Happy (early) Mother's Day
It's Wednesday. It's Cinco De Mayo and it's four days before Mother's Day so, what better time to post my Mother's Day dessert recipe? #mytimingisimpeccable 😂 Seriously though, I'm worried that since we have a lot going on this weekend, the special day would come and go without giving the moms in my life their proper recognition. I love you mom!!! ❤️
Full disclosure: I will NOT be making this beautiful cake for Mother's Day. 🎂 My youngest child is graduating from college and we're hosting a little graduation celebration for her on Sunday. I fully anticipate that my time will be consumed by party preparations and I won't have the time to make a special Mother's Day dessert but never fear - I ordered a special cake from a very talented friend. 🤫 Hopefully my mom will feel honored and celebrated despite the chaos of the day.
This beautiful cake masterpiece was actually a birthday cake for my dad. Once again - my timing is on point. 😂 And even though I will not be making this 6 layer dessert creation this weekend - I feel like there are followers out there who are looking for a handcrafted dessert to make for mom this weekend. Moms love homemade gifts from their kids and I have a feeling that she will love this cake even more than a handprint turkey or a cheerio necklace. 🖐🏻😅
Now is the perfect time to start planning for your Mother's Day cake. 🍰 That was totally my plan when I posted this recipe 4 days early. 😅Anywho, now you have extra time to gather up your ingredients, find your cake pans and carve out time in your schedule to make this cake. Just a tip: You'll want to start this cake on Saturday if you want to gift it to your mom on Sunday.
Italian Cassata Cake
For the Filling
30 ounces ricotta (whole-milk)
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 lemons (zested)
For the Cake
2 white cake layers
1/2 cup rum
2 tablespoons water
For the Frosting
2 cups coconut whipped cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon rum
Frost sides and top of the cake with coconut cream frosting.
Decorate with strawberry halves.
Maybe I'm feeling extra sensitive about my age right now because I'm approaching a milestone birthday, but I feel like it's been the focus of conversation all weekend. On Sunday, I was informed by an adorably, innocent six year old that I look "waaaaaay older" than my 22 year old daughter. I mean - I don't want to look like I'm in my twenties but the way he drew out and emphasized the "waaaaaaay" was a little too much. 😅
So much for my plan to deny the fact that my half century birthday is right around the corner. 😂 At this point, I might as well embrace it, right? Part of that is accepting the fact that, the older I get, the healthier I need to eat. More plants, vegetables and lean protein.
This simple dish with shrimp, orzo, tomatoes, zucchini and fresh mint seems like the perfect way for me to kick off this new decade of life. 🍅🥒🍤 I'm not sure if I'd define this as a stew or a pasta bowl but it's loaded with vegetables and it's delicious. 💁🏻♀️Oh, and before you start thinking this is food for "old" people, this recipe has been taste tested and approved by family members in waaaaaaay younger age groups than myself. 😅
Shrimp with Orzo and Zucchini
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound extra large shrimp
3 celery stalks
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup orzo
2 zucchini, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.
Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with fresh mint. It probably would have been more appropriate for me to wait until mid summer when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes, zucchini and fresh herbs to make this dish but, I couldn't wait. I'll just have to make it again in a couple of months. 🤷🏻♀️
For those of you following along on my kitchen remodel roller coaster - I'm here to update you. 🎢For those of you who stop by the blog just to get new recipes and could care less about my kitchen drama - skip down to the recipe. #itwonthurtmyfeelings 😅
This week we got our first look at our new kitchen design. We're working with an amazing designer who was able to take all of my crazy ideas and put them together into a workable and realistic plan. She worked her magic and sketched my dream kitchen that included everything I ever wanted in a kitchen and some things I never even knew were possible. 😂 I was flying high until I saw the price tag that was attached to my kitchen. 😢 Turns out - my dream kitchen comes with a really big price tag . 💵 wha waaaaaaaaah
After I got over the sticker shock, (and picked myself up off of the floor) I revisited my kitchen plan and made some adjustments to the original design. We also had a meeting with both our designer and our contractor that lasted nearly 3 hours and in the end, I think that we came up with a plan that's more within our budget and still significantly improves our current space. I may not have gotten EVERYTHING that I wanted in the new kitchen but I'm happy with the compromises that had to be made.
My head was absolutely spinning by the end of our marathon kitchen planning session. 😶So many decisions to be made in such a short amount of time. (No one ever said designing a kitchen would be easy.) 😅 Chocolate is a non-negotioable on kitchen planning days. 🍫Turns out - a chocolate chip muffin takes the sting out of having to give up cabinet space to fit in duct work. 💁🏻♀️
Chocolate Chip Muffins
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Make your muffins jumbo...
or make them mini.
Chocolate chip muffins should be a staple on every weekend breakfast menu. Bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles - chocolate chip muffins. 🍽 Sweet vanilla muffins studded with dark chocolate chips and sprinkled with sanding sugar is just about the most perfect way to start (or end) my day.
I'm crazy about this horse and I'm fairly certain that he shares my affection because Mitus trots to the fence to greet me whenever he sees me. 🧡 I'm choosing to believe that it has nothing to do with the fact that I bring him snacks. 😅 My visits have become so frequent in fact that I've even started to buy those ridiculously giant bags of carrots from the grocery store so that I can keep a hearty supply of Mitus' favorite snack on hand. 🥕
Last week, I decided to switch things up and I brought Mitus an apple instead of his usual carrot. 🍎 I've never been a horse owner but I've always assumed that horses love apples and I thought Mitus might appreciate some variety in his treats. 🤷🏻♀️ Well, apparently not ALL horses love apples. When I offered Mitus the shiny fruit, he apprehensively took it from my hand, rolled it around his mouth for a solid minute and then proceeded to spit it out on the ground - without even a single tooth mark. 😳I stared at the unblemished piece of fruit on the ground in disbelief, while this 2000 pound horse went back to munching on pasture grass. #isthisnormal?
Maybe I need to take my dinner cue from Mitus. More and vegetables and plants and less fruit. 😅🥗 I'm not really into eating grass but I would certainly benefit from incorporating more lettuce and veggies into my diet. Lucky for me, I've got a garden full of lettuce and fresh herbs, just waiting for me to enjoy. Nothing encourages me to eat more lettuce than when I can go out and pick it from my own garden.
Farro salad with lemon chicken is great as a grain bowl and equally delicious when you serve it over mixed greens as a more traditional salad. Either way you serve it, this is a great salad to add to your spring menu. It's got all the elements of a great, healthy meal that's just as satisfying as it is delicious. 🥒
Farro Salad with Lemon Chicken
1 1/2 cups farro
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup pepperocini
1 Tablespoon pepperocini brine
1/2 English cucumber, sliced thin
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
Serve chicken over farro salad, drizzling with reserved dressing.
In case you were wondering what happened to the discarded apple - it didn't go to waste. This hungry fella was more than happy to gobble it up.🍎 This donkey eats anything - except beets. 😂
I can hardly wait to use this beautiful new appliance. This weekend, I had everything from biscotti, doughnuts and muffins to eggs, cupcakes and sticky buns, waiting for their moment in the sun - aka. my poor overworked oven. 🍩 All I could think about when I looked at the endless trays of unbaked food wrapped around my kitchen, was how great it will be when I can get may baking done, twice as fast. ♨️ No more 5:00 AM wake up calls to start baking when I'm firing up TWO ovens to get the job done. 😉
Biscotti days are notoriously long baking days in this house. The double baked, dunkable cookies are one of our favorites and I always keep a hearty supply in my freezer, so when I bake biscotti - I bake A LOT. It usually takes me between 6 and 7 hours to get all of the crunchy cookies baked, so it's a workout day for my oven. But having biscotti that I can pull out of my freezer anytime I want - totally worth it.
These white chocolate dipped cinnamon chip biscotti (that's a tongue twister😅) are amazing. They're a perfect compliment to a cup of tea and I can control the crunchiness by adjusting the cooking time. I bake it a little longer when I want super crunchy cookies or a little less when I'm in the mood for softer biscotti.
Cinnamon Chip Biscotti
6 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups flour
3/4 cups cinnamon chips
1 Tablespoon cinnamon sugar
2 Tablespoons crystal decorating sugar
2 cups white chocolate, melted
Return biscotti to baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Let cool.
Dip each biscotti into chocolate and set on waxed paper to set.
Is there any better time to photograph cinnamon chip biscotti than at sunset? That golden lighting really just highlighted the warm flavors in this biscotti. These aren't going to last long in this house. 😂
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