more confident! 

The big milestone for Miss Kate this month is entering the big world of FOOD! She loves it, which is no surprise to us. She was more than ready and has honestly loved everything that we've given her. Her first food was avocado, just like her brother! She's since had zucchini, apples, green beans, mango, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. I've been doing a new food every 2-3 days so that I can watch for any reactions and see how she does with them. Cauliflower seemed to be a little harsh on her stomach so we are holding off on that for now, even though she loved it. I'm in the kitchen all the time, so it's easy for me to make all of her baby food- and I love doing it. I steam, then puree and sometimes add a little olive oil and pinch of sea salt, depending on the food. 

Just in the past week or so, Kate has been propping up on her hands when she plays. The sign of a growing girl ready to move! Her little face is always so proud when she does it. She isn't quite sitting up on her own yet, but we know that she is very close! 

She's making new noises every day and the way she communicates with us is the cutest. She has started waiting for us to mimic her noises and smiles so big when we do. 

Kate went for her first official ride in the BOB this month and she LOVED it. She took a nice snooze and seemed to enjoy the new view. That stroller is such a featherweight with a tiny baby in it compared to an almost 3 year old toddler! I can't wait to start squeezing in some runs.

We celebrated Mark's birthday on May 5th and had a party the following weekend with close family and friends. We love birthdays in this house! 

This little girls LOVES to kick. She was crazy in my belly and I think it's so funny to watch her on the outside move just how she did on the inside. She kicks so hard when she's excited and makes the funniest sounds and faces. She still loves her baths and doesn't even mind the water over her head. Will loves to help with bathtime and especially loves to help wash her hair, which he lovingly calls "her fur". That kid is hilarious. 

EVERYTHING is in the mouth these days and I'm feeling the urge to already baby proof the house (again). Month 7 also brought Kate's two bottom teeth! One popping up first and the second one right behind it. They didn't seem to bother her too much and those two little bottom teeth are the cutest. 

We can't forget the official song of Summer that plays during our nightly dance parties before bath time. She just loves Justin Timberlake and lights up when I play his new song. A sweet little girl after my own heart. 

We love you so much, baby girl! Happy 7 months, Princess Kate! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Greek Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are a weeknight dinner staple around here. I love throwing in different flavors and they make for delicious lunch leftovers. Bonus points because Will almost always eats them. These Greek Turkey Meatballs are so fresh and light for Summer. The lemon zest is an incredible addition to the meatballs and makes all the difference I think! Thanks to my friend Faith for passing along this yummy recipe! 

I prepped the chopped ingredients during naptime and just mixed the meat in and popped them in the oven, making for a dinner that was ready in 30 minutes. I served these on top of my favorite salad (arugula, romaine, green onions, feta and kalamatas with roasted lemon vinaigrette) and it was bright and delicious! Minus the small amount of crumbled feta in our salad, this meal was entirely Paleo and Whole 30 friendly. 

If I wasn't Italian, I would want to be Greek. 

Greek Turkey Meatballs
recipe adapted from Primally Inspired

1 lb. lean ground turkey breast
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Form meatball mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls. Line up  on prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until meatballs are firm and cooked through.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Chicken Gyro Bowls

I'm a huge fan of dinner bowls right now. It's so easy to find whatever fresh veggies I have on hand, throw some chicken or fish on the grill/grill pan, and come up with a pretty presentation in a bowl. They have become a new go to on weeknights and so easy to recreate for quick lunches as well. In this month's issue of Cooking Light, there is an entire section devoted to "the bowl", and the elements that make them up. Their "Bowl Building Blueprint" is exceptional- it's a great guide and source for inspiration if you are in need of some. 

These Chicken Gyro bowls were perfect. As the weather warms up, we love lighter meals and this was delightful. I used a baby arugula blend as the green base and layered tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, chick peas and Kalamata olives. I made a quick tzatziki to go on the side which was perfect as a chicken dipper!

Chicken Gyro Bowls
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

2 cups quinoa, cooked
2 Tbsp. olive oil. divided
1 cup baby arugula
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
A few slices of red onion
handful Kalamata olives, thinly sliced

Quick Tzatziki
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
splash of red wine vinegar
salt to taste

Cook quinoa according to instructions on package.

Combine dry spices in a bowl. Rub all over chicken tenders. Grill on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side, or until done. 

Layer up all of the goodness in a bowl. Top with a dollop of Tzatziki.