Vanilla Cake with Caramel and Candied Ginger


I am an AUNTIE! Well, an adopted Auntie. My lovely neighbors had their baby and I got to hold the little cutie pie yesterday.


SO ADORABLE! I digress…

In celebration of a gorgeous 3 day weekend, and a new baby, I decided to bake a cake worth sharing, and eating. Yes, it is another Vanilla cake, but these are my favorite! You can do so much to them.

Vanilla Bean Cake Batter (I have my own recipe, you can find it here)
1 1/2 cups, white granulated sugar
3 cups, white flour
6 eggs
3 cup milk
3 sticks unsalted butter
3 vanilla beans
4 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp vanilla extract

You will also need:
1 1/2 tbs ginger powder
Homemade Caramel (this is the softer kind, aka make the candy and add butter)
Candied Ginger

Since it was only a few of us sharing, I split my cake recipe in half. I also decided to use individual dishes so everyone could indulge in their desert, plus it looked pretty.


Preheat the oven to 350. Make the cake recipe above, or one of your favorites, but don’t forget to add the ginger powder.


Pour the cake into a loaf pan, or like I did, into individual dishes. Use butter to line the pans so the cake doesn’t stick.


Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes if in a loaf pan. If they are smaller sizes, like above, 20 minutes should do it. The same goes for cupcakes, about 20 minutes. In the meantime, dice about 8-10 pieces of candied ginger into slivers. Set aside.


Once the cake is done, set aside and let cool It is time to start the caramel, which should take about 10 minutes.


Once the caramel is complete, and the cake has had time to cool, pour the hot caramel on top of the cakes.


Add the slivered ginger and you are done!


Oh… and don’t forget, ENJOY!


Probably my favorite way to procrastinate from studying is to make cakes and the like… I have a final Wednesday; go figure. Here is a little montage of my weekend to celebrate the amazingness that is CA weather in winter!

Carbless Turkey Lasagna


This past weekend was absolutely GORGEOUS in LA (despite my sports teams… that was dreadful). I spent a lot of time outside and with friends, which inspired this dinner I made Sunday night. Coming home from a hike, I wanted something hearty, but healthy. And I was craving cheese. Ding Ding Ding! How about a lasagna, made with eggplant and butternut squash instead of noodles? Done… and it was delicious.

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion
1 whole tomato
5 cloves garlic
2 tbs bacon fat (olive oil also works fine if you don’t store fat like me)
1 whole Eggplant
1 whole Butternut Squash
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
5 oz shaved Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Parmesean (optional)
12 ounces Mozzarella cheese, in slices or shredded
1 cup milk
4 eggs
Basil (about 20-30 leaves, depending on the size of the pan you use)
1 can tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Lasagna is all about assembly, so starting this is about making the components. Preheat the oven to 350 as well.


Add the bacon fat, or olive oil, to a large sauce pan. Slice the yellow onion into strips and add it to the pan. Get them working. Next, add the ground turkey and mince the 5 cloves of garlic. Get everything cooking and incorporated in the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the turkey is cooking, get a large pot boiling and insert a steamer. I learned on the first round of this lasagna, it is important to steam cook the vegetables first, or the bottom layers will not cook all the way through. If you don’t want to do this step, I think using a mandolin slicer to slice the vegetables really thin will also come out fine.


Slice the eggplant and butternut squash into half circles or rounds. I preferred half circles for geometry’s sake in my pan. Make each slice no more than 1/8 of an inch, and make them consistent! Once they are sliced, steam for about 10 minutes with a lid on the pot to par cook them and start to make the vegetables tender.

The turkey should be done at this point too. Once the turkey is all the way cooked through, remove it from the heat and place to the side. Dice up one tomato and add it to the mixture.


Now it is time for the cheese! Add the Ricotta, Parmesan, 4 eggs, and milk to a bowl. Whisk them all together. Normally, I would not add milk, but I wanted to thin this out to help cook the vegetables in the lasagna. In the end, the milk didn’t make a difference to the taste.


The vegetables should be done steaming at this point. After this, all you need to do is get your assembly line together: veggies, cheese mixture, turkey meat mixture, basil, tomato sauce and the sliced Mozzarella.


Get out your pan and add 1/4 cup tomato sauce and a little bit of the cheese mixture. Coat the bottom of the pan. Start with a layer of eggplant.

The idea here is to just begin to layer. What I did was alternate my turkey and cheese mixture layers in between alternating layers of eggplant and squash. I also made sure the center was a layer of basil and 6 slices of Mozzarella cheese. Every other layer should get a 1/4-1/2 cup of tomato sauce. I think photos tell a better story so here we go:


The top layer is the remaining 6 slices of Mozzarella. I also added about another 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Place it in the 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour.


When the lasagna comes out, it looks cheesy and bubbly and just about like a normal lasagna looks, just no noodles. The eggplant and squash make for delicious amazing layers in the lasagna. Honestly, I didn’t miss the noodles at all and everything tasted just like this pasta dish should have tasted.


Guilt free and oh so yummy. If you want to make it even healthier, you are more than able to buy low fat cheese options to use in this dish. Seeing as I had just gone on a big hike, I opted for the fat.

Weeknight Dinner: Roasted Cauliflower and Green Olives with Lemon Zest Chicken


I got inspired by a Buzz Feed list the other day talking about one pan meals that simplify our life. Brilliant. One of these recipes caught my eye, so I decided to try it out with a little variation. This was one delicious, and simple, one pan meal!

1 head Cauliflower
1 cup medium sized pitted green olives
1/2 red onion
2 chicken breasts
1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


The cauliflower needs to bake a little bit longer than the rest of the dish to get tender. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut up the cauliflower into chunks, about one stem or two per chunk, and place in a baking dish with the 1/4 cup olive oil. Salt and pepper the florettes.


Add the green olives, whole. Next, slice the onion into 1/8 inch slices and add to the dish. Mix the components around to coat in the oil, salt, and pepper. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.


While the cauliflower is roasting, it is time to work on the chicken. To begin, zest one whole lemon. Add the zest to a bowl along with the juice of a lemon. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to the bowl along with salt and pepper. Mix together and set aside.


Take your two chicken breasts and cut into chunks. Add it to the lemon mixture in the bowl. Coat all the pieces of chicken with the zest and juice mixture.


Once the cauliflower has been roasting for 25 minutes, remove from the oven. Push all the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the chicken in a single layer on the other side.


Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the chicken is almost cooked through. Next, mix everything in the dish together, vegetables and chicken, to incorporate all the flavors. Bake for another 10 minutes.


Remove from the pan and serve as is or over a bed of rice. I took mine to work the next day and had a delicious lunch in the office. Enjoy!

Quinoa and Kale Salad


After an intense workout, the last thing you want to do it put crap into your body. I came home from my Krav Maga class tonight craving a body pick me up that gave me energy in the best way possible. From fresh grains and vegetables.

I am not usually one to jump on the “food trend” chain, but quinoa is a grain I can totally get on board with. This salad is filling, pungent, and oh so yummy. Did I mention it’s gluten free?

To start, you have to make a vinaigrette that should sit and marinate while you make the rest of the salad.

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallots
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon dry dill

The vinaigrette is easy; just throw everything together and mix. Set aside to be used later.


1/2 cup quinoa, raw (1 cup cooked)
Pinch Salt
4 cups loosely packed julienned kale
Apple Cider vinaigrette
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 whole medium diced tomatoes
2 dates, diced
1/4 cup crumbled Feta
1/4 cup grated Havarti cheese (optional, although I like the way it blends and melts into the salad)

Begin this wonderful salad by getting that quinoa going! The ratio to cook the lovely grain is about 1:2 but I like to pour a tablespoon or two. Boil the water and add the grain, reducing to a simmer and covering the whole mess. Although to simmer for about 15-20 minutes.


The next steps involve getting those veggies and delicious yummy add ins going! Chop the kale and place in a bowl. You do NOT want to add the stem as it is super tough. I cut along the side of the stem, collect the leaves, and chop away.


Next add the pine nuts. Small dice the tomato and on top of the kale. Lastly, remove the pits from the dates and chop the fruit into dime size pieces. The quinoa should also be done by now. Drain any excess water and take it off the heat. You can use cold quinoa you have made already too. Both taste delicious.


Pour the vinaigrette on top of the kale mixture. Next, add your Feta and Havarti cheese. Toss everything together. Once everything is incorporated, add the quinoa. Fold everything together.


Once the quinoa has been incorporated, there is nothing left to do but eat! This salad makes an amazing main course or a great side dish to your favorite protein. It can be served room temperature or cold, so next time you have a picnic to plan or a party to take care of, make this ahead of time, refrigerate, and bring in a pretty dish.