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Archive for the category “fruit”

Strawberry Lemon Cake

strawberry lemon cake

Little B turned four and is taking it very seriously! There are a number of things she won’t do now that she is older than three. It is fun and serious to watch her work it all out. A couple of years ago we started a tradition of doing a family out of town trip to a beach for her birthday. We continued it this past weekend by dipping our toes in the Atlantic Ocean. A challenge for these trips is having a sugar free, wheat free cake ready and waiting for her on THE day. Last year we succumbed to a wheaty, chocolaty concoction from a store near the beach. We got a sugar buzz, while also feeling guilty about not following our diet rules. Rules are made to be broken, yes, but with consequences. She pinged and ponged, then crashed. Not fair to a body, but we did it anyway. I solved it this year by making this strawberry lemon cake and waiting to put it together the day of, thanks to a fridge in the hotel room. It traveled well and thankfully I packed a knife for spreading of the frosting and cutting of the pieces.  Worked like a dream and the whole thing was inhaled by us all. We kept to our food rules, had fun, and no sugar/wheat crash. Besides the princess paraphernalia (ugh) and first bicycle (yay), the cake was a favorite. She wanted a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. Instead of repeating the cupcakes we made a while back I decided to try a cake with almond meal. I thought the almond and lemon would go wonderfully with the strawberries. The result had a much different texture compared to the coconut flour concoction we came up with before – good, but in a different way. The cake came out dense, very strawberry, very moist and nice and sweet, just like the birthday girl!

Strawberry Lemon Cake

4 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
4 medium strawberries, cored and chopped
1 tsp vanilla
1 lemon, juiced with meat
1 cup almond flour
½ cup golden flaxseed meal
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 cups granulated erythritol
1/8 tsp pure stevia powder
½ cup small quartered strawberries

1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated erythritol
1/2 cup pureed strawberries

In medium pan over medium heat melt the butter. Continue cooking it until the butter is brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender add eggs, cored and chopped strawberries, vanilla and lemon juice with meat. Blend until combined and strawberries are pureed. Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, salt, baking soda, erythritol, stevia. Blend some more until you have a smooth batter. Stir in butter until well combined. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round baking dish with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan, then drop strawberries into the batter, distributing them evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes. The time may vary based on the juiciness of the strawberries. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. When cool gently flip cake out of pan and place on serving dish. Frost as desired – I used the strawberry cream cheese version above – combine all ingredients together and whip until smooth. It may need to be chilled for a few minutes to firm up before spreading on the cake. Keep cake refrigerated if room temperature is over 75 degrees. Enjoy!

Adapted from here.

Whiskey Watermelon

whiskey watermelonThis treat was fun! After some frustration. Little B had been asking for watermelon for a week or so, but it was never when we were actually in the store. Big D and I don’t really eat much of it, so getting a whole one is often wasteful. Finally, one day I was at the store and there were smaller packages with just a few slices for sale. Is it cheaper to buy a whole melon and waste most of it, or pay a little more for a smaller quantity? It is often the question I ask myself in such situations, but it was a non-issue this time because the price was the same per unit. I grabbed it, excited to be surprising Little B. Alas, when I returned to the RV with the watermelon she had decided that she no longer liked it, it was yucky and she never wanted to eat it again. The reaction probably had something to do with not getting a nap on a busy, hot, humid Saturday, but I was still bummed. So now I have watermelon on my hands and the cocktail hour is approaching. In the past I made watermelon margaritas in such a situation, but no tequila. Then, I spotted the whiskey. Not an expensive, aged sipping whiskey, but a simple bottle of the stuff we use with mixers. Perfect! Let’s get the watermelon drunk! I set it all up and let the morsels soak for about an hour. Yummy! Reminded me of college days when the impact of a few jello shots in a row hits all at once. Be careful with these things. The watermelon soaked up the whiskey all right. And the juice left over at the bottom of the bowl worked quite well for a mixed drink later. Enjoy summer and watermelon while it lasts, in spite of your three year old’s protestations.

Whiskey Watermelon

1/2 small watermelon
1/2 cup whiskey

Remove rind from watermelon and cut melon into 1 inch square pieces, smalller if you want the alcohol effect stronger. In a resealable bag combine the watermelon squares and whiskey. Gently press the back to remove excess air and seal. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour, but four hours is better. Remove and serve in small bowls with forks or toothpicks.


Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

strawberry cupcakes frosted small

These little cakes came out beautifully imperfect. And Little B frosted every single one of them. We were long overdue making a batch of cupcakes, so I started by asking her what flavor she wanted. Strawberry. Then, I asked her what kind of frosting she wanted. Strawberry. I followed up by asking what she wanted to put on top. Strawberries. I saw a theme. So, guess what we got at the store? You guessed it! Strawberries. She loves pushing buttons on the blender and watching all the ingredients swirl and twirl around. The frosting is very similar to what I put on the birthday cake I made a while back, but without the icky whipped topping. Fortunately, after her taste testing between the frosting of each cupcake, there was still enough to finish the job. We got so involved with making sure there was strawberry in the cupcakes we forgot to keep some for on top! Oh well. And Tall P really liked them too! This is actually a big deal, because he claims to not like sweets. Yep. The guy who drinks sweet tea and eats box after box of fresh strawberries coated in sugar. He does not like sweet stuff. I don’t quite understand where his line between sweet and not are actually drawn. I think he has taste bud issues. Regardless, he ate up these little guys! Score one for me and Little B! They definitely taste like strawberry. Just a little nudge of sweetener made them sweet treats and the berry flavor really shines. They taste like summer.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting


1 pound strawberries, cored

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 tsp pure stevia powder

6 eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla

¾ cup coconut flour

¼ cup golden flax seed meal

1 Tbsp baking powder

½ tsp sea salt

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup salted butter, room temperature

½ cup granulated Splenda

2 Tbsp sugar free strawberry syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor add the strawberries and lime juice. Blend until there are no large strawberries remaining. Add the Stevia powder and eggs. Blend again until combined. In a separate bowl combine the coconut flour, meal, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend some more until combined. Let the batter sit for a few minutes – you will notice it thicken a bit. Pour batter into 24 lined regular sized muffin tins (or 12 regular muffin tins and 24 mini muffin tins). Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and browning. While the cupcakes are baking prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl combine the the cream cheese, butter and Splenda. In a small bowl combine the arrowroot powder and strawberry syrup. Mix until smooth and thick. Stir the syrup mixture with the cream cheese mixture until the color is evenly distributed. When cupcakes are cooled frost them. Store in the refrigerator.

Tart Apple Sauce

tart apple sauce

If your local grocer is anything like mine, they have a corner of the produce section where you can occasionally find deeply discounted fruits and vegetables that are gently bruised or pretty ripe. Recently there was a bunch of Granny Smith apples marked down to 50 cents a pound. What a steal! I had to grab some. They are my favorite apples ever – green and crisp and tart. Making apple sauce with them results in a nice tart sauce as well. I think it tastes much better than the sweeter stuff from the store. I don’t add any sweetener or sugar – I don’t think the sauce, or Little B, needs it, but could easily be added if you prefer. I threw it all in the crock pot at bedtime and the house slowly started smelling like apples and cinnamon during the night, making me seriously crave an apple fritter for breakfast. A spoonful or two of the apple sauce took care of that, thank goodness. I have made this stuff for Little B ever since she started eating solids. She still likes it and happily inhaled a bowl full as soon as the stick blender was pulled out.

Tart Apple Sauce

6 – 8 large Granny Smith apples
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water

Core and slice apples, leaving the skin on. The skin will soften and cook down, so you won’t notice it in the final product. The sauce will be darker than what you typically buy at the store, but the texture is the same. Place apples in a crock pot. Add cinnamon and toss to coat apple slices. Pour water over apples, cover and set temperature to low. Cook for 6 – 8 hours. Let cool and puree with a hand mixer until smooth. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Chocolate Strawberry Bacon Cake

chocolate strawberry bacon cake

This cake is ninety percent harmless. The remaining ten percent is included to fulfill the wishes of a birthday girl. A young friend of ours came for a week long visit, which included her birthday! I wanted to make a cake for her, and asked what she wanted. Chocolate and strawberries, and boy does she love frosting made with cream cheese and cool whip! The combination does not bother her tummy like milkier versions of frosting. Hmmm….cool whip…..high fructose corn syrup, chemicals of fifteen plus letters per word…not typically ingredient in things I make. It worked really well, though, and the birthday girl loved her cake. She also wanted a bacon rosette….okay! I can do that, too! This may sound like an odd combination, but the lightness of the frosting and the bacon worked pretty well together, and for bacon lovers, like the birthday girl, this oddness is such a non-issue. The cake was light and airy and went well after a meal of steaks and greens. I will definitely be making it again. The chocolate cake idea came from here.chocolate strawberry cake piece

Bacon Rosettes
8 slices bacon
Muffin pan

2 cups almond flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup whey protein powder, vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup equivalent liquid stevia
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup almond milk

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup salted butter, room temperature
16 ounces cool whip
4 Tbsp sugar free strawberry syrup
8 – 10 large strawberries

First, make the bacon rosettes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a muffin pan curl two pieces of bacon around themselves, starting on the outer edge and curling to the middle. Make a few buds by rolling a single piece tightly and securing it with two perpendicular toothpicks. Bake until the top edges are crispy, about 30-40 minutes. When done remove from the oven and set roses on paper towels to soak up any extra grease. Set aside until it is time to decorate.

Second, make the cake. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter/grease a 9×13 pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, whey protein powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and liquid stevia until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, followed by the almond milk. Add half of the almond flour mixture, stir, then add the remaining almond flour mixture and mix batter until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan (it will be thick, so spreading is a necessity) and bake about 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

While the cake cools, make the frosting. In a stand mixer combine cream cheese, butter and strawberry syrup. When smooth and combined, add the cool whip. Mix until combined and again smooth. Let chill until time to frost the cake. Prepare the strawberries by hulling and slicing them in thin layers.

When the cake is cool, cut two equally sized layers out of the 9×13 pan. Carefully remove the layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the layer, then add a layer of strawberry slices, overlapping the slices so there are no gaps. Add more frosting to level out the surface, then add the top layer of cake. Trim the edges until the sides are even, then clean the cuttings off the plate. Cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting to set the shape and catch crumbs. Follow the crumb layer with a thicker, final layer. Decorate the sides with more strawberry slices and arrange the bacon rosettes on top. Store in the refrigerator until serving, and keep leftovers chilled.



Dragon Fruit Frenzy

dragon fruit salad

Dragon Fruit is the funkiest fruit I know. It is bright and crazy on the outside and and a neutral black, white and mild on the inside. It kinda tastes like kiwi fruit, but unlike the skin of the kiwi, you should shy away from eating the thick pink skin of the dragon fruit. With the single dragon fruit I got from the market I made two simple recipes – a fruit salad for Little B and a rather odd looking cocktail for myself. The meat of the dragon fruit can be sliced or cubed and looks really pretty with brightly colored fruit – in this case, strawberries. dragon fruit margaritaFor my cocktail I did a margarita-type drink (I know, blasphemy for the margarita purist), and sipped it while having a nice green salad with shrimp. The whole meal felt kind of summery, which felt odd, since it is December, but very refreshing after some of the heavier foods we are eating lately. With my eyes closed the cocktail was soft and lovely. With my eyes open it looked like a gray sludge that tasted soft and lovely. I don’t know what to do about the color, but it tastes wonderful.

Dragon Fruit Frenzy

Strawberry Dragon Fruit Salad

½ dragon fruit, meat only, cubed
¾ cup strawberries, chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice

Combine dragon fruit cubes and strawberries. Drizzle juice over fruit and gently toss. Serve immediately or chill before serving.

Dragon Fruit Cocktail

½ dragon fruit, meat only
¼ – 1/3 cup tequila
½ lime, juiced
1 – 2 tsp truvia
6 cubes ice

Add 1 tsp truvia and remaining ingredients to blender. Blend on high until ice is broken up. The sweetness of the fruit can vary, so taste the cocktail and add more truvia to preferred sweetness. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Coconut Flour Muffins

Little B used to not like blueberries at all. We stopped even offering them to her, then suddenly, they were the best thing since sliced bread! They still come after blackberries, but they rank pretty high with her these days. When we celebrated Lammas a couple of weeks ago we wanted to honor the day with what is typically use of traditional first harvest items, and the recognition that days are getting shorter and cooler. Well, not cooler yet, but linger in the anticipation. First harvest is usually grains; more specifically, wheat. Since we are avoiding wheat there was a need to focus on a more creative symbolic dish. We mixed up some grain free muffins with a different seasonal harvest item – blueberries! They were wonderful accompaniments to the other harvest items on which we feasted: apples, zucchini, pork and wine. We had a lovely evening releasing regrets and looking towards autumn – what I consider my favorite time of year. I used coconut flour again, which has become a favored ingredient in my baking lately – it does not take much to go a long way and it is good for you! I hope you enjoy the muffins, for we did, in all their bluberry-ness.

Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

6 eggs
4 Tbsp plus 2 Tbsp (or 12 1/2 tsp) butter
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 drops liquid stevia
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup powdered erythritol
1/2 tsp baking powder
8 ounces blueberries

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare muffin pan with liners. In mixing bowl blend together wet ingredients. In separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 15 minutes until tops begin to brown. Let cool for about ten minutes before serving.

Update 11/26/12: Little B and I made a batch of these muffins tonight. A tweak made some doubly delicious muffins! We threw all the wet ingredients, along with the blueberries into a blender and whipped them all up together before combining with wet ingredients. We also added juice from half a very juicy lime – about 1/5 cup (very juicy lime). The tweaks made them more moist and the sweet and tang of the berries and juice worked great together. Everything else remained the same in the recipe.

Fruity Popsicles

Have you ever realized that full sized popsicles are a bit big for three year olds? The three year olds probably don’t think so, but I have found they can’t quite finish them before they melt all over everything that used to be white or otherwise attractive to staining. I figured I could pretty easily make smaller treats with at least moderate health benefits. I discovered I could! I really could! I also decided to make them ergonomic by freezing the sticks at an angle for easier eating (translation: I was being a bit lazy and and just dropped the sticks in). The angled sticks actually made the popsicles easier for Little B to eat. She loves them. There is at least one serving of fruits/vegetables in each pop, and they are waaaay easy to make. This time I used grapes because that is what we had in the house, but pretty much any fruit cut into small pieces should work (except maybe bananas – they just don’t freeze pretty).

Fruity Popsicles

1 cup pulpy not-from-concentrate orange juice
1 cup vegetable juice (V-8 or something similar)
½ cup seltzer water or club soda
24 grapes, cut in half
12 popsicle sticks
12 itty bitty 3 ounce plastic cups

Combine liquids in a large measuring cup. In a muffin tin place an itty bitty cup in each hollow. In each cup place four grape halves. Divide liquid among the cups. Stick a stick into each cup, letting them rest on the edge. If you want the sticks all perky and straight up, place foil over each cup, then poke a stick gently through the foil, avoiding extra tearing so the sticks stand up. Place in the freezer for at least four hours until frozen through.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

You may have noticed an influx of vegetables and meat in my entries lately. It is because we are watching our carbohydrate intake and there is no subtlety in the absence of starches. Alas, Brigit is still a lover of such things and is at an age where if she shows interest in food I definitely want to make it available. She has a constant interest in peanut butter and a dynamic interest in bananas, so I combined the two into a muffin, based on the still limited stocking of our pantry. She inhaled a muffin after dinner and there is already one packed for her to munch on during tomorrow’s commute, so I think they are a success. Some vitamins and protein are no so bad, in spite of the processed flour and sugar. I will take what I can get with my almost three-year old. Oh yeah, the 17 year old foster son Paul (who thinks it is weird to do a food blog, but finds it totally reasonable to text and IM all day) promises to eat some, but not right after dinner. Teenagers. Ugh. I was not altogether creative on this one – I just wanted to use up the old bananas and have something to make that involved Little B in breaking eggs and smooshing stuff. They came out really great, so go forth and make some muffins! Here is the source.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl beat together the peanut butter, oil, eggs, milk and bananas. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon the batter into 12 well greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

Wheaty Peanut Butter Apple Rolls

I don’t usually rely on highly processed foods for much of anything when I cook. I try really hard to do the majority of my shopping on the outer edges of the grocery store, focusing on unprocessed foods. I am not perfect, but I hope this blog represents my desire to use ingredients in their most basic form. Now, on with a recipe that contradicts most of my efforts. I came across some canned whole wheat biscuits at the store the other day. Technically, they were along the outer edge of the store, so it was not like I sought them out. They reminded me of camping when I was younger and baking biscuits in a frying pan on a little propane camping stove. They don’t brown and cook thoroughly unless they get flipped halfway through baking. They always tasted so good after sleeping hard all night. Anyway, I was trying to figure out a way to give Little B some quick finger food fun while using ingredients I know she likes. Below is a snack with two of her favorite foods – apples and peanut butter.

Wheaty Peanut Butter Apple Rolls

1 package (8 count) Grands® Golden Wheat Reduced Fat Biscuits
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
½ apple, finely diced, leaving the skin on

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease large cookie sheet. Combine peanut butter, honey and cinnamon together. Cut each uncooked biscuit in half. Roll out each half into 4” in diameter rounds. Spread the peanut butter mixture on each round. Sprinkle apple on top of the peanut butter and press into the round. Carefully roll each biscuit into sticks, making sure the edges overlap. Pinch ends closed to seal roll. Place each roll seam side up on the cookie sheet, leaving an inch on each side. Bake for 12-14 minutes until biscuits begin to brown.

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