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There is just something about the smell of lemons. I adore cooking or baking with them because the kitchen smells so fresh and it just puts me in a cheery mood. I especially like baking with them after a long winter of using heavier ingredients. I find myself leaning towards lighter desserts.

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I recently made this cake for Easter as a birthday cake for our aunt, but it would also make a lovely Mother’s Day cake as well. There are a lot of steps, but it creates such a light cake that you’ll be very happy and the more often you make it you’ll realize it’s pretty easy to whip up. Make the cake in advance, drizzle the glaze over it about 15 minutes before serving, and you’re all set!

While a bundt cake isn’t necessarily “light” the fresh lemon taste gives you that feeling. What I like about this recipe is the lemon flavor is subtle. It’s just enough and not overpowering. Usually I bake with Meyer lemons to have a lighter taste, but there is no need here!

**If you don’t have nonstick baking spray with flour, mix 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon flour into a paste and brush inside the pan.
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Light Lemon Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray with flour
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest, finely grated from 4 lemons
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup whole  milk, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray the inside of a standard 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.

Whisk the flour, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, zest, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg yolks, oil, butter, and vanilla together.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on low speed until just broken and foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to beat, adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form stiff peaks.

Slowly whisk the milk mixture and lemon juice into the flour mixture until smooth. Fold on third of the beaten egg whites into the batter until combined, smearing any stubborn pockets of egg white against the side of the bowl. Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter.

Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top. Wipe any drops of batter off the sides of the pan. Bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Do not overbake!

Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely, 1 to 2 hours. When cool, drizzle with the glaze and let the glaze set before serving, about 15 minutes.

Light Lemon Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest

Whisk all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let set for 15 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 250 Calories, 8g Fat, 3, Sat Fat, 50 mg Cholesterol, 3g Protein, 1g Fiber, 200mg Sodium.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, July 2008


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Our family has experienced a lot of big moments in the past few months. Our son George was born, we enjoyed the holidays as a family of four, lots of family events and work opportunities, and of course the most recent celebration was my daughter’s fourth birthday just a few weeks ago. In between all of these major moments, we’ve done our best to take in life’s little moments that are just as sweet. As we adjust to being a family of four, we make it a point to enjoy the smaller moments that create our life, that we work so hard for. I’ve always loved to throw a party and believe that it doesn’t take that much more additional effort to create something a little more special. It only takes a few minutes and has such a great impact. When my daughter’s first ballet class was coming to an end and they had their showcase for the family, I knew I wanted to do a little something special for her. Having a small brunch at home with a few family members was easy to pull together and she thought it was just as wonderful as a birthday party or a big holiday dinner. By setting everything up as a buffet, it made the morning more festive and using fun tableware by Dixie® not only set the decor but was easy for clean up as well! Dixie Ultra Moments® Tableware helps you take care of the details so you can enjoy your moment now. Dixie Ultra Moments® premium coordinating designs bring style to any occasion.

Dixie 1 Whether you are planning a brunch weeks in advance or last minute, there are a few easy ways to make your life easier as a host. In my case, we were attending the showcase and then heading back at the same time our guests would be arriving. So, I opted out of anything that would require lengthy cooking times. Instead, I went with some things that were previously frozen, like muffins, and some quick cooking items like sausage, bacon, and eggs. I also had a large fruit spread which is always a favorite, but can be prepped in advance and always adds color to any buffet. For presentation’s sake, ditch the carton and pour your beverage into a nice pitcher. So what if it isn’t fresh squeezed? It looks a lot nicer! Think of who you are planning this for. Since this was for my daughter, I made sure to have her favorite items, like cinnamon rolls and grapes. I also made sure to have things easily accessible to her and that I wasn’t worried she would drop or break. Dixie Ultra Moments® plates are unique 8-sided plates built with a deep rim, durable construction and Soak Proof Shield®. They’re strong enough to hold up for any gathering or party. Dixie 4 Brunch is always one of my favorite meals. You can really have fun with your menu, it’s relatively low maintenance, and it’s really underappreciated when having folks over. You can put something together so easily, whether you make everything yourself or hit your local market and raid their produce and bakery sections. You have enough time in the morning to get ready and you still have your afternoon once your guests have left! Remember, sometimes it’s fun to do things a little out of your ordinary. Find everyday things to celebrate. My daughter absolutely loves when I bring out fun plates and napkins. Add a little garnish to her drink or have a fresh bouquet of flowers on the table. It doesn’t take much and you’ll find yourself enjoying these moments and pushing the mundane aside. Aren’t they, and we, worth it? Dixie 3 For more information on how you can “Celebrate with style and strength™” visit them at Dixie Ultra Moments® or check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dixie Ultra Moments® and BlogHer. As always, all opinions are my own.

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I associated each season with some staple ingredients and meals. For spring, I always love using eggs, lemon, and anything green. It’s that rebirth of green outside and the good things to come. Light and airy foods with fresh ingredients that differ so much from the hardy meals of winter. I love making quiches, egg bakes, and frittatas in spring because there are usually a fair share of social gatherings that they are perfect for; Easter, Mother’s Day, Bridal showers, etc.

This egg bake is a favorite because it’s a great way to get some nutrients in while still enjoying something a little decadent and cheesy! You can use any cheese you like, but I enjoy the havarti for it’s buttery taste and melt factor.

Spinach and Havarti Egg Bake

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance Original Buttery Spread
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 5 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 oz havarti cheese, shredded
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Smart Balance cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

In a large saute pan, heat butter on medium-low and add shallots. Stir and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach and let wilt, stirring occasionally for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the spinach and shallots and stir until combined. Pour into prepared dish and cook for 27 to 30 minutes, or until lightly brown and the eggs have set. Remove from oven and let rest for several minutes before serving.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 116 Calories, 9g Fat, 126mg Cholesterol, 138mg Sodium, 1g Carbohydrates, 6g Protein

Source: The Way to His Heart

100% Pure Beeswax Candle Giveaway

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***Congratulations Vera!!!***

I’ve always loved the look and feel of having candles lit. Whether it be inside or out, it just gives a peaceful feeling and casts a wonderful glow. Unfortunately, the furthest I go with candles is buying a pretty one and leaving it sit on a shelf or table until it collects dust and I throw it out. I have severe sensitivities to smoke and one small votive candle will send me into a sneezing fit and make my face swell up. Add in all of the fragrances they put in them and I’ve got a wonderful headache to boot.

When Mohawk Trading Co. first contacted me about reviewing their honey and maple syrup products they said they would like for me to review their beeswax candles as well. I was a bit hesitant because of my candle history, but I did a little research and found that beeswax are 100% natural, and do not emit smoke or soot. In the right conditions they are even drip free! These were probably my last and only chance for having lit candles in my home!

My days have gotten a bit more hectic with the addition of my son and I need something at the end of a long day to relax me. Since most of the other options either don’t work for me or I can’t use them for fear that I never wake up in the middle of the night, having something as easy as lighting a couple of candles is wonderful. Something about it just allows me to stop what I am doing and clear my mind.

While beeswax candles are more costly than your regular paraffin candles, the benefits outweigh the cons, even for someone who isn’t sensitive like myself. Just like choosing good ingredients to use in your kitchen, you should be aware of what you are burning and allowing into the air of your home. If you can avoid smoke and additives, why not? Plus, beeswax has a longer burn time so you get more for your buck. I also love the smell of the beeswax burning, the subtle honey and floral scent is calming and creates a nice fragrance for your home.

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Want to try beeswax in your home? Mohawk Trading Co. has generously offered a beeswax candle package, valued at $65, like the one I received. It’s a great sampler that includes 2 taper candles, 2 votive candles, 1 2″ pillar candle, 6 tea lights, and 12 celebration candles (these are my favorite and I can’t wait to put them atop a delicious cake).

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Mohawk Valley Trading Co. provided me with their Beeswax Candles to sample and are sponsoring this giveaway, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. This giveaway is for residents of the contingent United States and will end on May 7th, 12:00 am EST. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes. The Mohawk Valley Trading Company will ship the prize to the winner within 30 days of contest end. You must be 18 years or older to enter.