That time of the month in which I choose everything I’m going to try. Mostly 4 things per category with a few exceptions for a bonus if we have time. You can choose any categories you like! These are just things that are important to me. And choose more or less depending on how much time you have!
In May I want to be outside, be present, and be focused on my family. I do have two little personal goals for the month – everyday blog posting and everyday workouts. I am the type of person who thrives when doing something every day rather than once in a while. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s all going!
Bake (for the weekend)
Last Day of School Bake – Last year I did donuts, the year before, a cake. I’m feeling a pie this year. What do you think?
I know I’ve talked about Lemon Everything for spring, but you know what else I am in love with this time of year? Lavender. I bought a giant package of food grade lavender for different treats this month. I’m making lavender lemonade, lavender tea, lavender simple syrup for lavender lattes, and a couple weeks ago I started my lavender adventures with a yummy little lavender cake. The thing you have to remember is that lavender can be pretty strong. You have to be pretty into it to really enjoy these treats. Maybe you don’t know if you like lavender! Maybe you should try it! I really love it, and think it’s beautiful, soul filling to cook with, and maybe you will too.
Lavender Cake with Lavender Frosting
For the cake: 1/2 cup milk, plus 2 tablespoons to be used in frosting below 2 tablespoons culinary lavender 2 eggs, at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract zest of one lemon 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 3 tablespoons mild-flavored vegetable oil
For the frosting: 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, at room temperature 2 cups powdered sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 tablespoons lavender milk (from above)
Prepare the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch round pan or 9-inch square pan with butter and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Over medium heat, bring the milk and lavender to a boil. After it comes to a boil, turn off heat, cover with lid and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix with a fork.
Using mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds on medium speed and then gradually add the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on medium speed for another 4 minutes or until light in color and fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon zest and beat until combined.
With the mixer still on medium speed, gradually add the eggs. On low speed, add the flour mixture and then the oil and 1/2 cup of your lavender milk, making sure to reserve 2 tablespoons for your lavender frosting; mix until just combined. Don’t overbeat. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 40-50 minutes. When a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed, remove the cake from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the cake to gently release. Invert the cake, peel off the pieces of parchment paper and cool on a wire rack.
To make the frosting:
Cream butter in mixer with paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar and vanilla.
Add your lavender milk and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes. If it seems too thick – add a bit more milk, if it seems too thin – add more powdered sugar.
Make sure to wait until your cake is completely cooled before frosting or you may be dealing with a slippery, sliding mess.
April! The month of daffodils and misty rain and easter goodness. If you’re new here – at the start of each month, I choose four-ish things to do in different categories. Think of it like a bucket list for the month. Just a few things that I want to get around to doing without the month passing me by. I hate that feeling of “oh, we didn’t get to x, y or z”. This really helps me stay focused on the things that are important to me. Categories can be anything you choose, these are just my priorities! I hope you try it sometime!
When you hear the word Spring, what do you think of first? My answer: Lemon. Second answer: Daffodils. I’ll save the daffodils for another day, but the color, the smell, the feelings I get when I close my eyes and taste lemons – it just screams Spring. Don’t you think? I could admittedly go for lemon at any time of year. Lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon tart, lemon poppyseed bread, lemonade, yes, even lemon butter popcorn. Give them all to me. But especially around this time of year, I really crave everything lemon. I made this pasta on Sunday night, and I didn’t really know how much the lemon would come through, but it ended up being so very good. Different than Alfredo or Mac and Cheese, yummier than Pasta al Limone. The lemon makes it zippy and fresh. The perfect meal for a lovely evening in Spring. I highly recommend grilling chicken and trimmed asparagus (wrapped up into foil a foil packet, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper) and adding that to your bowl too as we did. And if you needed any more convincing – even my kids ate this one.
Creamy Lemon Garlic Pasta
1 pound angel hair pasta 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoon flour 3/4 cup chicken stock 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving zest and juice of one lemon kosher salt and pepper, to taste chopped/torn parsley, to garnish
Fill a large pot of water and add a few pinches of salt. Bring to boil, add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute until golden. Add wine and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Add butter, and whisk until melted. Sprinkle in flour and cook, whisking constantly until incorporated. Pour in chicken stock, heavy cream, parmesan, salt and pepper. Turn heat to high, bringing liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring often until it begins to thicken ~10 minutes or so.
Remove from heat, stir in lemon zest and juice. Add pasta, mixing into sauce with tongs until all strands are coated. Serve, topping with grilled chicken, fresh parmesan, and parsley.