Thursday, February 25, 2016


I have great news! I have secured good luck for 2009. January 1st was my husband’s ‘Name Day.’ In Greece, everyone celebrates the “Name Day” of the saint that bears the same name. According to the Orthodox Church, every day of the year has been dedicated to the memory of a Saint or a martyr from the Holy Bible and Holy Tradition. In Greece, a person’s name day is even more important than their own birthday and is celebrated with attention from friends and relatives and often gifts.
My husband Vasili’s Name Day lands on the first day of the year and has a historical tradition. It commenced in the fourth century, when Saint Vasili the Great, who was a bishop, wanted to distribute money to the poor in his Diocese. He commissioned some women to bake sweetened bread, in which he arranged to place gold coins. Thus the families in cutting the bread to nourish themselves, were pleasantly surprised to find the coins. I read that the sweetness in the cake symbolizes the hope that the New Year will be filled with the sweetness of life, liberty, health, and happiness for all who participate in the Vasilopita Observance.
Below is a recipe for a traditional Vasilopita cake. One coin is dropped in the batter of a round pan. The person who finds the treasure in his or her slice of cake is said to be blessed and will receive good luck for the coming year. I squealed when my fork found the coin in this light, simple but delicious yellow cake.
Vasilopita – Greek New Year’s Cake
Serves 15-20 people.
4 cups flour, sifted
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Grated lemon rind from 1 lemon
Confectioners Sugar
Silver or gold coin (soak in water and soap to clean. $1 coins are fun!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Cream butter, add sugar gradually; beat together until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in alternately until just smooth, flour mixture and milk. Add grated lemon rind from one whole lemon (2-3 teaspoons).
Grease a 12-inch round baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper. You can use a rectangle if you don’t have the large round pan. Put batter into the prepared pan. Drop in a silver or gold coin and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan. Then, sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Cut out of pan to serve.
* You can halve this recipe in half and use a 9 inch round pan

taken by :

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I just came across these photos from April, when I made my husband the carrot cake he had requested for his birthday. When I first posted this recipe, I claimed it was my #1 recipe and a few year’s later, I think it has held its ground. I haven’t met a carrot cake I like better.  The unexpected and time consuming trick is cooking and pureeing the carrots before mixing them into the cake. The pureed carrots make the cake so moist and the added coconut , walnuts and pineapple bring just the right amount of texture and sweetness.
The night before his birthday, I whipped the frosting, baked the cake layers and left them to cool. First thing in the morning, before the kids woke up, I snuck down, brewed a pot of coffee, leveled the layers and assembled the cake. Leveling cakes always leaves a nice mound of scraps that I NEVER waste. I put them on a plate for nibbling.
When Baby Whipped woke up that morning, one of the first things she wanted to do was try out the swim cap and goggles we’d recently bought her. She has a fun spirit and it didn’t surprise me to see her running up and down the halls with her footy jammies, Nemo cap and goggles. It did surprise, some minutes later, to find her laughing with a mouthful of cake.
When I asked her where she got the cake, her eyes twinkled as she waved me towards the kitchen. Though I hoped she had discovered the scraps, the frosting on the corner of her mouth suggested worse. When we reached the kitchen she was more than happy to reenact her crime. She dragged her stool to the counter and stretched her full arm’s length to reach the cake that I had pushed to the far corner.

She was quite pleased with herself.

We often call Baby Whipped “the jolly rascal.” Her naughty behavior is usually funny and sometimes quite clever. Most of all, she is proud of it and exudes such joy that it’s hard to get too mad at her. When we give her “time outs” for being naughty, she does her time without complaining, says sorry and jumps right back in the game. Rarely any whining.
When I came across these photos again, I laughed out loud. These are the memories that I know we will cherish for years. The old baking perfectionist in me didn’t mind the hunk out of the side of the cake one bit. Laughter trumps perfect cake.
Luscious, Moist Carrot Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups canola oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups pureed cooked carrots
1 small 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
1/2 cup walnuts for the top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. Peel and cook carrots until a fork easily can be poked in to them. One small bag of full sized carrots should yield about the right amount of pureed, cooked carrots. Drain the carrots and purree while still warm in a blender or food processor until they are smooth. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the carrot puree and set aside.
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir dry ingredients together with a whisk to combine well. Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat well for about 2 minutes. Fold in walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple. Pour equal amounts of batter into each pan. Set in the middle of the oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until edges have pulled away from sides and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let sit in pans 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and cool completely. When cool, level cakes to take humps off the center with a serrated knife. Spread cream cheese frosting between the layers and on top. I leave the sides out in the open because they are a beautiful brown and nice and crunchy. Sprinkle chopped nuts on the top if desired.
Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes enough for middle and top of cake. Double if you want to frost sides)
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
6 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
Cream together cheese and butter. Slowly stir in sifted confectioners sugar and continue beating until incorporated and light and fluffy.

taken by :

peanut butter oat pancakes with coconut cream

Pancakes are so super delicious, yet so complicated at the same time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to share pancake recipes but I ruin when I flip them.
I just can’t flip a pancake without popping a hole in it, or tearing it apart, or tossing it on top of another pancake and making to two stick together. Grrr….
All while I love pancakes, I hardly ever enjoy them because of this mess. I like simple and tasty, I don’t care for frustration while waiting, and waiting, and waiting for that perfect time to flip the pancake. That’s what husbands are for. ;)

Last weekend I went to the kitchen, started putting the pancake batter together and when it was all done, I kindly said to my husband, “ok, you go ahead and cook the pancakes while I set up to take some pictures when you’re done”. ;) Here I was thinking I was being sneaky, when actually he was more than happy to help.
What a man I have. We make a great pancake-creating team.

What I liked most about these pancakes was that the peanut butter wasn’t too much. There was just a slight taste of peanut while the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together created a great sweet texture. I even thought to myself that this batter would make some pretty awesome muffins. That I just might have to try. You can’t ever go wrong with peanut butter.

The coconut cream was just an extra UMPH to the pancakes. You can toss the cream all over the pancakes before eating them, which is exactly what I did after the photo shoot was done. I wanted you to actually see the pancakes, you know what I mean? ;)

coconut cream

Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2 cups
  • 14oz. can coconut milk; chilled in fridge overnight
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup or agave
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Add coconut milk into a medium bowl, with maple syrup and vanilla. Beat for about 5 minutes, until mixture becomes thick and creamy. Set in fridge until ready to use.

peanut butter oat pancakes

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 cup oat flour (gf for gluten free eaters)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup or agave
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 heaping tbsp of all natural peanut butter
  1. Add flax, flour and baking powder to a medium bowl, mixing together.
  2. In another bowl, add egg, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, vinegar and peanut butter. Mix well.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing together with a big wooden spoon. Allow 5 minutes for the batter to set.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat, carefully pour batter into the pan, dividing evenly. Flip after 5 minutes and allow other side to cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove pancakes and enjoy with coconut cream.

taken by :

so good for you apple cinnamon overnight oats {vegan}

Would you believe me if I told you that if someone asked me three months ago if I liked overnight oats I’d say……
“I haven’t tried them”….?
Honestly, I am a big fan of oatmeal, but until a few months ago I have never, ever tried overnight oats. Now, I literally make them all the time. They are too easy!

For someone who packs their lunch for work every day (my finger is pointing at myself here) this would be a fantastic snack for the morning, or afternoon. Normally I have my overnight oats either right after my workout for my breakfast, or if I eat before I workout then I have them after my workout; which would make them my morning snack.
Either way, I normally eat them after a workout. Oats, almonds, apples and cinnamon are all excellent foods which will provide your body with the type of nutrients it needs to help repair muscle fibres after a workout.

You really can’t go wrong with these Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats they will keep you feeling full for hours, fuel your body right, all while maintaining regular blood sugar levels and keeping your cravings at next to none!
These oats can really be made any way you like – if you don’t like almond milk, use whatever milk you do like. If you don’t like cinnamon – skip it. (But really, who doesn’t like cinnamon?) All I’m saying is that there are so many ways to make overnight oats and none of them are wrong.

This is exactly the kind of recipe that proves you don’t have to skip out on good food in order to eat healthy.
Fuel the fire with overnight oats! As long as you aren’t spiking it full of high glycemic carbs and excess sugar your body will feel nothing but good! ;)

apple cinnamon overnight oats

Prep time
Total time

Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 royal gala apple; sliced into chunks
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp slivered almonds
  1. Add first 5 ingredients into a mason jar, seal, shake and set in fridge overnight.
  2. Slightly shake jar remove lid and enjoy topped with slivered almonds, or pour oats into a small bowl and top with slivered almonds.

taken by :


Pink Power! For Mini Whipped’s third birthday, we pulled out all the stops to create a pink paradise for her special day.

Clearly, nature has beat out nurture in creating my 3-year-old’s desire for all things pink. None of the main caretakers in her life are “pink lovers” and yet, Mini Whipped is drawn to all things rose-colored like a Goth is to black.
When she started choosing everything pink and wanted to wear pink clothes every day, I tried to encourage some variety. I would suggest other options offering enticing rewards, “But don’t you want this dolphin to swim around on your blue shirt all day long?!”  I rarely convinced the strong-minded tot. Then one day, I heard her saying to her grandmother with heartfelt emotion, “Grammy, it just makes me SO happy to wear pink.”  After that, I gave up my quest to make her a more well-rounded rainbow and gave in full fledged to the pink power.
Someone gave us colored pellets that turn the bath water blue, yellow or pink. The first time she got in the pink bath she hovered to a new elevation of excitement. She splished and splashed singing about her love for the pink water and even carefully leaned down to touch her cheek to the water professing, “I love you pink tub tub.” At that point, I became a proponent of pink love. If something so simple could bring such joy, I figured I better embrace it. Warnings of losing the priveledge of a pink bath have proved to be my strongest disciplinary force yet.
As we planned for Mini Whipped’s third birthday celebration, we decided to do everything we could to create a pink paradise for her. Her Daddy wore his pink shirt to work, Mommy searched her closet for the only pink she could find (in the underwear drawer), her babysitter wore all pink and we bought pink balloons. The birthday girl was thrilled with the idea of red velvet (dark pink) cupcakes with pink frosting and pink sprinkles.  She requested a special pancake and sausage dinner and Mommy even surprised her with pink pancake batter. They didn’t look very appetizing to us but the guest of honor claimed they were the best tasting pancakes she had ever had.

Parenting involves constant learning. My daughter loves many of the things that I do:  swimming, baking, reading and eating. As she continues to develop and grow into herself, I have realized she is going to find pleasure in some things that I don’t. If those things are healthy, I have learned that I must respect them and help her be her own individual.
There are many things a parent will do to give their child happiness on her birthday like go to two stores to find enough pink food coloring, wear pink underwear and even choke down pepto-bismal colored pancakes while smiling. Happy third birthday my little pink princess. May you continue to find as much easy joy in simple pleasures.

Triple Pink Cupcakes
(red velvet cake with pink cream cheese frosting and sprinkles)
Makes about 18 cupcakes.
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1 t white distilled vinegar
1 t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put paper cupcake cupcakes in a cupcake pan. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa. In another bowl whisk oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla together until combined. Mix wet and dry ingredients together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment just until combined. Fill cupcake cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack completely before frosting.
Pink Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
Pink sprinkles (optional)
Mix softened butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Add powdered sugar little by little. Mix in food coloring to desired color. Put frosting in refrigerator until stiff enough to frost the cakes. Be sure cupcakes are cool before frosting. To make a piping bag, cut just a small tip off the corner of a plastic ziplock bag. Fill with frosting and squeeze out in a circular, pinwheel onto the cupcakes started on the outside and circling inward. Decorate with sprinkles.

taken by :