Almond Cake

Hi hi hi!!!! So I decided last week that I want to get back to baking cakes. In the summer, I baked cakes for my bridal shower, my friends bridal shower & for holidays! But, then I had this feeling where I wasn’t good enough compared to the other professional bakers I see on Instagram.  Obviously, I’m not a professional baker but I put my baking tools down and stopped baking cakes until now. As I’m looking at cake recipes to bake, I wonder why am I making these cakes and whose going to eat them?! Now I just don’t care anymore and I’m going to bake whatever I want and when I want for more practice! & if you want to eat my cakes just call me and come over hahaha

Anyways, I’ve been looking at this cake recipe from Molly Yeh since Valentine’s Day and I decided to make her Valentine’s cake that she makesevery year.  I know it’s not Valentine’s anymore and that’s why I titled this “Almond Cake” cuz it’s literally a full blown almond cake.  Steven’s grandma called and we are celebrating Steven’s niece’s birthday tonight so I was like “perfect, this is for Cambri!”

Last night I baked the cakes & today after church I made the whipped topping. This is how it turned out –

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Sorry for all of the photos and I wish I had a prettier background haha! I had a lot of fun making this cake and it was actually quite easy to make.  I used a new ingredient i haven’t used before and that’s almond paste – super yummy and it makes the whole house smell like sweet almond flavor!

Here’s the recipe from this blogger Molly Yeh – let me know if you make this cake!

italian almond cake

10-12 servings
ingredients

cake:

1/2 c flour*

1 tsp baking powder

8 oz almond paste

6 eggs, separated

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

pinch of salt

1/2 c sugar

topping:

1 1/2 c whipping cream

1/2 c powdered sugar

1 tsp almond extract + a few drops of red food coloring or 2 tb creme de almond liqueur

chocolate hearts, marzipan hearts, any other decorations you’d like (or if you were me, find old heart lollipops from Valentine’s Day hahaha)

clues

preheat oven to 350ºf. prepare two 8- or 9-inch or three 6-inch cake pans and set aside.

combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.

beat almond paste and egg yolks until well blended, mix in vanilla and almond extract, and set aside.

in a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then gradually fold in the flour mixture. pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.

let cool.

for the topping, whip up the whipping cream and add the almond extract and red food coloring or the liqueur.

decorate to your heart’s desire (heh, no pun…) and enjoy!!!!

UPDATE: After cutting the cake up the whip cream frosting was too weak to hold it up Hahahaha  

 
XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

 

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My Top 4 HEALTHY Banana Bread Recipes

So these past few weeks I’ve been on a banana bread craze or whatever you call it. So the two things that made this craving happen was 1. Pinterest and 2. a lot of frozen bananas in my freezer! But, obviously I didn’t want to make unhealthy banana bread that takes an hour to bake.  I found all of the healthy banana bread MUFFIN recipes that I could make and here are my top 4.  They are all different kind of healthy recipes… so here you go!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread Muffins

So I bought a huge bag of coconut flour months ago and finally decided to use it. This recipe was less sweet than I thought and it basically asks for my entire egg carton haha. When Steven tried it for the first time he thought it tasted so bland but then the next day he ate all of them! Here is the recipe:

5 Eggs
2 bananas
¼ cup coconut oil or butter (softened)
½ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
small amount of milk to thin (may not need)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put all ingredients in medium sized bowl
  3. Using strong whisk or immersion blender (recommend!), mix until smooth and well incorporated. If batter is too thick, add a little milk to thin, but don’t let it get runny at all.
  4. Put into greased muffin tins- i use a ¼ cup measure to make pretty even sized. Batter will be somewhat thick.
  5. Bake for 13-18 minutes until lightly browned and set in middle.

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5 Ingredient Banana Almond Butter Muffins 

This recipe is gluten-free and super easy to make since you can put everything in a blender. These muffins were sweeter than the first ones I made but super grainy because of the almond butter. Also super moist!

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Combine:

1 cup almond butter
2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda (I updated this from 1/2 tsp. because I found they raise better)
Optional: I like to add 1/2 tsp. of salt

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Maple-Sweetened Banana Muffins 

I baked with whole wheat flour for the first time and these may have been my favorite.  Super moist and sweet (because of the maple syrup)! These also made more than the recipe entailed so we had a ton for the week! I substituted turbinado sugar with coconut sugar that I have from ALOHA.

INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
1¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar or coconut sugar, for sprinkling on top

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease 11 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the 11 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon), followed by a light sprinkling of sugar (about 1 teaspoon). Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
5. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

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Photo by: Cookie + Kate

Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins

These muffins were SUPER fluffy! But not really the healthiest because it has all-purpose flour, granulated sugar but the one thing that’s different is that it has 1 cup of Greek yogurt! So lots of protein!! This one was super moist! Try this one if you don’t have coconut flour, almond butter, etc like the other muffins.

2¼ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins (regular size, not jumbo, not mini) with baking cups/cupcake wrappers.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl cream together butter and sugars. Add mashed bananas, greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and mix well. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips if desired.
3. Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 20-15 minutes until tops are lightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tins before removing and allowing to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature, store in airtight container.

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Let me know if you make any of these muffins!! Follow me on my fitness instagram for more healthy recipes @liz_linsanity!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

Valentine’s Day 2016

Valentine’s Day is one of my FAVORITE holidays. I was so excited because it was my year to plan it! My best friend Lindsay and her husband Luke would always switch off because it wouldn’t be fun if just the husband planned it EVERY single year!! So we decided to copy them since Steven planned last year’s V-day.

If you know me… I love planning things ahead of time.  Since Valentine’s was on a Sunday this year, I planned everything on a Saturday. So keep reading to see what we did!

In the morning, I picked up some of our favorite doughnuts from Provo Bakery and ordered the ones that spelled out “I love you.” I definitely surprised Steven because he thought they were just normal assorted doughnuts!!

Steven surprised me with a HUGE 4″ teddy bear, yummy yummy chocolate caramels and the cutest love letter. I know everyone always says “Why is Valentine’s different than any other day with your companion??” Obviously, I love Steven every day but I feel like with holidays like Valentine’s Day you can just go over the top and be as cheesy as you want!

Around 1PM, we went to Steven’s niece’s 5 year old birthday party at a gymnastics gym and it was so fun! So many little 5 year olds jumping around everywhere. After the party, I planned a couples massage at Art of Massage.  It caught my eye a month ago because the couples massage came with a chocolate buffet!! So, we got there and it’s just in a little basement in someone’s house.  We kinda awkwardly waited until the other couple finished but once we got in the massage felt sooooooo great. & the chocolate buffet? HEAVEN.

Obviously, dessert before dinner right? So after the chocolate buffet I had a reservation for us at La Jolla Groves at the Riverwoods! We try not to eat out a ton and when we do we try to go all out. La Jolla Groves was on point that night & we ate everything on our plates haha! Our Valentine’s Day was such a great day. It was relaxing and everything that I planned worked out!

For the real Valentine’s Day – we went to church and then made a TON of sugar cookies to give out to people in our ward. It was difficult making the sugar cookies because the dough was SO STICKY but somehow with lots of flour, we did it!! It was fun running around our apartment complex giving the cookies out 🙂

Until next time everyone… Next year Steven is planning Valentine’s!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Happy Birthday Cambri!!!

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We made SO many cookies for people in our ward. So fun though!

Kayla Itsines BBG 1.0 REVIEW!

So if you follow me on my fitness Instagram or Snapchat you probably already know that I just finished Kayla Itsines BBG Guide 1.0! I get really shy sometimes on posting photos of ‘me’ on social media. It’s not that I’m ‘body shy…’ I don’t know or maybe I am!! This was my 2nd time finishing Bikini Body Guide and for some reason this time felt different.

This blog post is all about my thoughts on Kayla Itsines & her workout program. When I first discovered this program, my friend Stormy was telling me all about it when I was living in NYC in the Summer of 2014. She would send me screen shots of the workouts and tell me to do 7 minutes of each circuit & then repeat.. but, for some reason I just did not understand what she meant. So i pushed it aside and forgot all about it.

When I decided to move back to Provo, I immediately was in half marathon training mode for my first Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco! But with running a ton comes burning a lot of calories and I was HUNGRY all the time.  So I ate a lot while I was training. I was so shocked when I gained SO much weight during my training period. Once my race was over, I decided to look into the Kayla Itsines Program and try it out.

I was hooked.

Do three 28 minute circuits Monday, Wednesday and Friday and that’s it? Also incorporate some LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) Cardio and I’m done for the week? It definitely fit into my busy work schedule and I LOVED these work outs. Kayla suggests everyone who does her program to take progress photos every 4 weeks. I accepted her challenge and the results were SO CRAZY!

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I finally started becoming comfortable with my own body and I felt SO GREAT. Obviously every week wasn’t perfect but with the BBG guides, I could always count on another organized week of workouts if I failed the week before. So a year goes by, I finished guide 2.0, took a break, started half marathon training for my 2nd Nike Half Marathon Race and then immediately started BBG 1.0 right after my race.

In the beginning of 1.0, I didn’t really take my eating seriously. I still ate a ton of sweets, sugar, fatty foods but did my BBG workouts every week. EVERYONE knows that “abs are made in the kitchen” and blah blah blah but I wasn’t taking that seriously at all. Winter was coming which meant baggy sweaters, hoodies, and no need for me to wear a swimsuit. My eating habits turned into bad sleeping habits, skipping workouts, etc. Christmas time came and I was on week 10 and I did NOT work out at all during Christmas vacation. Steven and I ate sooooo many sweets that we were literally addicted when we got back to Provo. We were like savages trying to find chocolate ANYWHERE bahahaha Obviously with the new year, my brain automatically switches to a “new year, new me” mentality and when that first monday of 2016 came, I was ready to KILL it at my workouts.

I got back in the gym and started on week 10 all over and went every morning. I made it a routine to set my gym clothes out every night, get up after 2 snooze button taps, drink a big glass of water and go to my car and scrape the ice off of it so I could drive to the gym.  Not going to lie.. it was MISERABLE especially the dumb ice on my car. But, I made it to the gym every morning to do the BBG circuits, LISS, HIIT and rehab (stretching).  By week 12, it became a habit and I was loving the results I was seeing on my own body. I’m sad I didn’t take any photos from the beginning but I did take pics of my results at the end!

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After a series of doing the BBG guides, other workouts, going on whole 30 and half marathon training – it finally clicked well it actually didn’t click.. I just honestly needed to limit myself from my usual donuts, ice cream, cake, and treats!! I’m starting to train my stomach on foods that will help me to not crave sugary foods. I can say 100% that the BBG guides do work if you eat healthy, do the workouts religiously, get good sleep and drink LOTS of water. I’m currently on week 13 of BBG 2.0 and eating 75% Paleo and 15% whatever I want because life is short and sometimes you just need to indulge!! Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Week 16 progress pics and follow me on my fitness instagram @Liz_linsanity!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson