Coconut Cake With Blackberry-Honey Syrup

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It is safe to say that I have caught the spring bug, and I love it! Sun-filled afternoons, soft rains and … wait for it … I was even able to open a few windows this week to let in the fresh air!

I tend to brush off the “official” day of spring because it is feeling so much like spring already! I am eagerly awaiting the first blossoms, buds and honey bees, and I suddenly have a great desire to clean everything in the house using all-natural, lemon-scented cleaning products!

This enthusiasm has carried over into the kitchen — culminating in a recipe I came up with for coconut cake with blackberry-honey syrup. I pictured this cake in the midst of a sunny spring picnic or family gathering. I could almost hear the robins tweeting in the background, and I am so excited to share it with you! I only wish we could gather to enjoy it together!

Coconut Cake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

3/4 cup raw cane sugar

3/4 cup coconut sugar

4 large egg whites

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup coconut flakes

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-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, combine butter, coconut oil and sugars. Add egg whites and vanilla and mix on medium for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.

-Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the almond milk, until batter is smooth.

Pour into a buttered/floured 13×9 cake pan and bake for approximately 27-29 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center.

-While cake is cooling, prepare frosting and blackberry-honey syrup.

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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

3 Tablespoons palm fruit shortening, softened

2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, combine butter and shortening until creamy. Add vanilla. Alternate powdered sugar with almond milk until creamy.

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Blackberry-Honey Syrup

4 cups blackberries, frozen

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 cup raw honey

-In a medium-size saucepan, combine all ingredients on low-medium heat and stir. As blackberries begin to soften, increase heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until syrup begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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-When cake has cooled, frost and sprinkle with the flaked coconut.

-Before serving, drizzle individual servings with the blackberry-honey syrup and sprinkle with additional coconut flakes.

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I hope you will enjoy! Here’s to a lovely spring!

My Favorite Danish Meat Balls

After posting my Danish Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad the other day, I immediately knew the next recipe I wanted to share with you!

One of my family’s favorite dishes to pair with potatoes has to be Danish Meat Balls!

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Growing up, these meat balls were different than others — so extremely moist, tender and flavorful! When I was old enough to cook, this is one of the first dinner recipes I wanted to learn! They are one of my very favorites, and to my delight, my husband and daughters love them as well!

When I make them, my kitchen immediately smells like my grandparent’s or parent’s kitchen, and this makes me smile!

My Favorite Danish Meat Balls

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

l pound ground beef

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 pieces of dry bread, processed into fine crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

flour

extra-virgin olive oil

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-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients by hand or large spoon until well incorporated. I like to use a food processor to finely chop the onion and turn the bread into fine crumbs.

-In a small bowl, add approximately 2/3-3/4 cup flour to dip the meat balls.

-In a large pan or on a griddle, coat with olive oil and heat to medium-high.

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-Form into round meat balls or flat patties (about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger), and roll into the flour. The meat mixture will be extremely moist, so the flour is a tip from my Great-Uncle Rudger to help hold everything together! 😉

-Cook meat balls completely through until there is no pink left in the middle. I usually check one or two before I put all of them onto a plate. As you continue cooking, add more olive oil as needed to prevent sticking.

I highly recommend trying this wonderful dish with the potato salad recipe — they pair extremely well together and for me, always taste like “home sweet home”!

I hope you will enjoy!

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Danish Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad

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This week I noticed something lovely — as I walked outside, I didn’t need a winter jacket! Not only that, I felt fine in a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt! Our temperatures have climbed into the 40 degree range, even inching into the 50’s, and it feels wonderful!

Ahh! Spring really is on it’s way! The chickens are overjoyed to see grass and sunbathe in sunshine, the bunnies are hopping for joy and Marcie has once again began venturing outdoors!

Of course, Jonathan, the girls and I are pretty excited, too! I’ve found myself beginning to daydream of spring/summer picnics and barbecues — which in turn got me daydreaming about a delicious family recipe — Danish Warm Potato Salad or as Grandma would call it, Varm Kartoffle Salat.

The official first day of spring isn’t until March 20th, but I simply couldn’t wait that long to share this with you! Warm, creamy and so delicious — this recipe is sure to inspire you of spring/summer gatherings as well!

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Danish Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

16 small red potatoes

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/3-1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. dill, or to taste

5 Tablespoons sour cream

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-Rinse potatoes well and cut into cubes. In a medium-size saucepan, cover potatoes with water, add a pinch of salt and boil for approximately 15 minutes or until tender.

-While potatoes are cooking, finely chop (by hand or in a food processor) 1/3 to 1/2 of a red onion. Saute onion in the olive oil until onion becomes soft — mix in salt and sugar.
-When potatoes have finished cooking, drain in a colander and pour back into the saucepan. Mix in onion mixture, dill and sour cream.
-Serve warm and enjoy!

Serves approximately 4-6 people

Meet Marcie – Part Two

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Slowly but surely, our remodel started taking shape, and we were able to make the move into our first house. The long hours finally paid off, and Marcie was always there to greet us, keep us company while we worked and put a smile on my face.

Time went by, and a little over three years later, we were over the moon with joy to welcome our first daughter! Marcie loved sitting next to Aviah in her stroller, curling up on the couch by her and watching her as we sat out in the yard and played.

I often took Aviah for walks in her stroller — we loved going for walks together, and as the post office was only one block away, we could easily walk there two or three times during the week. Marcie always wanted to go with us, but I was apprehensive of her crossing the street. If I didn’t take her back home, she somehow knew how to hide and swiftly catch up to us.

One beautiful, sunny afternoon while waiting in line at the post office, I could hear soft meows and as the door would open, the meows became louder and more urgent. Marcie seemed to be calling us, and as I turned my head around and smiled, customers would inquire if that was my cat. Why yes it is! When we returned outdoors, Marcie had a mixed expression of relief to see us and pure delight at all the attention she was receiving from most everyone who passed by her.

Time went by and again, we were over the moon with joy to welcome our second daughter. Marcie has always loved the girls, and her desire to join us on family walks continued as we made our move to the country. With the exception of cold winter days, if the girls are headed outdoors to play, Marcie will watch them from the window, then head straight to the door to go out with them.

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Although I wondered how Marcie would react to seven chickens and numerous rabbits joining the family, I had the feeling she would do fine. She has always had a very calm, loving disposition and only seems irritated if another cat roams through the yard. She would watch the young chicks in their brooder like a mother hen, and enjoys the company of a bunny as long as the he/she doesn’t become too rambunctious. In the photo below, Marcie reached her paw out to Cashmere, and the two of them sat contentedly for over an hour.

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In two months, our sweet little Marcie will be turning 15 years old. We’re overjoyed that she is still extremely healthy at her age and enjoying country life with us. These days she moves around a little slower, and it takes some time for her to climb up in her favorite apple tree, but she can still be as playful as the little kitten we once found so long ago.

Meet Marcie – Part One

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It has dawned on me that I’ve introduced you to our chickens and rabbits, but haven’t properly introduced you to our sweet tabby cat, Marcie.

You simply must meet Marcie — she is part of the family and a true friend who has been by our sides for nearly fifteen years! I know I’m partial, but she is seriously one of the sweetest cats I have ever known, and she came to us as such a sweet blessing during a particularly stressful time.

Many years ago,  Jonathan and I purchased our first home — a 100-year-old historical house in the center of town. We were in our “new home owner bliss” phase — how wonderful and exciting it will be to work on our home! It certainly was, however, it was also much more than we had prepared for!

A few minor repairs and touch-ups such as coats of paint, tearing out the old carpeting to restore the original hardwood flooring, (how hard could that possibly be under seven or eight very old layers of carpet and linoleum?), new curtains, some updated light fixtures and of course a charming new doorbell, and it would be as good as new! *sigh*

Reality set in quickly. Probably within the week? The whole house experience could be a book all by itself. I could make a very long list of all that needed to be done before we could actually live there (namely a bare-wire electrical system and no insulation), but I don’t want to come across as complaining. It was definitely a learning experience, and after an arduous amount of hard work, we had a lovely little home. Jonathan and I spent most (all) of our free time working on the house, and because we did not have a large budget, Jonathan and my Dad did all of the major repairs.

So what does Marcie have to do with all of this?

On one particular day, I was with Jonathan at the house feeling slightly overwhelmed. Did I say slightly? That was a typo. It should read extremely. Feeling emotionally drained, I sat down in the living room on a small chair.

I began to hear the faintest sounds and almost immediately knew I was hearing a kitten! But where? I called for Jonathan, and we realized the soft little me-ews were coming from under the house. We went outside, and Jonathan heroically crawled under the house to rescue the teeny, tiny tabby. Jonathan had a flashlight with him, and as he crawled towards Marcie, he often recalls how she crawled towards the light.

We are quite sure she was the runt of the litter, and being so little, she needed to be bottle-fed often. But now with our frequent visits to the house, we had a new member of the family to greet us, cheer us and start making our house feel like a home.

… to be continued!

 

 

 

Blackberry-Honey Smoothie

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As I’ve mentioned before, I love smoothies! They’re incredibly versatile — perfect for breakfast, a snack or a refreshing pick-me-up. This smoothie is smooth and delicious — reminiscent of summer with a slice of homemade blackberry pie or ice-cream. The added benefit is that blackberries are highly nutritious and an excellent source of fiber.

Blackberry-Honey Smoothie

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1/3 cup ice

2/3 cup frozen blackberries

1/3 cup raw oats

2 Tablespoons raw honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender until well-incorporated and smooth.

Garnish with additional blackberries, if desired.

Note: If you prefer your smoothie to be seedless, pour beverage through a mesh strainer before serving.

Enjoy!

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Quote of the Day ~ Number Three

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Again, I’m not sure where this delightful quote originated, but it is another one that makes me smile!

I would like to dedicate this quote to Sadie from Sadie’s Nest for bringing joy to all of us through her kindness and friendship! If you haven’t yet visited her delightful blog, I highly recommend that you stop by for a visit!

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance     ~ Proverbs 15:13

Rules for the challenge:

Thank the blogger that nominated you.
Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anywhere, anyone, or anything.
On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on with the fun! No pressure; nominees are free to decline.

My third Three-Day Quote Challenges are to the following:

Jasmine at The Richmond Avenue

Tammy at Mrs. Twinkle – My Wonderful Little World

Katie at Quirky and Wonderful

 

A Chocolate Dream Cupcake Recipe

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This cupcake couldn’t have come at a better time!

Last week we had the “official” celebration of National Chocolate Cake Day, although I must say, I can easily celebrate chocolate cake throughout the year!

Then while participating in the Three-Day Quote Challenge, there was this lovely gem that I’m particularly fond of …

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To make it even better, our family actually celebrates numerous birthdays in February … and then, of course, there’s Valentine’s Day!

This cupcake/cake recipe is perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day … any day! It’s moist, light and rich in chocolate flavor. And then there’s the frosting — so creamy, so chocolatey and, quite literally, the icing (frosting) on the cake!

For Cupcakes or Cake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

Adapted from Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Recipes

2 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder (dark chocolate is preferable)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

3/4 cup raw cane sugar

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1/3 cup chocolate almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter, coconut oil and sugars until light and fluffy.

-Add vanilla and eggs and mix until well blended.

-Alternate flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder with the almond milks on low speed until batter is well-blended and smooth. Do not over-mix.

-Fill cupcake liners/cases approximately 2/3 full and bake for 17-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center clean.

*For cake, spread into a greased 13×9 cake pan and bake for 26-27 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center areas comes out clean.

For the Chocolate Frosting

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

3 Tablespoons palm fruit oil, softened

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup vanilla or chocolate almond milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and palm fruit oil on medium speed.

-Alternate powdered sugar/cocoa powder with almond milk/vanilla until frosting is smooth and creamy.

-Frost when cupcakes/cake has cooled.

Truly a chocolate dream!

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Quote of the Day ~ Number Two

I’m not sure where this quote originated, but it always makes me smile! And it’s true — there is always a birthday to celebrate!

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Thanks again to my sweet friend, Sadie, at Sadie’s Nest for nominating me for this fun quote challenge!

Rules for the challenge:

Thank the blogger that nominated you.
Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anywhere, anyone, or anything.
On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on with the fun! No pressure; nominees are free to decline.

My second Three-Day Quote Challenges are to the following:

Elenore at The Sweet Edge

Gail at Snapshot in Cursive

Natascha at Natascha’s Place