Monthly Archives: June 2014

Coconut-Lovers Cake

Because my mom is a strong coconut lover, I wanted to make her a coconut cake for her birthday. I knew I wanted each bite to be a taste-bud-explosion of coconut. I searched online for a recipe and finally found one for the cake. I decided to go on a whim and not use a recipe for the filling–which turned out to be a delicious decision. For the topping I whipped up heavy cream and added shredded coconut to it.

Coconut Cake 1

The recipe for the cake called for coconut milk. Now, my mom and I may be coconut lovers, but I have to admit coconut milk is not a regular item in our fridge. Not wanting to substitute it, I looked up a recipe on how to make it. Surprisingly, not only is it easy to make, you don’t use milk to make it: the only ingredients are water and shredded coconut. Strange that coconut milk can be made without milk, hu? But don’t worry, it tastes delicious!

Coconut Cake 3

To make the cake, combine the coconut milk, buttermilk, and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract) in a small bowl. Set aside.

Coconut Cake 13

Using a mixer, beat the butter until creamy; add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Next add in the eggs, mixing well after each addition.

Coconut Cake 4

Add in the flour mixture (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) alternatively with the milk mixture. Coconut Cake 5

Pour the batter into a prepared baking pan (9-inch diameter)

Coconut Cake 6

Bake until golden brown (about 40 minutes)…

Coconut Cake 7 …and when completely cooled split horizontally in half.

Coconut Cake 8 Then plop the vanilla-pudding-mixed-with-coconut on one of the layers…

Coconut Cake 9

…and evenly spread it all over the layer. Top with the second cake layer, put it in the fridge, and ignore it for the moment.

Coconut Cake 10

Combine the whipped cream (I used heavy  whipping cream but any whipped cream will work) and shredded coconut . Then take your cake out of the fridge, apologize to it for ignoring it…

Coconut Cake 11 …and with about a third of the whipped cream give the cake a crumb coat (a thin layer of frosting).

Coconut Cake 12

After refrigerating the cake for a while, frost it with the rest of the whipped cream.  Refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving.

Coconut Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 16 slices

Coconut Cake


    For the Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour (sift 3-4 times)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk *_see note below_
  • 1 bag of vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 6 tbsp butter,softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • For the Filling:
  • 2-3 cups vanilla pudding
  • 1-3 cups shredded coconut
  • For the Topping:
  • 2-3 cups whipped cream
  • 1-3 cups shredded coconut


    For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a round cake pan (9-by-2 inches)
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, coconut milk, and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract).
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  4. At low speed beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches; between each batch add half of the buttermilk mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the surface. Bake until the cake is golden (about 40 minutes). Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a plate or cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, cut the cake horizontally into two layers.
  6. For the filling:
  7. Prepare the vanilla pudding according to the manufacturer's instructions, leaving out about 1/4 cup of the liquid needed. Once the pudding is cooled, mix in the shredded coconut.
  8. For the topping:
  9. Combine the shredded coconut with the whipped cream and refrigerate until use.
  10. Assembly:
  11. Place one of the cake layers (cut-side up) on the serving dish. Spread with the filling and place the other cake layer (cut-side up) on top. Refrigerate for at least ten minutes. Then, using about a third of the topping, frost the top and sides of the cake for a crumb coat. Refrigerate again for at least 20 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. Afterwards frost with the rest of the topping and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


Recipe for cake adapted from Food&Wine

*I used the recipe for the coconut milk linked to above; however, I did not strain the mixture like the recipe called for. If you prefer not to have shredded coconut in the cake, then strain the mixture like the recipe calls for

Sesame Peanut Noodles

Sesame Peanut Noodles 5
I’m not really  a peanut butter fan; I never quite understood the pb&j craze many people have (my older sister included). I love peanuts, just not peanut butter. It may sound crazy, but that’s just the way things are.

Sesame Peanut Noodles 7

Anyways, I was browsing Creme De La Crumb when I came upon a recipe entitled “Sesame Peanut Noodles.” The picture looked enticing and it wasn’t until I read over the ingredient list that I began having second thoughts over the recipe. Peanuts were not in the ingredient list–but peanut butter was. Pushing away pre-misconceptions I decided to try it away because I couldn’t get the recipe title out of my mind. Sesame Peanut Noodles. It just sounded inviting—for some strange reason unknown to mankind.

Sesame Peanut Noodles 1

This recipe makes for a super-quick dinner. The peanut sauce is quick to whip up: just peanut butter, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. The last two ingredients may seem a little ‘exotic’ but they add a lot to the flavor. I recommend using them instead of substituting for regular oil and vinegar.

Sesame Peanut Noodles 4 Then you thinly slice the green onions and carrots. Add the peanut sauce and veggies to the cooked noodles; stir well and serve warm, cold, hot, at room temperature, or any other temperature (if there is any other).

Sesame Peanut Noodles

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Sesame Peanut Noodles


  • 12 oz linguine or fettuccine noodles
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil*
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar*
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • peanuts (optional)


  1. Cook the noodles al dente according to the package instructions.Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the peanut butter, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Add the sauce to the noodles and mix to combine. Then add in the carrots and green onions and mix together. Garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts (optional) and serve at any temperature.


Recipe adapted from Creme De La Crumb

*Regular oil and vinegar can be substituted for sesame oil and rice vinegar

Banana Bread

Banana Bread 4 Mind-blowing fact: most monkeys never eat a banana in their lifetime. The moment I read that fact at the gorilla exhibit in the zoo, I felt betrayed by Disney (The Jungle Book, anyone?) and the media as a whole. How—how could it be true? It may feel like your whole world is falling apart, you may not know who to trust anymore, but don’t despair (take a deep breathe; it’s gonna be alright).

Banana Bread 2

Now, as you’re breathing deeply, here is a recipe made with—bananas. Before the thoughts of anguish overcome you over that word, here are the highlights of this recipe: only 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar are used. Talk about a guilt-free recipe!

Banana Bread 3

Another highlight, for me at least, is the cinnamon. Sure, you can buy powdered cinnamon. Or you can whip out some cinnamon sticks and your grater and grate your own cinnamon. Either way is fine; it’s just that one of the ways makes you feel more in charge of your cinnamon, if that even matters for you.

Banana Bread 5


Banana Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 16 slices

Banana Bread


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • raisins (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the egg and mashed bananas; mix well. Then add the flour, baking soda, and raisins (optional). Beat until well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into an oiled and floured bundt pan (diameter--about 10inches). Bake for 30minutes (until top has browned).

Strawberry Cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler 5 The bowl of strawberries had been sitting on the counter for days. It wasn’t until some of the strawberries had gotten over-ripe that I made the decision. I was not going to let those strawberries go to waste.

Being the lazy time-efficient person that I am, I decided that whatever I was going to make with the strawberries had to be fast and easy. Fast so I could eat it soon and easy so I could eat it soon be time-efficient. Strawberry cobbler was that recipe.

Strawberry Cobbler 1

There are only a few ingredients in the crumb layer: flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, honey, and butter. Once combined, press half of the mixture onto the bottom of the baking pan (I used an oval-shaped pan this time, but I’ve made it in a 9×11 pan as well with just as delicious results).

Strawberry Cobbler 2

Strawberry Cobbler 4

Then layer on the cut strawberries (the more the merrier). Top with the rest of the crumb mixture and bake until the top is lightly browned (I took the picture above just before baking it).

Strawberry Cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • honey, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2-3 cups strawberries, washed and cut


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, oats, honey, and cinnamon until well blended. Add the butter and, using your hands, mix until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs.Set aside half of the mixture.
  3. Press the other half of the mixture onto the bottom of the baking pan. Evenly spread the strawberries over the crumb mixture; sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture on top of the strawberries and bake until the top is lightly browned (40-50minutes). Enjoy hot, warm, or cold; with ice-cream, milk, or by itself!

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad 1

Whenever my family and I go to Panera Bread I get one of two foods: either the Mediterranean Sandwich or the Chicken Caesar Salad. Both are a treat for the taste-buds. For dinner last night I indulged my taste-buds and made a chicken caesar salad. And the recipe is way to good for me to keep to myself!

Chicken Caesar Salad 3

Like any Caesar salad, this one includes croutons. You can buy them or make them like I did. If you want to make them, no worries; they are super-simple to make. All you need is bread and olive oil: tear the bread up, sprinkle with olive oil, bake for about 10 minutes, and you’re all done!

Chicken Caesar Salad 2

This salad is, in my dad’s words, “perfect for summer!” I whole-heartedly agree and you will too once you try it!

Chicken Caesar Salad

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Chicken Caesar Salad


  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 4 thick slices crusty bread
  • 3 skinless,boneless chicken breasts
  • Parmesan cheese, in a block
  • 1 large romaine lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ground pepper
  • 4 tsp olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Tear (or cut) the bread into croutons. Spread the pieces over a pan and sprinkle 2 tbsp of oil over them. Rub the oil into the bread and season with a little salt (optional). Bake for 10 minutes, turning the croutons over a few times during baking so that they brown evenly.
  2. Rub the remaining oil onto the chicken breasts and season with salt. Place in a pan and, over medium heat, cook the chicken (about 20 minutes). Let cool a little before cutting the chicken into bite-sized strips.
  3. Using a peeler shave the desired amount of cheese from the block of Parmesan.
  4. Tear (or cut) the washed lettuce into large pieces.
  5. Cut the washed tomatoes into wedges.
  6. To make the dressing, mince the garlic clove. Mix in the salt, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, cheese, and ground pepper. Slowly add in the oil; mix well. The dressing should have the consistency of yogurt.
  7. To assemble the salad, place half of the lettuce in a serving bowl. Add half of the chicken, tomatoes, croutons, some shredded cheese, and half of the dressing. Then place the rest of the lettuce on top and top with the remaining ingredients and dressing. Mix well and serve.


Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food Chicken Caesar Salad and from Eating Well Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

Basil Tomato and Brie Penne

The smell of fresh basil and the look of red juicy tomatoes always reminds me of summer. And although summer does not officially begin until June 21, the heat of the south has already set in and summer foods are calling my name! (especially those tomatoes and basil!)


A few years ago I tried this pasta at a friend’s house and fell in love with it. I had all but forgotten about it until a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon the recipe stashed in one of my mom’s notebooks-stuffed-with-recipe-cards. In that instance I knew I had to make this pasta–and soon.

Tomatoes and basil have to be my favorite summer combo (expect for maybe tomatoes and avocado). Add deliciously melted brie cheese and I think I have my meal for every day of the summer. This recipe is perfect for all of my fellow tomato-and-basil fanatics!

Tomato Basil and Brie Penne

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


Tomato Basil and Brie Penne


  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 16 oz brie cheese
  • 2.5 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 32 oz of short pasta, cooked and unrinsed


  1. In a large oven-safe dish or pot mix together the garlic, vinegar, oil, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Put the pot in a warm oven oven (heated at around 170F) to marinate the tomatoes for at least 20mintues.
  2. Dice up the cheese and washed leaves. Put them in large serving bowl. Add the hot pasta and mix well. Then pour the marinade and tomatoes over the pasta and mix until fully incorporated. Serve immediately.