Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rainy Day Cake

Today I'm sharing a chocolate cake! Not just any cake though. A cake with lavender honey tea in it. It's simple, but delicious and perfect for this rainy, gray, cold weather we've been having. 

Have you been having uncharacteristically cold weather where you live this spring? We certainly have! However, even though it's been rainy and cool, the light has been so beautiful lately! I love the way these gray days make the green of the trees look extra pretty. 

Anyway, back to CAKE. This cake in particular turned out much better than I expected. It's dense, moist (sorry about that word), and very chocolatey but the addition of tea pushes this cake over the edge. It's got a simple but extra special flavor. So, so good!

The original recipe for this cake (found on Shutterbean) calls for the addition of Earl Grey tea. I've made this cake multiple times with Earl Grey and it's perfection. However, on this particular day, I didn't have enough Earl Grey so I used Lavender Honey tea and found it to be a perfect addition as well. This recipe is so simple that you could easily sub out different teas depending on your specific tastes. Don't be afraid to experiment! 

Rainy Day Cake

adapted from Shutterbean

8 Honey Lavender Tea Bags (I used these)
1 cup boiling water
1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 cup egg whites
2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (not Greek)

For Topping
Powdered sugar
Freshly Whipped Cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray, set aside. 

In a large glass measuring cup steep tea bags in water for 5 - 7 minutes. Once steeped, remove tea bags. Set brewed tea aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, egg whites, and sugar until fluffy. Blend in melted, cooled chocolate. 

Add in flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and yogurt. Slowly pour brewed tea into the cake batter mixture on low speed until incorporated. 

Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.

Let cake completely cool before removing from pan and sprinkling with powdered sugar. 

I hope you enjoy this cake along with conversation with family and friends!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I have a confession. My resolution for 2016 was to get more comfortable with my body. I'm not so happy with how clothes are fitting and the amount of energy that I do not have. I did so well all of January, and then our first snow storm of the season hit dumping over 2 feet of snow on the ground. It seriously derailed all of my best laid plans. I went from meal planning every week to eating butter, chocolate, and carbs. SOMEONE HELP ME! 

This is mainly a public declaration to help me be more accountable, and as my invisible internet friends, you're all responsible for helping me stay on track. Ha! Just kidding. But seriously, the direction of this blog may take a turn as I attempt to keep myself on track by feeding myself real food and incorporating more exercise in my daily routine. Maybe I'll get my act together and start blogging about my weekly goals? Maybe I'll post more "real food" recipes? Maybe I'll do both? My main goal is to keep blogging, keep taking photos, and keep making this space my own. I hope you all stick around. 

I've made my meal plan for next week and I just ordered one of the new Fitbit Altas. I'm super excited that it has a feature that will remind me to move because I love to be all cozy on the couch with a book and nap after work, and that's probably not such a healthy habit. I'm also part of the Tone It Up community, and it's been a fantastic motivator for me. 

So, a few changes may show up in this space as I try to make some healthy changes in my own life, but today I have a cozy meal for you. Broccoli cheddar soup to be exact. It's what I made during the blizzard earlier this year where I was stuck in my house for an entire weekend. I hope you enjoy! 

This is honestly one of my favorite comfort meals, and I crave it once the weather turns colder. It's hearty, warms up nicely, and can be paired with little ham and cheese sliders brushed with savory herbed butter. Yes. Do that. 

This soup has everything you want in a comfort meal: cheese, butter, half and half, and more cheese. Oh, and it's easy, too. And really creamy. Are you sold yet? 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

recipe from Simply Scratch 

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 cup pre-cut matchstick carrots
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets 
8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (please grate your really makes this soup phenomenal) 
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium pot melt 2 tablespoons butter and add in onion and carrots. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are fragrant and tender. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in broccoli florets and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove broccoli and place in a large bowl of ice water. Let broccoli rest until adding to the soup. 

Next, add in the remaining 1/4 cup of butter and allow to melt. Sprinkle flour over butter and stir constantly until cooked. Slowly add in the broth and half and half. Stir until combined. 

Drain and add broccoli to the soup cooking uncovered on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until soup is thick and broccoli is tender. Do not let soup boil. Using an immersion blender, pulse broccoli florets until smooth, or until desired consistency is reached. 

Add in half of the cheese and stir until combined and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.