Raspberry Swirl Zucchini Bread

Zucchini, zucchini everywhere – and way too much to eat. Summer in Northern California means vegetable gardens exploding with huge over-ripe food. In a world full of zucchini, where’s a girl to go?

My family loves zucchini – but during this time of year I start to get this, “If you grill zucchini for dinner one more time….😠” sort of look from them. I hate wasting food, so I get creative. 

The Zucchini Warehouse

Here is a list of all zucchini related recipes on Sweetest Lemonade. It’s such a diverse vegetable. More are sure to come!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Your Kids Will Eat. Seriously, this one’s to die for. My oldest (now nine) asked me to make this recipe into cupcakes for his class when it was his birthday!

Time Saving Pasta Sauce. Ever heard of zoodles? Here’s a bomb sauce we love with zoodles.

Honey Sesame Pork Chops are not just amazing, but surreal with some fresh zucchini added to the sauce!

Savory Chicken Veggie Soup is ready for you as fall starts to appear!

And last but not least, our newest recipe 👇

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Yes this bread is gluten free and dairy free. You should know this about me by now! Unless specified otherwise, you’ll find we bake this way regularly. We like to use alternative sugars as well. This one features coconut sugar!




Clean Carrot Cake

I love a good challenge. The kind that scares me slightly, makes me question my capabilities and forces me to do my best. It might sound ridiculous, but that’s what this cake did.

I love a good carrot cake, but a good carrot cake is hard to come by! I don’t quite understand it myself, but many carrot cakes turn out very dry. I also want to taste more than just carrots in my cake. There are so many flavors that compliment carrots. A carrot cake should be creative and fun!

I chose ginger and pineapple as my two complimenting flavors. The ginger leaves a tiny bite at the end of each mouthful. The pineapple draws out the natural sweet in the carrots and creates a soft textured “crust” underneath the cake.

This cake can stand alone without frosting. That was really important to me simply because it’s hard to make a cream cheese frosting without cream cheese, and a lot of people have a hard time with dairy (myself included). So while the cake can be frosted, it doesn’t have to be. How neat is that?!?

Biting into this cake, you’ll notice the consistency is spot-on for a regular cake. I love the idea of a cake that can bring people to the light-which is that eating real food doesn’t have to be gross. It can be delicious and nutritious! This cake is gluten free, dairy free and butter/oil free. I used apple sauce instead of any kind of fat. That also helped get the right moisture for a carrot cake. A carrot cake should be moist throughout, but hold itself well while cutting into it.

Invite some friends over, sway them to the dark light side of life and indulge in some carrot cake! This is a great starter dish for those skeptical about a healthy lifestyle. As always, I linked some of the ingredients to Amazon for quick purchasing. Enjoy!

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Pomegranate Sherbet

The heat was horrid. The kids and I were trying to make do, but we’d had enough. Every time the front door opened I could hear myself calling out, “Shut the door, you’re letting the heat in”. My husband was going through 6 gallons of water a day to keep from becoming dehydrated. The water in the pool was so hot we couldn’t even swim!

I did what any mom with 3 melting children would do. I put them in a cold bath and made sherbet.

Sherbet is great because it doesn’t require an ice cream maker. You can simply freeze it! This recipe makes excellent sherbet by freezing in 3 stages. First, you pour the blended liquid into a freezer safe Tupperware container. After an hour, use a fork and whisk it. This keeps the fat from separating with the sugar. In another hour to hour and a half, repeat this process. The sherbet will be mostly thick now, almost a thick milk shake consistency. Let the ice cream freeze for another 2 hours and serve! It scoops nicely right out of the container.

I just love the color of this sorbet too. The pomegranate flavor is cool and refreshing.

Try it yourself! Feel free to use this recipe in an ice cream maker if you have one, or just use your freezer.

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Strawberries in Balsamic Yogurt Sauce

Today I’m celebrating. Coffee in hand, kids at school, and complete silence are my party decorations. Something incredible happened this weekend. Our little family of 5 went hiking.

Hiking by itself is nothing new for my crew; what’s new is how we hiked. Minimal planning, and minimal child-holding on the hike. My kids are now 9, 5 and 2 1/2. As you can imagine, the last few years of parenting have come with lots of planning and LOTS of child-holding in order to maintain the life we love. That hike was magical. Our two boys hiked the whole way with no complaining. Our 2 1/2 year old daughter rode in the hiking back pack and only complained because she wanted to walk too. We let her down whenever we stopped to swim and that made her very happy.

My husband and I have been pretty ruthless in keeping what we love regardless of the kids. Meaning, we haven’t stopped hiking, going to concerts, camping, road-tripping, and all around adventuring. We’ve gone into countless activities with the attitude of “this is going to be even better than last time” as opposed to “we’ll just try to cope because the kids are with us this time”. This has become our life mantra.

Sweetest Lemonade was actually named after our intense focus to make not just lemonade out of lemons, but the sweetest lemonade. Life doesn’t have to be “less than” when kids enter your world. Or even when things start to turn sour for that matter. When life gets hard, you still have the choice to make it the best out of what you have.

Parenting is hard, and complaining about it is the easy way out. I choose to live every day enjoying my kids, my messy house and my knack for cooking.

That brings me to today’s recipe. A simple, surprisingly sweet yogurt balsamic sauce dolloped over strawberries.

Plain Greek yogurt gets a bad rap because of its strong tangy flavor and complete lack of sweet. I wish we weren’t all so addicted to sweet (myself included) and could appreciate foods that have other flavors. But, that topic is for another day.

I love the clear red color of this balsamic!

This twist on yogurt is superb. No one would guess a white pomegranate balsamic and a little bit of honey could transform plain Greek yogurt into a snack even your kids will request!

The best part is, this recipe is only 4 ingredients, and perfect for summer![amd-zlrecipe-recipe:91]




Honey Caramel Sauce

Ah, honey caramel sauce. The caramel flavor everyone loves with a light, airy taste. Honey can be used for a variety of things, not just food. I use raw, local honey in all my recipes. This stuff is too good to make into some sort of face mask or hair removal treatment. Some things simply must be eaten.

I am in love with raw honey. The taste alone gets me, but the way it holds its own in recipes has me sold out. I am not new to cooking with honey. When I used to buy generic honey from the store (gasp) I had no clue what was missing. The flavor wasn’t nearly as prevalent and the texture was slightly different.

Getting the ingredient portions right for this recipe was tricky, but definitely worth it. My kids hardly complained about “bad batches” either.😉

Uses For Honey Caramel Sauce

Honestly, I haven’t found a dud, but here is what I know works!

What do you love to do with caramel sauce? Whatever it is try this honey caramel sauce instead of your regular one. Looking for a darker caramel flavor? Click here to read about our caramel sauce using coconut sugar.

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Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake

Did you know that 78% of American families are cooking 5 or more times a week?  For a “cook real food at home” enthusiast like me this is so encouraging! I hear so much about families eating out more and more, or that traditional cooking at home families are dying out. So no true!!

We eat out once a week, depending on what’s going on in our lives. The rest is completely at home, and 90% or more is made from scratch. This lifestyle sounds like a lot of work to some, but it’s really simple! I strategize by cooking a few things ahead of time on Sunday afternoons. Grilled chicken, brown rice and hard boiled eggs are just a few that get made once a week to save time during the week. To read more about meal planning, check out this blog post.

Coconut oil is a great way to prep cake pans.

I’ve learned the beautiful art of cooking with real, whole ingredients and allowing for time in my day to do so. Part of what had to happen is I needed to slow down on the “rush” mentality. The idea that we need everything now- and can’t wait more than 5 minutes for our meals to be ready to eat. I now enjoy the methodical time it takes to create an amazing dish, and how simple it can be in the process. I’m convinced that anyone can cook – and I’m not just talking about chicken nuggets and tater tots😉

These little chocolate cakes are the perfect example. I made these a few times to get the ingredients and baking time just right, but I enjoyed the whole process! My kids had no complaints about the multiple batches either.

Warm chocolate pudding cakes are a great for a coffee date or a decadent dessert. They are gluten free too! The presentation is so fun to see. I made them in 2 different pans. One is a ramekin, which is a small little oven safe dish. When you flip the cakes out of the ramekins, the pudding on the bottom stays in liquid form and pours perfectly oven the cake. I found a great price on a set of ramekins here. I also used a pan of mine that makes little cakes in batches of 6. They look like mini bundt cakes, but without the hole in the middle. When making the recipe in this pan, the pudding layer cooked through, giving a 2-tone affect when the cake is flipped over. Here’s the pan I use for the mini fluted cakes. 

Perfectly baked on top, with the pudding still in liquid state underneath.

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Banana Pecan Muffins

“Mom – she touched me!”

“Well he wouldn’t stop looking at me!”

“That’s because you won’t play with me.”

“I don’t wanna play with you. I’m not a baby anymore!”

“Mom – she called me a baby!”

Crying. Whining. Yelling. Don’t forget the fiery darts coming out of your child’s eyes.

If only whining could be neutralized. Will there ever be a cure?!?

I know what you truly want for Mother’s Day. It’s not breakfast in bed or a bouquet of roses. None of those little coupons promising dishes will be done for a week. You don’t want jewelry either. Okay, I should say you don’t want just jewelry. Sweetest Moms Tip: Don’t ever say no to jewelry.

What you really want is for your children to get along. To stop whining, nagging, tattling and everything else in between.

People, I’ve figured it out. It’s not a séance or new video game that teaches manners either.

There is something you should know. This recipe will calm your kids down. Mellow them out. Create a peaceful environment where everyone can hear themselves think. Can you picture it? I’m still in the stage of not being able to use the bathroom by myself- so you can imagine why I created this recipe.

The Trick

Muffins are a friendly enough food to kids at any age. From toddler to teen, a muffin is a welcome sight.

I’ve disguised these muffins to appear normal, slightly sweet & delicious. Kids will ever know your plan to keep them calm for an afternoon.

Cardamom is a natural anti-depressant and helps reduce muscle spasms. It’s also used for heart issues and stomach pains. Bottom line, by using this spice, you are taking care of multiple things that can make kids cranky. Have you ever experienced the horrors that come with a child having growing pains? Not fun. Or he ate too much at lunch and now everything is making him angry due to gas or a bloated stomach? My son has actually come home sick from school only to find the problem was an upset stomach from lunch time.

Cloves will surprise you. I use ground cloves quite often. Did you know cloves are an amazing remedy for headaches? So whether the whining is causing a headache or the result of one, cloves are important for calming the situation.

Pecans have a wealth of vitamins and nutrients. Possibly lesser known is that nuts have been proven to lower anxiety. No matter what started the whining sound, a lower amount of anxiety will definitely help!

Bananas are simply the best. The can level out your metabolism and be the perfect go-to snack when you’re on the run as a typical banana is only 90 calories. They are high in potassium and have natural occurring sugars in them.

 

So give yourself a treat, make some muffins and put the whole family in a better state of mind. This will be the best Mother’s Day yet! 😉

I am siting Organic Facts for the information listed above about spices and foods.[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:85]

 




Perfect White Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream Frosting

This has been my little secret for 2 years now. Every time guests try the cake at my kids’ birthday parties, they rave about how moist and perfectly flavored it is. I’m sorry I haven’t been in the sharing mood. I’m over that now and ready to tell the world how to make perfect white cake-and this specific recipe is for cupcakes!

It started with unrealistic goals. I wanted a gluten free, dairy free birthday cake for my kids. I didn’t mind if it had white sugar in it because as a family we are okay with that for birthdays. I’ve tried numerous gluten free or dairy free cakes at weddings and events, but nothing ever tasted good enough for me to want seconds. Birthday cake needs to be impressive. Special, just like the kid’s whose birthday it’s for! For that matter, any big event needs to have equally amazing food. That’s only my opinion, but food can really be the “cherry on top” of a great party, or the reason people don’t stick around after the candles are blown out.

I’ve searched Pinterest looking for cakes claiming to be “the best” birthday cake recipe and found nothing within my specifications. Finally, I turned to creating something of my own. I started by reading measurements commonly used for cakes. Then I toyed around with certain gluten free flours that were white in nature. Almond flour was out and so was coconut flour-simply because of the overpowering flavor.

Oat flour, tapioca flour and brown rice flour won out. I tweaked the recipe until I had the right proportions. Then, I exchanged milk for almond milk. The results were incredible. Using egg whites helps keep the cake the right color as well.

For those that follow Sweetest Lemonade because of our reputation for using natural sugars low on the glycemic index, I suggest using coconut sugar or honey instead of white sugar. It will drastically change the color of the cake, but the flavor is still incredible.

How cute are these mini cupcakes? We have a big event coming up this weekend and we’ll be giving out samples of our favorite dishes during cooking demos. I love the pairing of our perfect white cupcakes with a honey buttercream frosting. Honey is such a different kind of sweet, and it is well balanced with the other sugars in this recipe.

Want to know what else you could do with this cake? I’ve made homemade fondant to make fun themed cakes for my kids and this cake holds up really well underneath fondant.

Check out last year’s cakes here! My boys wanted Minions and Minecraft for their “brother” birthday. This year looks like it will be Pac-Man and Pokémon. It’s so fun watching them grow and change their interests.[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:80]




Pomegranate Strawberry Trifle

This is a modern twist on a classic layered dessert. You’ll find links to homemade options for the pudding, angel food cake and whipped cream. This is a great make a day ahead treat. Prepare the layers separately. Make sure you assemble the trifle right before serving!

Step One:

Prepare the angel food cake. This cake can easily be purchased at your local bakery or grocery store. I made an angel food cake from scratch and it was magnificent. This recipe makes the cake slightly more dense than your normal angel food cake, which allowed it to hold together when the layers were poured on. Cut your cake into small 1-inch squares. This will be your first layer for the trifle.

Step Two:

Make the pudding. Here is a link to an amazing homemade pudding. Or you can buy the box at the store. Let the pudding set in the fridge while preparing the other layers.

 

Step Three:

Either make or buy the whipped cream. I personally like homemade whipped cream and used this recipe. If buying the whipped cream, you will most want to buy the kind in a tub, not a can.

 

Step Four:

The berries. I used raspberries and strawberries. You can use any berry you like. I soaked the raspberries in 2/3 cup of pomegranate syrup to make almost a “preserve” layer. The strawberries were sliced to go on the sides of the dish.

Assembling The Trifle Layers

Now for the fun part! If you have kids, this is a fun part to include them in.

  1. Begin with the angel food cake. I used 12-15 pieces of cake each layer.
  2. Next layer 1/3 of your pudding on the cake pieces.  Add in the sliced strawberries around the sides.
  3. Pour 1/2 of the berry mixture on top. If you are wanting clean-cut layers, I suggest draining the berries from the sauce. The sauce runs into the layers.
  4. Get a thick layer of whipped cream on top. I used about 1/3 of my batch for this layer.
  5. Now repeat! Angel food cake, pudding, strawberries, berry sauce, whipped cream.
  6. This recipe makes 2-3 layers depending on your portions per layer. Enjoy!

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Crazy Nana’s Caramel Cakes

I do my best to be a zero-waste kind of gal. Especially when it comes to food. I hate the idea of throwing away food that could have been used. I created these “Crazy Nana’s Caramel Cakes” for those days when you don’t want to throw away your bananas, but also don’t want to make the same banana bread again.

Bananas are precious in our house. We buy 2-3 bunches a week and usually go through them fast. Every once in a while though, the kids slow down in their banana eating craze and I end up with fruit that’s browning past the point of eating. I used to freeze them and make banana bread.

Not anymore!

Why The Crazy In The Nana

Crazy Nana’s Caramel Cakes will not only knock your socks off, but give you a break from the classic banana bread too. They are “crazy” good, especially when you look at how few ingredients there are!

Plus, this recipe uses 4 bananas, when your typical banana bread uses 2-3 bananas. Use more, waste less!

I made them the size of a silver dollar, because in my house changing one little thing makes it fun. My kids feel the same way when I use the leftover batter to make one huge pancake. They love it!

Since they look like pancakes but aren’t, I thought why not change up the syrup too. I made my homemade caramel sauce to drizzle on top. Crazy Nana’s Caramel Cakes are great by themselves, but really standout with the caramel sauce.

I used raw local honey from Chico Honey Company to slightly sweeten the batter. Bananas are a very sweet fruit, so they don’t need much added to them.

We ate these as a dessert, but I’m sure they’d be a fun treat for Saturday morning breakfast! Even my husband who does NOT like bananas ate 7 of these little guys. 😯

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