While I’m no stranger to sharing various recipes for loaf cakes on my blog, I’d not yet shared the recipe for my favorite loaf to date – Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Bread. And, loving you guys the way I do…I figured that was a situation that needed to be remedied immediately.

A tender moist loaf cake, studded with sweet juicy blueberries and bright sunny flecks of lemon zest. It’s the perfect accompaniment with tea or coffee in the morning. Or, for a little something sweet in the evening – chances are it won’t make it that long, though.

Yogurt and sour cream add a good dose of moisture and density, as do the blueberries. I like to use fresh berries when they’re in season, but I’ve used frozen many times too. Just add them in right from the freezer, no need to thaw them.

After baking, a sweet lemon glaze is poured onto the warm cake – allowing it to seep in, and really solidify that tart lemon flavor. It really makes the cake, ya’ll. And, this recipe is guaranteed to take the cake when it comes to loaf breads! Try it soon.

Source: adapted from Barefoot At Home by Ina Garten

Lavender. I’ve always been a fan. Sure, it’s always been around in the bath salts and body lotions. And, you’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about it’s aromatherapy benefits. But lately I’ve noticed it popping in all kinds of culinary applications – of both sweet and savory varieties. This wickedly good lavender lemonade has been a favorite for a while now, but  have found myself wanting more…

I’ve been adding dried lavender to my tea ball that’s filled with my favorite Earl Grey blend, which creates an awesome cup of tea for afternoon sipping on the front porch. Naturally, since I’m always thinking about food,  I found myself daydreaming about a light tea cookie that mimicked the flavors in my cup.

And I got to thinking about shortbreads. A personal favorite of mine because they’re so easy. The dough is easy to bring together, it’s easy to make ahead and come back to later – as it requires a bit of chilling time, and it’s easy to have fun and play with the flavor combinations. So, I went with that. And, it was a winner!

To this batch I added a dose of local honey and dried lavender flowers. They baked up beautifully, with just enough lavender flavor. It’s easy to go overboard with it, trust me! The specks of lavender were visible in the cookies once baked, which I really loved. And the aroma…just heavenly. Next time around I might try adding a touch of lemon zest for a little zing!

Source: adapted from The Baker Upstairs

My mom’s dad died when I was fairly young. We often talked about him as I was growing up…telling stories, and such. One thing that always stuck with me was his cake of choice for birthdays – a cherry nut cake. Very popular in the 50’s and 60’s. I’ve made the pink cake studded with cherries before, and always thought it would translate well to cupcake form. But you guys know me…I never got around to it.

When cleaning out the refrigerator this weekend, I happened upon about four jars or maraschino cherries lurking in the back of the shelves.  What to do with them? I had a local event that I was on the hook to donate some baked goods for…so the stars aligned in my kitchen, and I whipped up these delightful cupcakes!

I took my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, adding almond extract and finely chopped maraschinos (used the food processor and pulsed a few times). I thought about adding some of the cherry syrup, but wanted to really showcase the cherry flecks. Plus, the vanilla cake really makes the pink frosting “pop” all the more…

And, the frosting. Oh my Heavens. Again, I used my basic buttercream recipe – and added the juice from the cherry jar, as well as a little almond extract for that almondy kick.

Topped with a cherry and a few sliced almonds for garnish, they’re positively perfect for spring or Easter celebrations! I think old “Grendad” would approve.

I’ve never been a breakfast person. Occasionally after a night after one-too-many cocktails, I’ll crave a good and greasy breakfast sandwich…but for the most part, I’ll go for some yogurt and fruit after my morning coffee in my day-to-day routine.

My favorite way to kick it up to the next level, and make it a little more substantial is granola. Sweet, crunchy, nutty granola. Good granola is kind of ridiculously expensive to buy from the store – and I find that it’s usually sub-par to begin with. What can I say? I like a high oat to nut ratio.

Luckily, homemade granola is super easy. And this version highlighting the flavors of almond, vanilla, and honey delivers the sweet crunch that I crave when it comes to granola. I like to use top quality extracts (Rodelle is my favorite go-to brand) for a true natural flavor. Also, I really bump up the nut factor with the addition of whole almonds, sliced almonds, walnuts, and pecans for tons of crunch! And nothing beats local honey, of course. We have an apiary here on Chincoteague now, so delightful to use honey harvested here on my little seaside island!

A brief stint in the oven, and some cooling time – and you have a ton of granola that is good for weeks in the pantry. I love to use it on everything – from crunchy streusel toppings, to yogurt parfaits, to ice cream…

If you’ve not made granola at home yet, definitely give this a try. A great recipe to make with the little ones, too. They’ll love having it for breakfast in the morning throughout the week!

Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour