Watermelon Cherry Cake with Choco Coconut Cream

Make summer holidays and warm-weather birthdays super sweet and healthy with a fruit-bedecked watermelon cake.

I love having my birthday the day before America’s – it makes me feel super patriotic and sparkly and sunshine summery. I’m usually celebrating at the lake, the river or beach along alongside a sea of other 4th of July weekend revelers who are unwittingly my party guests – the more the merrier!  One of the most memorable birthdays ever was on my 14th  year when a full orchestra of Culver Military Academy hunks stopped their steamboat by the dock and played “Happy Birthday” and shot off fireworks just for me, I was giddy and giggly for days. The girlfriend I was visiting with had the best grandma ever for pulling off that swoon-worthy surprise!

Jennifer Fisher Austin Runner and Fitness Enthusiast - TheFitFork.com

Celebrating my birthday early with family at the lake.

Please, no gifts -- unless it's a watermelon!

Please, no gifts — unless it’s a watermelon!

There are so many great things about having a 3rd of July summer birthday – I can wear my favorite sundress and sandals or better yet, a just bathing suit and barefoot. I can float around on the river all day and stay late at the country dance boot-scootin’ and catching fireflies, no worries about getting up early the next day – it’s a holiday, y’all! Sometimes, I am lucky enough to celebrate with my Aunt and Sister-in-Law who both have birthdays during the same week. If we happen to stay in town, my birthday weekend always includes running the Freedom 5k with family and good friends– a race that features watermelon at the finish line.

So YOU are invited to my birthday this year, can you come? There will be lots and lots of fun along with my favorite foods, especially watermelon. The dress code is casual and there’s no need to bring a gift. .. err, unless you want to wrap up a watermelon.

Watermelon Cherry Cake with Choco Coco Cream is a light summery dessert that is dairy-free, raw,  paleo and vegan.

Wow your party guests with a fruit festooned watermelon cake!The cake will be a fruit, fun and fabulously fit dessert – Watermelon Cherry Cake with Choco-Coco Cream! You may have seen these “cakes” that feature a big hunk of watermelon as the base instead of traditional spongy, sweet cake. In honor of my favorite seasonal flavors, my cake is piled high with ripe red cherries and topped with and alternative chocolate cream made frm whipped full-fat coconut milk to keep it paleo-ish, raw and dairy-free.  Don’t miss the easy recipe at the end of this post. Even a huge slice is a light way to end my favorite birthday bash meal of flame-kissed burgers and avocado, black bean and corn salad.   

Enjoy a Watermelon Caipirinhas, a summery cocktail for your next outdoor party.Our beverages will also be watermelon inspired — Watermelon Caipirinhas! But I’ll lighten up this boozy Brazilian drink with just a half shot of cachaça because I’m a certified lightweight! Kids will keep cool with my drinking my Watermelon Coconut Cherry Sippers – tasty, healthy and hydrating! I think I’ll have one of these too!

watermelon cake collageCheck out the other delicious watermelon cakes and desserts at Watermelon.org and follow my Living on the Wedge Watermelon board on Pinterest for lots of great watermelon recipes and ideas.

 

 

 

 

What are you doing this weekend to celebrate?  Will you have watermelon? Share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

The post is sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board. However, the opinions and content (unless otherwise noted) shared are my own and NWPB did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

Make summer holidays and warm-weather birthdays super sweet and healthy with a fruit-bedecked watermelon cake.
Cherry Chocolate Watermelon Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Make summer holidays and warm-weather birthdays super sweet and healthy with a fruit-bedecked watermelon cake.
Cherry Chocolate Watermelon Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Cut ends off watermelon so that it sits flat on platter, reserve ends for use later. Continue to cut rind off, starting at top of watermelon “cylinder” going downward.
  2. Chill mixer bowl in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Add heavy cream and whip with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Whip in cocoa powder and stevia (may substitute ¼ powdered sugar, if desired).
  3. Cut stems off cherries, leaving a 1/3” stub to secure into watermelon. If cherry is missing its stem, use a toothpick to secure. Start at bottom and work around watermelon going upward until entire sides are covered.
  4. Pour chilled coconut milk into cold mixer bowl, beat with cold mixer paddles for 30 seconds. Add cocoa and stevia, beat and additional minute or until incorporated and creamy.
  5. Pile up whipped coconut cream on top of cake. Use melon baller to scoop out watermelon balls from ends.
  6. Decorate top with watermelon balls, cherries and mint. Use store-bought or homemade chocolate curls (or mini chocolate chips) as the chocolate garnish.
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Candied Meyer Lemon Cake with Blackberries – Paleo and Gluten Free Recipe

Candied Meyer Lemon Cake with Blackberries - Paleo

I never paid much attention to Meyer lemons until recently – I mean a lemon is a lemon is a lemon, right?!  Well, come to find out, not all lemons are created equally. The Meyer lemon is a soft-skinned citrus fruit that looks a lot like a 10-cent lemon, but actually tastes like sweet million bucks.  That’s because the Meyer lemon is actually a lemon crossed with an orange, taking some of the acidic bite. Even though Meyer lemons are more fragrant and sweeter, they’re still a bit tart and better balanced in a recipe.

Meyer Lemon

I got my Meyer Lemons from Friedas.com!

Paleo Blackberry Lemon Cake - TheFitFork.comUse the perfect pucker of Meyer lemons in cocktails, with chicken piccata, in salad dressing, to make a sweeter lemon curd, or alongside fish and seafood – or even better, use them to make my delicious Candied Meyer Lemon Honey Cake with Blackberries (it’s also Gluten-Free). I was inspired by a lemon cake recipe I saw in the Food Network Magazine, but of course I tinkered with it to make it my own! I made this cake to take to Easter dinner at my Aunt’s house — it’s just bursting with spring flavor and a beautiful sight to behold.She’s going to love it.

berry lemon smoothieBy the way, if you don’t have time for cake-making, you can get a quick fix with my Blackberry Lemon Smoothie.

 

 

 

 

Notes about the recipe:

  1. If you are unable to get your eggs to the glossy peak stage, don’t worry the cake will still taste just as delicious (it just won’t be quite as fluffy – it’s a denser cake anyway).
  2. Do not skip the steps of simmering and draining the lemon slices three times. It seems redundant, but you are boiling off the bitterness from the pith and acid from the lemon flesh.  The result is lemon peel that is delightfully tender, edible and yummy.
  3. Feel free to swap out raspberries for the blackberries in the syrup and garnish.

Blackberry Lemon Cake

Paleo Blackberry Lemon Cake - TheFitFork.com
Candied Meyer Lemon Honey Cake with Blackberries
Print Recipe
This gluten-free dessert recipe is bursting with flavor - lemons and blackberries make perfect for Easter, graduation and other spring celebrations
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Paleo Blackberry Lemon Cake - TheFitFork.com
Candied Meyer Lemon Honey Cake with Blackberries
Print Recipe
This gluten-free dessert recipe is bursting with flavor - lemons and blackberries make perfect for Easter, graduation and other spring celebrations
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F degrees. Line bottom of 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray top of paper and sides of pan with coconut oil cooking spray (or just rub with coconut oil).
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, zest from 2 lemons, 4 egg yolks, vanilla and olive oil. With mixer on medium, beat for 2 – 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  4. With mixer on low, slowly add almond flour mixture to egg mixture bowl, beating until just combined (don’t over beat).
  5. In a clean bowl, add 6 egg whites that are at room temperature. With mixer on medium, beat for approximately 1 minute or until foamy. Add in ½ cup sugar and beat on medium-high for another 3 minutes or until glossy peaks have formed.
  6. Scrape ½ of egg white peaks into almond meal and gently incorporate by hand with spatula. Add the remainder of egg whites and stir until mostly combined.
  7. While cake is baking, make candied lemons by adding 2 thinly sliced and seeded lemons to small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, drain water and refill with fresh water on lemons. Simmer for another 3 minutes. Repeat this process a 3rd time to remove bitterness from pith.
  8. After lemon slices have been simmered and drained 3 times, add 1 cup of fresh water, remaining ½ cup sugar, remaining 1/3 cup honey and the juice from 2 lemons. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Use a fork to transfer lemons to plate and let cool. Keep lemon syrup in saucepan and add 1/2 of blackberries. Simmer over medium for an additional 10 minutes, mashing up blackberries with fork.
  10. Remove cake from springform pan, using a knife to loosen sides before unlatching. Transfer cake to serving platter and brush top of cake with blackberry syrup. Top cake with candied lemon slices, fresh blackberries and drizzle with remaining blackberry syrup (or reserve leftover syrup for another use).
Recipe Notes
  1. If you are unable to get your eggs to the glossy peak stage, don’t worry the cake will still taste just as delicious (it just won’t be quite as fluffy – it’s a denser cake anyway).
  2. Do not skip the steps of simmering and draining the lemon slices three times. It seems redundant, but you are boiling off the bitterness from the pith and acid from the lemon flesh.  The result is lemon peel that is delightfully tender, edible and yummy.
  3. Feel free to swap out raspberries for the blackberries in the syrup and garnish.
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Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes (Lightened) & Mixer Giveaway!

Baking cakes with thefitfork.com

I have a lot of love for kitchen gear . . . it ranks right up there with my passion for fitness gear. On birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas and special occasions, I will be over-the-moon giddy with excitement if you gift me with the latest in running shoe technology or a shiny, new kitchen gadget that I “absolutely must have” and will probably only use once. But the great thing about being a food and fitness blogger is that I can rationalize all these frivolities in the name of workout research and recipe development – it’s a tough job, but someone has to suffer losing toenails because she wore the wrong compression socks during an endurance event or got “too cold” in the winter because she insisted on making smoothie after smoothie in search of perfection.

A couple pieces of kitchen gear I never grow tired of are my mixers. Hamilton Beach recently sent me two of their mixer models to try out – the 6 Speed Stand Mixer (Model 3326) and the SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case (62637) (and another pair of these mixers are available in my giveaway at the bottom of this post).  Whoohoo, I was so excited because I have had some pretty traumatic mixer distress over the last year. First, my cheapie hand mixer received as a wedding gift bit the dust in the middle of party preparations. To be fair, I had used this mixer quite a lot in the 20+ years of its life. Although, it was very convenient to have a hand mixer available for quick baking projects, I never replaced it since I had the highly-coveted Kitchenaid stand mixer begging to be put into use. But, let me tell you what happened next –  the horror!  One day, I was mixing the ingredients for a (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) Paula Deen-esque Truffle Pie, I turned my back on the machine while the machine did its thing. Then all of a sudden, a “clank” followed by a hideous, grinding noise and then total silence fell over the room.   Apparently, the Kitchenaid logo metal piece-a-part (where the big attachments screw in) had become loose and the continued vibrations from the beating shook the entire thing loose. The big screw thing, fell into the bowl, got jammed between the beaters and broke a mechanism in the engine. I was so upset, I cried.

win a stand mixer

You could win this Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer to help you with your healthy baking!

I’m over it, especially now that I have these two new mixers! The big stand mixer is awesome and does pretty much everything the brand-that-shall-not-be-mentioned does, from what I can tell. It features that same single paddle of the “other guys” that spins while rotating around the entire perimeter of the 3.5 quart stainless steel bowl. There are three attachments for a variety of recipe needs (the paddle, the whisk and the dough hook). There are also six speeds as well as a special, slower folding setting. I could go on and on, but you can read more for yourself about this reasonably priced ($129) yet powerful Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer.

Win a mixer

You’ll love how this hand mixer stands upright when not in use.

I also got to test a really cool hand mixer, the SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer.  Love, love, love this easy-to-use mixer that retails for just $39. It has 6 speeds, so it can tackle a range of different tasks.  It comes with regular beaters, a whisk attachment and also (drumroll) these really genius “SoftScrape” beaters that are coated in silicone (like a flexible spatula) to promote thorough mixing while keeping bowls and nonstick pots from getting scratched up. Another super practical feature of this hand mixer is that it comes with a storage case that attaches to the bottom and accommodates all the attachments and power cord.  It also props up really nice on the counter when between tasks too, without toppling over and leaving a sticky mess.

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and SoftScrape Mixer details.

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and SoftScrape Mixer details.

If you’d like a chance to win one of these fantastic Hamilton Beach mixers, head down to the bottom of this post and complete the instructions in the Rafflecopter app. Meanwhile, let me tempt you with the recipe I made while I tested my new kitchen gear out – “Lightened-Up” Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes. I used a sugar substitute baking blend and no-fat milk to take some of the guilt out of this fun dessert – oh and the strawberry sauce isn’t much more than pureed berries and lime juice with a little splash of tequila!

Mini Strawberry Margarita Cakes Lite

“Lightened-Up” Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes Recipe

  • 1/2 -cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar substitute baking blend with 1:2 replacement ratio*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/3  cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries

* if using regular sugar, double the amount to 1 1/3 cups

For the Sauce:

  •  1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour 6-count mini-Bundt pan. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar substitute until fluffy.
  2. Beat in the lime juice, lime zest, and eggs until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl stir together the cake flour and baking powder. Add alternately with the milk to the egg mixture. Beating just until combined after each addition.
  4. Sprinkle scant amount of coarse sea salt into to bottom of each mini Bundt pan, distributing the 1 teaspoon equally across Bundts. Next divide approximately ½ cup chopped strawberries equally among the bottoms of each cake (about 2 teaspoons each). Add the batter to prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and let the cakes sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife between the cakes and the pan, if needed, and remove to a baking rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, make sauce by blending remaining 1 ½ cups chopped strawberries with 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon tequila in blender until pureed. Transfer mixture to small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve sauce over cakes and garnish with fresh strawberry, if desired.

skinny strawberry lime cake

Disclosure: Hamilton Beach has provided me with product to review and giveaway. However, all opinions, recipes and commentary are my own.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sweet Treats For Easter – Layered Smoothie and Lightened Strawberry Cake

 

litehouse jennifer fisher  strawberry cake overhead

You better hop to it if you are still looking for sweet treats to share with family and friends this Easter weekend. If the bunny that visits your house is anything like the one who hides eggs at mine, I’m pretty sure you’ll have enough chocolate goodies and jelly beans to last until the Fourth of July!  But if you are hosting an Easter brunch, luncheon or dinner, you probably need a delicious dessert that is showy enough for a Sunday celebration of this magnitude.

But don’t fret, I have an easy and “healthier” option that I whipped up for Lighthouse Foods — a Lightened Strawberry Bundt Cake and it is just perfect for the season! Several decadent ingredients found in traditional pound cake recipes have been swapped with sugar-free and reduced-fat products to keep this cake a little from exploding with excess. Plus, fresh strawberries for garnish are always a good thing! Check out the Living Lighthouse Blog for the full directions.

litehouse jennifer fisher cut strawberry cake lemonade

You may want to spend some extra time (especially if you have today off) enjoying the perks of great outdoors in spring – warmer weather, longer days and verdant vistas with beautiful wildflowers. Fuel up with long-lasting healthy energy with the Layered Spring Smoothie I created for CorePower.com. Sweet layers of fruits and vegetables blended with a Core Power High Protein Shake not only looks pretty, but will have you feeling pretty good too – it’s packed with 26 grams of quality protein!

easter-inspiredsmoothie

Layered Easter Smoothie Recipe

  • 1 bottle Vanilla Core Power (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 large banana, sliced and frozen
  • ½ cup frozen or fresh spinach (a handful)
  • ½ cup sliced frozen strawberries
  • Whipped cream and pastel sprinkles, if desired

Pour entire bottle of cold Core Power into blender. Add frozen banana slices and blend until smooth; blend in ice if mixture seems too thin. Divide banana mixture evenly into three parts, leaving one part in blender and pouring the other two parts into two small bowls or cups.

Add handful of spinach to portion remaining in blender and process until smooth. Pour this into bottom of tall glass. Over this “green” layer, pour the “yellow” portion that is just banana and Core Power.

Quickly rinse out blender and pour in the remaining bowl. Add strawberries and blend until smooth. Pour this “pink” layer on top. Garnish smoothie with whipped cream and pastel sprinkles, if desired.

strawberry banana spinach layered smoothei

 

layered easter smoothe 250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: For “no bleed” stripes, freeze serving glass between each layer. For a more casual “dip-dyed” look (as in photo), this step is not necessary – the colors will seep together a bit by design!

 

 

 

 

If you are still looking for a sweet and stunning end to your meal, check out the gallery of Best Easter Desserts from CookingLight.com. The Black and White Angel Food Cake has definitely grabbed my attention!

easter desserts cooking light

Are you planning a special dessert for Easter? Let me know in the comments below!

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Cottage Cheese, Please! Lemon Chia Tea Cakes with Berries Recipe #GlutenFree

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Daisy Cottage Cheese.

Today, it’s cottage cheese, please! But, as I kid, I expressed my displeasure with this curd-style dairy product with the same gusto that was reserved for having blood drawn, getting grounded, having to babysit my brother instead of hang out with friends  — no, please, please, please don’t do this to me!  Crying, screaming, gnashing of teeth and so on. Boy, how times change! I barely wince at a needle prick, never get in trouble with my parents anymore and would welcome the opportunity to spend more time with my brother.  And . . . as you probably have guessed, I now love cottage cheese!

berries daisy cottage cheese container 700

When I headed down to the store to get my carton of Daisy Cottage Cheese, I noticed that the brand has rolled out new packaging – it’s so catchy with the white carton, blue lid and signature flower. It’s easy to figure out if you’re buying delicious full-fat Daisy (dark blue lid) or low-fat Daisy (light blue lid) — these little details matter, especially if I’m in a rush! But a great carton isn’t the only #DaisyDifference when it comes to stacking up this product against similar seeming cottage cheese brands on the shelves.  Daisy Cottage Cheese just plain uses better ingredients (and fewer) than the competition. Made from only four ingredients, this stuff is straightforward and simple – just the way it should be. I feel confident serving Daisy to my family knowing it isn’t gunked up with unnecessary additives, preservatives and thickeners.

Nutrition Label for Daisy Low-Fat 2% Cottage Cheese

Nutrition Label for Daisy Low-Fat 2% Cottage Cheese

What I’ve found as a mom and athlete is that cottage cheese is a great way to pack a wallop of protein into any meal of the day– even snacks and treats! Did you know that a ½ cup serving of 2% Daisy Cottage Cheese has just 90 calories and 14 grams of protein – getting me well on my way to achieving my daily protein requirement.  As a runner and fitness enthusiast who often works out two times a day, I require extra protein to help my body recover and rebuild muscle.  It’s so easy to add cottage cheese to a smoothie, a salad, or on top of a baked potato – I even blend up cottage cheese to transform it into a creamy sauce and silky, smooth baking ingredient.  Plus, since our family is on a budget, I really appreciate the value that cottage cheese offers as a protein source.

In honor of spring and all its fresh flavors, I whipped up this yummy batch of Lemon Chai Tea Cakes with Berries. It’s a healthy dessert that is balanced with protein – actually, I think it would also be great for breakfast!   As a bonus, this recipe is gluten-free and doesn’t have a lot of added sweetness – only a bit of honey and lemon curd. 

lemon cake cottage cheese

Lemon Chia Tea Cakes with Berries Recipe

  • 2 cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup 2% Daisy Brand cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Sauce and Garnish

  • ½ cup 2% Daisy Brand cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • Blackberries and raspberries
  1. In large bowl, mix together oat flour, baking powder, chia seeds and salt until combined.
  2. In blender, mix together cottage cheese, lemon juice, lemon curd, honey, vanilla, eggs and oil until smooth.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring until just combined but not over mixing.
  4. Spoon batter into 4 free-standing paper baking cups (4” diameter) or 8 standard size muffin tins.
  5. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center pulls clean.
  6. While muffins are baking, make sauce by adding ½ cup cottage cheese and ¼ lemon curd in blender; blend until smooth.
  7. To serve, spoon sauce over cooled tea cakes and top with berries. Serves 4.

low fat daisy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Miss the Twitter Chat with Daisy Cottage Cheese

Find out how to “Power Your Way Through the Day” with cottage cheese, a versatile protein source for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – as well as for workout fuel and recovery. I can’t wait to learn more about the benefits of cottage cheese from the experts and find out some of the Fitfluential community’s favorite recipes.

Twitter Chat:
Hosted by: FitFluential
Date: April 10, 2014
Theme: Power Your Way Through the Day
Time: 9:00 pm EST
#DaisyDifference

And So Fall Baking Begins! Caramel Apple Carrot Cake

Don’t you agree that October is the centerpiece of the fall season?  No longer hot and not yet cold, the days are beautifully colored, fragrant and delicious in every way. Now that I can bear to keep the oven on without cranking down the air-conditioner, I’ve been whipping up heaps of healthy baked recipe and have had no shortage of “quality control testers” hanging around the kitchen.

jennifer fisher litehouse cake slice milk

One recipe that turned out fantastic was the Caramel Apple Carrot Cake I created for Litehouse Food’s Living Litehouse Blog.  When I was a kid, I remember my grandmother making a magnificently moist carrot cake – come to find out it was loaded with vegetable oil. My take on traditional carrot cake adds grated apples along with carrots to add moistness and reduce the amount of overall fat needed to make the recipe work. Also, baking with olive oil reduces the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat and helps nurture the flavor of the other ingredients to come forward.  Some say that the vitamin E found in olive oil helps to maintain the freshness of baked goods; however healthy cakes, cookies and quick breads never last long in my house.

baked pumpkin protein donuts

A go-to choice for crazy-morning breakfasts at my house are Baked Pumpkin Protein Donuts. Aromatically enticing with the seasonal scents of cinnamon and nutmeg, my boys gobble up these little bites of baked goodness without even realizing their eating some vegetable – a gourd – for breakfast. Pumpkin puree, even used straight from the can, has so many health benefits including lots of fiber, vitamins (especially K) and iron.

beet-cake-ck-665202-l

Next up on my baking agenda list is the Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Cooking Light! I hope he’s not reading this, because I’m planning on surprising my husband with this strange-sounding, but utterly intriguing treat for his birthday. Really, you can’t beat beets. This red veggie is a nutritional powerhouse that packs in the potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; and folic acid. Plus, recent research claims that beet juice can help you exercise longer, improve blood flood, and reduce blood pressure. Sign me up, especially if it involves a slice of cake!

cooking light quick breads

My baking wish list is long, and I’ll also be checking out the 30 Best Quick Bread Recipes from Cooking Light. I really like to make muffins and quick breads, especially healthy versions, ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for busier times. When I can actually see and pronounce the ingredients that go into my food, even if I end up tweaking or making substitutions, I feel much more confident serving it to my family. I’ve found that packaged bakery items from the store are usually total fat, sugar and preservative bombs.