June 2016 archive

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles with Strawberries

The start of summer and the end of popsicle week 2016 means roasted apricot and Greek yogurt popsicles all around.

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles-7

One of my favorite parts of summer is the fresh fruit. Just look at those bright, delicious apricots! I have had many a plum, peach and pluot, but don’t usually gravitate towards apricots. While we continue to make cakes, cookies, and especially pies in the summer months, fresh, sweet fruits and frozen desserts are some of the most refreshing treats. I love using fruit in popsicles because you get the benefit of both!

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles-1

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles-3

Roasting stone fruits brings out the natural sweetness and enhances the depth of flavors. The roasted apricots pair well with creamy Greek yogurt and fresh, sweet strawberries – or really any berries you have on hand. Will and I came across a huge blackberry bush on Saturday and now I’m dying to try these with freshly picked blackberries, still warm from the heat of the sun on the bramble patch. These roasted apricot and Greek yogurt popsicles are the perfect summer to keep on hand for those warm nights when you just want to sit on the steps outside and enjoy the late rays of sunshine that match the colors of the popsicles.

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles-4

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles-6

These come right at the heels of Popsicle Week 2016, hosted by Billy at Wit and Vinegar. There are so many other great popsicle ideas out this week by lots of talented bloggers. Some with fruit, some with ice cream, some with chocolate – if you want a popsicle you can find it there. When I was coming up with ideas for these popsicles and looking at inspiration from past popsicle weeks, I found myself wanted to make everything in frozen ice pop form. Don’t be surprised if you see another popsicle recipe around here in these hot months ;).

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles-5

Roasted Apricot and Greek Yogurt Popsicles with Strawberries

Apricot Layer
1 pound apricots (9-10 small apricots)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar or other sweetener (I used coconut sugar)
1 cup water

Greek Yogurt Layer
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt*
2 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
3 tablespoons milk

4 ounces strawberries, chopped (optional)

To make the apricot layer
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet and set aside.

Halve and pit the apricots and place the halves onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Toss the apricots with the sugar and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the apricots are soft, release some liquid, and start to caramelize around the edges. Remove the fruit from the oven and cool to room temperature. Once they are cool, use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to blend the roasted apricots with the water and the honey until smooth. Set aside.

To make the Greek yogurt layer
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, honey and milk.

To assemble
Fill your popsicle molds about 1/3 full with the apricot mixture, layer in a few chopped strawberries, divide the Greek yogurt mixture between the molds, create another layer of chopped strawberries, and top with the remaining apricot mixture. Use a popsicle stick to swirl the flavors together and freeze for about 1 hour or until the pops begin solidify. Once they begin to get slightly firm, place popsicle sticks in each one and continue to freeze for at least 3-5 more hours, or overnight.

wanderlust: inspiration

Summer is here, and with it comes the season of vacations and travel for many people. I have already vicariously followed along on many of the foreign and road trips that pop up in my Instagram feed and, while I wish I was there too, it is so fun to see the photos. With so many beautiful pictures of new adventures and far off places, my wanderlust kicks in big time and I get the urge to travel, travel, travel! Unfortunately, limitations by vacation days, money and an already busy summer schedule cut down on the amount and scope of travels. Around this time last year I spent a weekend with friends in DC then was so lucky to be able to jet off with family and friends to England and Scotland (you can see more of those travels here, here and here). While we don’t have a trip abroad in the agenda this year, there are so many places I would love to go, both abroad and in the US.

I follow a few blogs that are great at taking gorgeous photos and detailing their itinerary and the great places they went for food, lodging, etc. Below I have rounded up a portion of the destinations that are in my wanderlust list, that I hope to get to someday. I have been very fortunate to have already had the opportunity to travel to some places that would be on many bucket lists either with my family or through my study abroad travels, which don’t appear on this list (in case you were wondering why France, Italy, Amsterdam, etc aren’t here). I am always gathering inspiration for new places to travel and adding places to my list, so this is by no means comprehensive, but we’ve got to start somewhere!

Wanderlust Barefoot Blonde Ireland 2

Amber Fillerup and her family recently took a trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland (with two babies!).  I had never seen this kind of landscape, so when she and her husband posted a photo of Giant’s Causeway, on the coast of Northern Ireland, I was enthralled.

Wanderlust Barefoot Blonde Moscow

On the same month-long trip, their family visited Moscow.  This photo looks like it could be on a life-sized Candyland board.

Wanderlust Barefoot Blonde Norway

(more…)

happy father’s day!

Happy father's day!

Happy Father’s Day to the best dad in the world!

You are the most innovative, creative, fun-loving person I know and your love and thoughtfulness shine through every day! You taught us to work hard, stay creative, always learn new things and love what we do. Thank you for teaching us, supporting us and encouraging us all the time. I am so so lucky to have you as a dad. Happy father’s day!

link love

Happy Friday and welcome to another edition of link love! I hope you have had a fabulous week and have great things planned for Father’s Day weekend.

link love 6.17.2016

via Pinterest

Since tomorrow is national brunch day (who comes up with these faux holidays?), we’ll start off with these cute chocolate-injected doughnut holes.

Apple released the new updates that are coming to iMessage recently. Some features are cool, but some are just going to make people stay on their phones longer, which I don’t think is a great or necessary update. I don’t want to have to stare at my phone to see some new-fangled handwritten laser show every time I get a text. I’m sure I will like it more when it actually comes out, but right now it seems like a bit much. Chill, Apple.

I came across these life lessons this week that are applicable to people of all ages. And there is a recipe for chocolate dulce de leche caramel cookies, so that doesn’t hurt.

I grew up watching Mary Kate and Ashley movies, and probably saw every one of them on some sleepover or another. The twins turned 30 yesterday (which makes me feel old), but these photos of them in their younger years are priceless.

I am fully and admittedly obsessed with the West Wing. I could watch that show over and over again and still love it every time. Last week there was a West Wing reunion at the ATX Television Festival. I obviously read everything about the reunion and all of the cast members, and now I really want to follow this podcast.

Speaking of politics, what if other female firsts in history were covered like Hillary’s historic nomination? I can’t even decide which of these is my favorite. They are all so good.

And this week we were reminded that love is love is love is love is love. Let us always remember that.

happy 2nd anniversary!

Two years ago today we exchanged vows and said, “I do” to a life together forever, for better or worse. I would do it again 1000 times!

2nd wedding anniversary

2nd wedding anniversaryThe past two years have flown by and it definitely doesn’t seem like it has been two years since our wedding day, but at the same time we have created so many memories since that day. One of my favorite parts of our ceremony was something I had never seen before – the blessing of the hands. At some point in our wedding planning process, my mom mentioned that a nice component of a wedding she had recently attended, performed by our pastor, was this portion called the “Blessing of the Hands.” She encouraged us to look at it and potentially include it in our ceremony. Now that I look back at the blessing after two years of marriage, I get teary eyed realizing that we have already witnessed so many of the items on this list.

Blessing of the Hands

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In times of joy, sorrow, struggle and triumph, we reach out our hands in love. In times of sickness and health, we aid each other in love. In crazy busy times and in relaxing moments, we relish any time we can be together, side by side with our best friend. It takes love, commitment, dedication and work, but it is all worth it. So today, two years after receiving this blessing, I once again reach out my hands to the wonderful husband beside me, and remember what these hands have done and will do today, tomorrow, and forever.

Happy anniversary, Will!

2nd wedding anniversary

blueberry bundt cake with streusel and lemon glaze

I interrupt your morning for blueberry bundt cake.  But, not just any blueberry bundt cake; blueberry bundt cake with streusel and lemon glaze!  The combination is jaw-droppingly delicious and I can’t get enough!

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

This is seriously the best bundt cake I have ever had.  The great thing about it is that the streusel makes it like a coffee cake, so it is acceptable for breakfast too!  That’s how that works, right?  Coffee cake for breakfast, bundt cake for dessert – perfect.

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

I made this a few weeks ago for a bridal shower, then again for a group of friends and people came up to me at the party and asked for the recipe!  I don’t know if that has ever happened, but I would have too!  When this came out of the oven and I tried a slice, I immediately cut two more, gave one to Will and told him he had to try it, then, of course, ate the other one.  Usually I will leave it and let him get his own serving if he feels like it, but not with this one.  This one needed to be shared, and it needed to be shared immediately.  It is seriously amazing.

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

Maybe it is because I spent the weekend testing cake recipes that came out too fluffy or in crumbs (and baked in regular round cake pans! Why?!), but a bundt that comes out successfully is always, and now more than ever, a beautiful sight. Sometimes it is like a little bit of magic when it comes out clean. You wait for it to cool down a little so it will come out without falling apart, but not too long or it will be stuck in the pan, then you use a knife to gently loosen the edges. You shake it around to really make sure the whole ring is loose and ready to come out, still wondering whether those little crust pieces of cake are still stuck to the bottom of the pan, and just fooling you so when you dump it out you get a craggy, ugly mess of a ring-shaped cake. But when you do turn it over and it releases perfectly, with no pulls or rips in the cake top, you have to imagine there must have been some kind of fairy dust, voodoo magic, and a Harry Potter spell thrown in that butter-and-flour pan preparation process that you were unaware of, because just look at that cake. A work of art. Whoever came up with the beautiful bundt pan was both crazy and very aesthetically oriented, and I love them for it.

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

With summer and blueberry season right around the corner (or happening now, according to the 95 degree weather this weekend), a blueberry bundt with lemon glaze is a wonderful way to use those lovely plump blueberries.  The great thing about this cake is that, even when you don’t have fresh berries, or when you don’t want to use your precious sweet berries in your baked goods, frozen ones work just as well!  I always thought frozen fruit was just for smoothie making, but my opinions have shifted after trying this with both fresh and frozen berries – zero difference. The cake is perfectly dense – not too light and fluffy, but not too heavy – and the blueberries float throughout the batter.  Streusel baked into the top gives you a slightly crunchy, slightly chewy, perfectly sweet little unexpected treat when you take a bite, and the lemon glaze pairs amazingly with the blueberries and provides a slightly sweeter touch to the cake, with a great touch of tang.  No matter whether you use fresh or frozen berries, you should absolutely make this cake.

Blueberry Bundt with Streusel and Lemon Glaze | passthecookies.com

Blueberry Bundt Cake
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ¼ cups Greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Streusel
2 ½ cup flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted and cooled

Lemon Glaze
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon butter
pinch of salt

To Make the Blueberry Bundt Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, then add the sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat well. Beat in the Greek yogurt.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix just until they are incorporated. Do not over mix. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Add the streusel to the pan first, then pour the batter on top. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t pour the glaze on it or try to move it until it has completely cooled.

To Make the Streusel
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour the melted butter over the flour mixture, and stir or work with your fingers until large crumbs form.

To Make the Lemon Glaze
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the butter to the bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Whisk this mixture together until smooth. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before you pour the glaze over the cooled cake.

 

Cake adapted from Homemade Decadence, streusel from Sara Foster’s NY crumb cake

link love

It’s Friday of a long, busy week and I am ready to settle down with some link love and start the weekend. So, without further ado: link love, ladies and gentlemen.

link love 6.10.2016

via

I took French in school from 6th grade through my freshman year of college, and used it a little to talk to the French girls in my international house when I studied abroad. But since then, my French skills have drastically fallen. I wish it wasn’t that way, that I still remembered everything and could speak in lovely grammatically correct French sentences (though, let’s be honest, they weren’t always grammatically correct to begin with – darn you French for having difficult grammar). For a while I used Duolingo in my free time, which might have worked a little at keeping my language skills sharper. I was always proud of myself when I found lessons easy :) This CEO took it another step and learned French in 17 days. If only we could all learn by living in France.

How amazing are these beautiful brushstroke macarons?! If you are looking to step up your party game, here’s the bar.

The local food movement is constantly growing. With the growth of local food availability and accessibility, rural public health is also changing.

Calling all millennials – how many times do you open snapchat a day? Too many, might be the answer for most of us. Snapchat has found a better way than most apps to include sponsored ads (see some of those filters you like using?), and the company that is now “worth” more than a billion dollars! Insert big-eyed emoji face at that.

Our country’s history is full of rocky relationships and embarrassing times that many people don’t like to discuss much. However, it all needs to be discussed to shape how current students act and affect the future of our nation. AP US History was one of the most difficult classes I took in high school, but one of my favorite. Even though I love learning about history, I understand how many students detest it. But there are more fun ways to learn about American history, the good and the bad, and theater might be one of them. Hamilton, anyone?

Last, but definitely not least, have you seen the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child photos? I won’t be going to London anytime soon, but I’m super excited about it, nonetheless! In case you missed it, they revealed the Potters, the Granger-Weasleys, and the Malfoys, dressed in their costumes. Seeing the new characters makes me want to go back and reread the original books like I did the summers when they came out!

june goals

June Goals

June is off to a crazy busy start, without much down time in sight.  Since we are now in the first full week of the month, I thought I would give an update on my May goals, and add and adjust some for June.  I was a little overzealous with my goals in May, especially since we had so much going on after we moved, in addition to unpacking and trying to settle into our new place.  I did still accomplish a lot that wasn’t on my goals list, which was great, but difficult to show when I looked back at what I did and didn’t check off the list.  I think my June goals are more on track and more reasonable.  Here’s to June and a new month of challenges and accomplishments!

Update on May Goals:
Unpack – I did a little, but still not fully done. It’s going on the list until we’re done!
Go strawberry picking -:( so sad, we didn’t get a chance to pick strawberries this year, but we did see the beautiful strawberries above at our local farmers’ market!
Get into an evening routine, including time for blogging again
Plant our plants in their pots
Make practice cakes as dry runs for a wedding this summer – made lots of cookies, but no cake :(
Get some blog posts ready to go
Get glass or acrylic cups/jars for the bathroom – looked for them!
Take it slow on Memorial Day

June Goals:
Unpack and set up guest bedroom
Celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary (!)
Make a practice wedding cake
Hang curtains (living room, bedroom, guest bedroom)
Create blog posts to have on hand for the busy month of July
Finish raised garden bed and transplant herbs, veggies and flowers

Continual goals for the end of spring/beginning of summer:
Plant an herb garden
Build raised garden
Make a plan for building a headboard
Make a meal plan for the week and stick to it – we’re doing well at this so far!
Try a new dinner or appetizer recipe
Find art I like for the living area
Do something to encourage a friend
Take more walks
Go to the farmers’ market and the flea market
Start reading a new book
Make time for friend dates
Have fun with friends and family at weddings!
Explore our area

lemon ginger butter cookies

The heat and humidity of summer have officially arrived and it is blazing outside. All I want when I come inside from the hot weather is something fresh. These lemon ginger butter cookies are crisp and bright with a fresh lemon flavor and a slight bite from the candied ginger. The perfect summer combination!

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I love lemon, but growing up we never had lemon flavored dishes or desserts because neither of my parents like the flavor. Lemon makes everything a little brighter and pairs so well with so many other flavors – both savory and sweet. This isn’t the first encounter with the lemon-ginger pairing on this blog. Remember the no-churn lemon gingersnap ice cream from last summer? We’re taking the ginger to another level and combining the flavors in a crisp, shortbread-like slice-and-bake butter cookie for a sophisticated summer dessert.

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Lemon and ginger go so well together in desserts; the spicy ginger cuts some of the sweetness, and the lemon balances it out well. These lemon ginger butter cookies are easy to throw together and, while they do take a little chilling time, are great to keep in the fridge or freezer for when guests pop by on short notice. The house will smell delicious when they arrive and you will seem so much more put together and prepared than you actually are (or maybe that’s just me). If you are feeling like a real Martha Stewart you can roll the logs of dough in sugar before refrigerating. Fancy, fancy.

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I picked up the candied ginger for these cookies from Trader Joe’s, where there were two candied ginger options. Why we need two types of candied ginger in such a tiny store, I’m not sure. One of the candied ginger bags was labeled “Sweet and Spicy,” while the other was labeled “Sweet and Smooth.” Lies. There is no such thing as sweet and smooth candied ginger at Trader Joe’s, don’t be fooled by their marketing ploy. Sure, compared to sweet and spicy, which makes the back of your throat catch on fire, the sweet and smooth is smoother, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is actually smooth. The smooth version is definitely less spicy than the package labeled as spicy, but it still has the bite that any kind of ginger should include. Don’t worry, it won’t make your cookies spicy, but keep in mind your taste preference when you are picking out your candied ginger. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I’m not quite ready for the heat and humidity the summer brings, but if it means more of these lemon ginger butter cookies, I think I can handle it.

Lemon Ginger Butter Cookies
makes about 3 dozen
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
¼ cup candied ginger, chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes. The mixture should be pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix until combined.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and salt. Mix until well combined, about another 2 minutes. Fold in the chopped ginger.

Separate the dough into two equal halves and shape each half into a log, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold (at least 1 hour).

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the logs into ¼-inch-thick rounds and place each round about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until slightly golden, about 15-20  minutes. As butter cookies, these will be sandy cookies, but if you like your cookies less crisp, bake them for less time and don’t let the edges reach a golden color.  Store unbaked dough in the refrigerator or freezer, and baked cookies in an airtight container.

national doughnut day recipe roundup

Happy National Doughnut Day! In honor of this fun fabricated holiday, in place of today’s link love, we are doing a doughnut roundup!  I have done the difficult research to find lots of delicious doughnut (or donut) recipes for your viewing, and maybe tasting, pleasure.  If you’re not into making your own doughnuts, here is a list of places where you can score a free fried dough ball today.

I admit, I have not successfully made doughnuts before (I attribute the failure of my past doughnut making attempt to the fact that I tried to transport the dough before cooking it.  Why, why did I do that?), but it is something I really want to try again!  The closest I’ve gotten is doughnut muffins.  I think I could start with the baked ones and work my way up to the yeasted ones.  Maybe I would have more success with that? What better way to start than with a great recipe? (more…)

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