Blueberry Pudding Cake

Guys. GUYS. We have a huge winner. A rousing success. A simple, delicious, throw together summer dessert that leaves families fighting over the cake pan as soon as it’s cool enough to touch. I knew from the minute I saw this cake on Shutterbean that I had to recreate it. It took three tries, but each one was even better than the last, and from the beginning this cake has flown out of the pan, inhaled by my family. Team Johnson could not get enough. The latest version, paired with a sumptuous vanilla ice cream recipe from Simply Bites, is the best yet. It screams summer dessert – easy, bursting with fresh berries, and perfect with a scoop of ice cream on a warm summer night.
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Laarb-inspired Summer Salad

This…this makes my heart sing. The color, the different textures, even the fun shapes! I eat salad every day, but there is something particularly exciting about summer salads. Cool, refreshing, wholesome, and extra tasty with all the super fresh produce, I’ll munch my way through salads all summer long.

For the past month or so, I’ve been making a variation on the Laarb gai salad over at Low Amine Recipes. Bright and fresh, I love the balance of tangy lime and mellow mint. If you need something more substantial (here’s lookin’ at you, Mar), you can add ground chicken, sliced pork, or whatever protein floats your boat. This salad is a great vehicle for overcooked meat – I’ve been known to overdue a few things on the grill – as it absorbs the dressing and flavors to create a satisfying complement to the vegetables. Continue reading

Creamy Coconut Cacao Pudding

I swear, I was never a pudding person before this year. I remember being totally disgusted by my grandfather’s love of tapioca pudding. Sure those snack pak’s the other kids had in their lunches were kind of cool, but that was all pudding was good for – a lowly substitute for real dessert in a boring school lunch. If I was making or preparing a dessert, it had to be something better than pudding.
Maybe it was because I was eating pudding made of all the wrong kinds of things – dairy, sugar, fake caramelchemical flavoring. This year’s pudding is good for my physical and mental health – the ultimate “feel good food”. The ingredients I use are healing for my body and I feel no guilt about eating them. Guilt should never be part of the equation when it comes to food.

For some reason, I like this picture because it is out of focus and therefore seems old school. I could be way off though

Dairy, egg, refined-sugar, and chemical-free, pudding has been elevated from dessert last picked from the buffet table to healthy indulgence in my kitchen. I’m willing to dive in by the bowlful. It all started with that glorious vehicle for roasted sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and chestnuts back in January. This version is also spatula-scraping good, a cold and creamy summer treat that is the perfect start to my hot summer workday. That’s right. I ate this for breakfast (along with a little protein), and it left me energized and really looking forward to tomorrow morning.

Many thanks to Kelly of the Spunky Coconut, whose 60 Second Decadent ChocoChia “Milkshake” Inspired this new breakfast-dessert. Kelly has a new cookbook out too –The Spunky Coconut Dairy-Free Ice Cream: Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan – just in time for a healthy summer!

my favorite coconut milk brand – Native Forest

Creamy Coconut Cacao Nib Pudding

makes 1 serving
3-5 small ice cubes. I like the volume that 5 provides, but my little scrappy blender does better with just 3. If you have a Vitamix or something equally fancy, 5 shouldn’t be a problem.
½ cup full fat coconut milk, make sure it is BPA free!
1 T raw cacao nibs
1 t raw cacao powder
⅓ of a ripe avocado
10 drops vanilla stevia (you could probably substitute 1 T of honey or agave nectar here)
a blender

Combine all ingredients into your blender. Blend for 2-3 minutes until pudding is completely smooth. Enjoy immediately. I doubt you could wait any longer anyway.

Next time I am going to add some mint leaves and see how that turns out! I want to make this a little more shamrock-y.

breakfast milkshake mason jar, where have you been all my life?

Part of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs’ Wellness Weekend June 21-25

Also part of Fit & Fabulous Fridays #37 from Amee’s Savory Dish

Entered in Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at SImply-Sugar and Gluten-Free!

Submitted to Gluten-Free Easily’s Virtual GF Support Group June 2012

Silky Green (NOT Split Pea) Soup

This can also be titled Kate vs. the broken memory card. Sorry there are no photos right now, but I promise to upload them as soon as I repair my troubled computer situation. Thanks for your patience!

When I was 4, I decided that I distinctly and utterly HATED split pea soup. Ugh. The texture, the starchy, gumminess of the peas, even the little chunks of ham were off-putting.

I remember that my grandfather was baffled that I didn’t like my grandma’s split pea soup. “How can you not like split pea soup, hetehose?!” My grandfather’s family was from Eastern Europe, and he had all these little pet nicknames for us. My brother was snickelfritz. I’m not sure what hetehose even means, or if that is how you spell it, so if anyone has any Czech, Slovakian, Latvian, or Lithuanian skills please let me know if you can help! Either way, one of them meant trouble maker, and I was in trouble. I HAD to eat that soup, don’t you know, because my grandparents were not about to see good food go to waste. Being force-fed what I viewed as the equivalent of snot liquid? Maybe that is why I have avoided green, pureed soups in the past. Continue reading