Recipe: Carrot Cake Donuts

Here's the thing: jetlag is a killer.

Anyone who follows me over on Instagram knows that G and I spent the end of February/beginning of March in Kathmandu, Nepal for a wedding/vacation. This is by far the furthest from home I've ever been and I knew jetlag would be an issue coming home. We planned to land home on a Friday afternoon so we would have a full weekend to sleep and get back up to speed. By I severely underestimated this jetlag. After an initial weekend of sleeping, we spent all of last week going to work and sleeping. By the end of the week I found myself on a wonderful schedule where I would fall asleep at 8 pm and wake up at 4am ready to go for the day. πŸ™„

Saturday was the first day I started to feel like a normally functioning human being and I made you these Carrot Cake Donuts in celebration. Happy first week of spring!

Carrot Cake Donuts

Yields 18 donuts

For Donuts:
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
rainbow sprinkles
toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a donut baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make your donuts: In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to combine and aerate the flours. Add the cubes of butter and using a pastry blender (or your hands), cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and sand-like. You'll want tiny pieces of butter throughout the mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until fluffy. Add in yogurt and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula. Once dough comes together, fold in grated carrot and walnuts and mix until combined.

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe the batter evenly among the wells of the greased pan. Before placing into the oven, lightly tap the donut pan on a flat countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Make your frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together softened butter and cream cheese. Slowly add in powdered sugar and vanilla extract until all is combined. If your frosting needs to be softer, add in milk one tablespoon at a time until you have your desired consistency. Using an off-set spatula, frost your donuts and top with toasted coconut or rainbow sprinkles.

I find that because of the moisture level in the donuts, it’s best to eat these within 24 hours, or stack on a plate and wrap with plastic wrap. Keeping the donuts in an airtight container may cause them to sweat and the frosting to soften. Enjoy!

Recipe: Berry Smoothie Bowl

For a while now, smoothie bowls were something I never thought much of. I loved looking at photos of them on the internet, but actually making one seemed unnecessary to me. It's just like eating a lumpy smoothie with a spoon. 

But while spending the day at the beach, I saw a ton of people sitting on the beach eating these gorgeous looking pink bowls filled with fruit. After hunting down where they were from, and also what they were (pitaya bowls!), I knew I needed one (and then maybe another one for the trip home...). I was hooked. It's like smoothie soft serve and I haven't stopped eating these at home.

I do have to give credit to my friend, Chelsea, for teaching me how to properly freeze a banana. Pro tip: don't freeze it with the peel on. 

Berry Smoothie Bowl

Makes one very large bowl

Smoothie Bowl
1 banana
1 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

Toppings
1/2 cup granola
3 strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons of toasted coconut

Peel the banana and place in a bowl in the freeze for a minimum of an hour.

Once semi-frozen, blend the banana together with frozen berries, yogurt, and water. Once fully blended, spoon into a large bowl and top with any toppings of your choice. I went with toasted coconut, blueberries, raspberry, strawberries, and granola. Eat immediately.

Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

It's been a little while since we baked together, friends! So I wanted to ease you back in with a simple recipe that takes under 30 minutes to throw together. We're making a crisp because it's simple, versatile, and delicious. It's also one of my favorite treats because you can make it for dessert and serve it with ice cream and then reheat the leftovers for breakfast the next day. And we aren't skimping on the topping either, since that's really the best part. Let's get to it... 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Yields 8 servings

2 cup strawberries, chopped into small pieces
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 lemon
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set aside a 8x8 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together strawberries, rhubarb, cornstarch, juice from half a lemon, and sugar until everything is combined and the fruit is coated. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and melted butter until combined and mixture is crumbly. 

Add fruit mixture and any juices from the bowl into the baking pan and spread out evenly using a rubber spatula. Using your hands, sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the fruit so that the fruit is completely covered. Bake for 30-40 minutes until fragrant, the fruit is cooked through and bubbly, and the top is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream. 

Recipe: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Poptarts

Do you have things from your childhood lunches that you think about every once in a while? Things that maybe don't exist any longer or maybe just don't exist in your house? For me, it's definitely poptarts, dunkaroos, and those mini packs of fruit snacks (particularly the dinosaur ones). These were things that I didn't have all the time and felt like a treat to get in my lunch. And honestly, would still feel like a treat if someone packed my adult lunch for me!

But the Brown Sugar Cinnamon poptarts were definitely my favorite growing up, and I still pick them up from time to time when I'm traveling and can't get my hands on anything good for breakfast. And while in LA a few weeks ago, I actually had two different homemade poptarts, which is where the inspiration for these came from! 

These little guys are semi-homemade in that I didn't feel like making pie crust from scratch for these. We're unrolling some refrigerated crust to make these easy. If you want completely homemade poptarts, feel free to use your own pie crust recipe. I'm sure they're be fabulous.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Poptarts

Yields 8 poptarts

For Poptarts:
2 pre-made refrigerated pie crusts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg

For Cinnamon Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour until combined. Set filling aside.

Unroll circle of pie crust onto a flat surface. Using a rolling pin, thin out the crust until the circle is an inch or two wider. This is not necessary, but the thinner crust makes for a better crust to filling ratio. Using a ruler and a pizza cutter, remove the top, bottom, and sides of the circle so you have a square. Slice that square in half lengthwise and then into thirds vertically, so you are left with 6 small rectangles. 

In a small bowl, whisk the egg to use as an egg wash. On a baking sheet, place one crust rectangle and spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center. Make sure to leave a border around the edges of the crust filling free. Press the filling down lightly but you still want a dome of filling. Using a brush or the back of a spoon, liberally brush egg wash along the border. Add another crust on top and press them together with the twines of a fork. Using a toothpick, poke several holes in the top crust for air to escape. Repeat with other poptarts.

Bake 13-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, and cinnamon until the frosting is thick but pourable. If too thick, add heavy cream in small increments. Spoon frosting onto poptarts. Optional: top with sprinkles.  

Recipe: Cinnamon Chai Granola

Getting up for work is something that I'm downright bad at. It doesn't seem to matter when I go to bed, if I shower or have already showered the night before, or how late I move my start time back, I'm just not good at getting out of bed for work. So the idea of me sitting down and eating breakfast at home before work is actually absurd. No way, no how.

But over the years I have become quite good at bringing breakfasts to work that are easy to throw together, filling, and not too awful for me. Obviously there are days when I just grab a latte and donut or pick up some bagels on the way in, but on days when I'm looking for a slightly healthier options I stick with yogurt, fruit and some granola.

I like making granola at home because it's incredibly easy and way cheaper than buying it premade. Plus, you get to control what's included. This one is made up of a bunch favorites of mine: chai spices, cinnamon, almonds, and coconut. 

Cinnamon Chai Granola

Makes one small baking sheet's worth

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup shaved coconut**
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.

In a larger bowl, mix together oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt until combined and everything is evenly coated. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat butter, sugar and honey over low heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extra. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated and clumpy. Turn out onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, removing from the oven and flipping with a metal spatula every 5 minutes. Once granola begins to brown, remove pan from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, store in a airtight container.

My favorite eat to use up granola? Stirred into greek yogurt with either bananas or apple slices, and topped with more coconut and a drizzle of honey.

**I used shaved coconut from the bulk section of Whole Foods. You can substitute shredded coconut, but sweetened shredded coconut will obviously make the granola sweeter!