Bitter and Sweet Things – Part 1: Cakes

Today is Christian’s mom’s birthday! Since she loves tropical drinks and I love using my Kitchen-Aid, a pina colada pound cake was the perfect fit! I combined the recipes I found here and here to make the perfect cake.

The cake itself is a sour cream pound cake loaded with crushed pineapple, coconut and a splash of rum. After it came out of the oven, I glazed it with more sugar, butter and rum. After that all soaked in, I turned it out and gasped at my own handiwork.


Because I’m impatient, I poured the second glaze on while the cake was hot and it all ran off.  I scooped and poured it back on until it looked juuust right. And then, topped it with some lightly toasted coconut.  Need a little more detail? Here we go:



Now, the hard part is to not make another one for myself!

Paul Anka Cake (pina colada pound cake)

1 c. butter, softened

3 c. sugar

5 eggs, room temperature

2 t. rum, coconut preferred but I used orange because I had it on hand

3 c. flour

¼ t. baking soda

¼ t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

¾ c. sour cream

1 c. crushed pineapple, drained

½ c. shredded coconut

Glaze 1

1 c. sugar

½ c. water

2 T. butter

2 t. rum

Glaze 2

2 c. powdered sugar

2 T. milk

1 T. rum

½ c. toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Beat butter until creamed.  Add in sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at the time. Stir in rum.  Sift together flour, soda, powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in pineapple and coconut. Spread evenly into your Bundt and bake for around 1 hour and 10 minutes. Check at 1 hour so that cake does not over bake. In the last few minutes of baking, prepare glaze 1.  Whisk sugar and water together in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and allow to boil for one minute.  Turn heat off and stir in butter and rum.  Once done, remove cake from oven and poke holes all over with a long skewer. Pour glaze 1 all over the top of the cake and allow it to soak in the pan for 25-30 minutes. After glaze 1 soaks in, turn the cake out onto a serving platter and allow to cool completely.  While it’s cooling, prepare glaze 2. Whisk together powdered sugar, butter and rum, set aside. Once cake is completely cool, drizzle glaze 2 all over the top and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.  Serve and impress.


can’t stop, won’t stop with the mixer


The Most Delicious Meal


Sunday night, I made Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberry-Chipotle Dressing and Chipotle-Green Onion Turkey Burgers. Holy cow.  What a delicious meal!

The salad was absolutely scrumptious but I did make a few alterations.  The original recipe from Eats Well With Others called for one tsp of adobo sauce, fresh or frozen cranberries and pepitas.  I wanted mine a little spicier so I bumped the adobo sauce up to 3 tsp (or 1 T.) Fresh and frozen cranberries are not sold this time of year, at least not in my grocery store, so I used reduced sugar Craisins instead.  The only pepitas I could find were still in their shells and I was not about to spend an afternoon removing them so I subbed the 1/2 c pepitas for 1/3 c flax seeds. The results were fresh, flavorful and sooo delicious. And it’s hard to find something more delicious than oven roasted sweet potatoes.

Total calories (for my version, 6 servings per batch): 180 calories


The turkey burgers were an original invention. Not exactly the wheel but they tasted great!

Chipotle-Green Onion Turkey Burgers

yield: 4 burgers

1 lb 93% lean ground turkey

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1/4 c. green onions, chopped

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 T. coconut oil

4 whole wheat buns (I used Dieter’s Dream. Terrible name, pretty okay bun)

1 Roma tomato, sliced

Romaine lettuce, torn

2 t. dijon mustard

Mix turkey, peppers, onions and garlic powder together and form into 4 patties. Place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.  Wrap your buns in foil and place in a 350 degree oven until ready to serve. Heat 1/2 T. coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until droplets of water sizzle in the pan.  Place the patties in the skillet and cook until browned on each side and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Place a patty on each bun and top with lettuce, tomato and 1/2 t. dijon mustard. Devour.


Total calories: 277 (includes bun and all the fixins)

Meal grand total: 457

A Quickie

I tried out a recipe tonight that my younger sister, Susie, made up for black bean burgers.  They tasted great! But remember how I said I wanted to be better about photographing food? Turns out black bean burgers are not the place to start. Also, if I’m going to use my phone instead of a real camera, I should learn to go landscape instead of portrait.  Enjoy this very unappetizing photo of a very tasty meal:


It looks like this disgusting barley or wheat hot cereal Daddy made for breakfast years ago.  I don’t know what it was but I still shudder at the thought of it.

Here’s her recipe, verbatim, if you want to give it a whirl.  I served mine with a whole wheat bun, salsa verde, a slice of tomato and some lettuce.

Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

2 cans seasoned black beans, strained

1/2 red onion

1 egg

1 garlic clove

Bread crumbs (enough until it is the right texture)

4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (found in a can)

2 tbsp cottage cheese

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Blend in a food processor until smooth. Doesn’t need to be thick enough to make into patties, will be like a thick muffin batter. Plop onto a lightly oiled medium/hot skillet. I patted mine into a patty shape. Cook until brown on one side, then flip and cook a couple more minutes. I served it with a light mayo or sour cream (tried both at different times) mixed with Texas Pete, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt & pepper mix on a bun with a thin slice of cheddar and lettuce leaves.

It was gooooood! I know you’ll prob want to take out some of the stuff like salt and bread and cheddar but it is delicious like this so hopefully if you make those changes it’ll still be good!

Unrelated: Christian frequently teases me for my shorts collection.  And by collection I mean the one pair of shorts I own and wear all.the.time. You may recall that they were my one piece of “skinny” clothing and I was thrilled to fit into them again.

The last time these shorts fit, I'd done a 12-week all liquid diet and was a senior in college. It might be time to get myself a new pair.
The last time these shorts fit, I’d done a 12-week all liquid diet and was a senior in college. It might be time to get myself a new pair.

So, to stop the teasing, (and because it’s almost my birthday and I’ll use any excuse to get myself a present) I stopped in Loft today to try to find a new pair or two.  The shorts I currently own are size 14P so I took a few 14s and a 12 into the fitting room. I was ELATED to find that they all sagged in the butt and had room in the waist! I’m used to the butt sagging, I’m cursed with a hereditary disease called Noassatall, but the room in the waist is a refreshing change! I went back out onto the floor and brought an armload of size 10 shorts back to try on. Size 10! That’s practically single digits!

Not sure why I decided standing like Peter Pan, crowing his heart out, was a good pose.

After a few slack-jawed dressing room selfies and two second opinions (thanks, Susie and Christian!) I walked out of the store with two pairs of SIZE 10 shorts (on clearance, no less!) If I could’ve leapt into the air, fist pumped, 80s movie freeze-frame style, I absolutely would have.  What a victory!


that photo’s not poop, got me some new (smaller) britches

A Few Tasty Recipes

Christian treated me to a delicious brunch this morning afternoon at Batter & Berries. I had a sweet potato waffle with maple butter, fried chicken and hot sauce.  DADGUM. It was delicious.  Christian ordered the Lobster Benedict.  Holy cow. They were both so good and so not healthy.  It’s nice to splurge now and then when you eat healthy all week 🙂

I want to be better about sharing some of the tasty and healthy recipes I make throughout the week but I usually forget to take pictures because I’m so focused on getting the food on the table before I eat everything in sight! So, bear with me while I figure out how to do this.

This week, I made 20-minute Turkey Nachos (YUM!), Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce (featured below), Coconut Quinoa Soup (okay – the recipe is for one so I had to try to do math to multiply it and didn’t have enough liquid) and Bacon-Pear Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Kale Chips (featured below.)


Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce

I found these on Pinterest and they were originally posted here.  I modified the recipe slightly to fit what I already had on hand. My modified recipe is below.

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce

Yield: 8 tacos

Chimichurri Sauce:

1 c. roughly chopped cilantro

2 T. olive oil

2 T. Cholula green hot sauce

2 garlic cloves

1 t. honey

1/2 t. cumin

1 1/2 avocados, pitted and peeled (I had a half of an avocado leftover so I threw it in)


1 T. olive oil

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 lb frozen, cooked shrimp, thawed and de-tailed

2 c. torn lettuce leaves

1 jalapeño, sliced

8 corn tortillas, taco sized

Combine sauce ingredients in the food processor until smooth. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook the peppers and onion for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the shrimp just to heat through.  (If you’re using raw shrimp, you’ll obviously want to cook them for real.) Heat the tortillas according to package directions* and top with the shrimp/pepper/onion mixture, lettuce, a dollop of chimichurri and slices of jalapeño. Eat.

Bacon-Pear Grilled Cheeses with Kale Chips

I made up the grilled cheese recipe and found the kale chip one here and modified it ever so slightly.


Yield: 2 sandwiches

4 slices wheat bread

2 slices cheese

1 T. dijon mustard

4 thin slices of a fresh pear

3 slices of turkey bacon

Cook the turkey bacon until crisp. Break in half and set aside for a second.  Spread the dijon mustard evenly over the four slices of bread. Top two slices of bread with a slice of cheese, two slices of pear each and 3 halves of turkey bacon. Top with the other slice of bread.  Cook in the same skillet you cooked your bacon in but don’t add any oil or butter.  Grill until cheese is melted and both sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Cut in half and serve hot.

Kale Chips:

1 bunch kale leaves

1 T. oil (recipe calls for olive but I ran out so I used canola)

black pepper

cayenne pepper
(recipe calls for salt but I don’t cook with it anymore and I didn’t think they needed it.)

Preheat oven to 325. Tear kale into bite-sized pieces and wash.  (The pieces will shrink so use a giant’s bite as your guide.) Pat them try and dump into a large bowl.  Massage with oil and spices.  Spread them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (I used foil because I’m not a fancy baker or old-timey letter writer who keeps parchment on-hand.) Bake for 20 minutes.  Next time, I’ll do less time because mine were a little over baked.

Pre-baked kale chips
Pre-baked kale chips
Dragon scales.  I mean baked kale chips.
Dragon scales. I mean baked kale chips.

*Or boyfriend directions.  I am told that heating them in the microwave or in the oven is unacceptable.  I am to heat them in a hot, dry skillet until juuuust right.

tl;dr this stuff was good