honeyed almond, raisin, olive & ricotta crostini

Um….did Christmas sneak up on anyone else?

How is it already this week? This entire year has flown by, and I’m not really ready for it to be over yet.

honeyed almond, raisin, olive and ricotta crostini

I AM ready for time off work, time with family and friends, time without alarm clocks, and time for amazing food.

I know you can find all kinds of huge main dish recipes this time of year – for ham and turkey and gallons of mashed potatoes. And then the same for breakfast: everything from cinnamon rolls to breakfast casseroles and baked french toast.

But the thing I’m always looking for this time of year is easy, quick snacks and appetizers. Because I’m kind of terrible at having dinner parties.

honeyed almond, raisin, olive and ricotta crostini

It’s okay. I’m working on it. But I know it’s not one of my strengths. I stress out thinking nothing will turn out well, and that just makes me sweaty and a little ticked off. Two really good qualities you want in a party hostess, am I right?

But! I have a new favorite party snack right here, and I can’t wait to make it again. It’s salty, it’s sweet, it’s crunchy, it’s creamy….it’s everything, all in one bite.

honeyed almond, raisin, olive and ricotta crostini

Check out the full recipe for this crostini over on the SunMaid Raisin Your Nutrition blog, plus more of how I’m scared of dinner parties. (Are you, too? I hope it’s not just me.)

I am working with SunMaid Raisins as a Blogger Ambassador and was compensated for this recipe/post. All recipes and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!

almond yeast cake

You’ve had bundt cake.

You’ve had yellow layer cakes.

You’ve had almond cake.

But have you had all three, together, in ONE cake? Well, then, today is your lucky day.

almond yeast cake

As soon as I saw this Almond Yeast Cake recipe from Red Star Yeast, I knew I had to try it.

It’s a bundt cake, made with a yellow cake mix and Red Star Yeast (yeast! in cake!), plus a whole heaping cup of ground almonds.

It sounds so crazy! So different! I had a feeling we would love it. And I was right.

almond yeast cake

Once you’ve had one cake, it seems like you’ve had them all, you know? But this was such a fun and different cake to make.

It felt like baking bread – without the long rising times. And without any kneading or shaping. And even better, it was dessert.

almond yeast cake

The ground almonds are speckled all throughout the cake batter, which is just a little thicker than normal, thanks to the almonds and yeast.

It rises for just 30 minutes, so it doesn’t add much prep time, but it adds so much flavor! It’s a deeper, sweeter flavor than a plain yellow cake. And the almonds and almond extract put it over the top.

Pretty sure the only thing this needs is a hot cup of coffee and a fork.

almond yeast cake

Make sure to follow Red Star Yeast on pinterest and instagram for more recipes and baking inspiration!

Almond Yeast Cake

A tasty marriage of yellow cake, bundt cake, almonds, and yeast, this light and delightful dessert is a fun twist on a classic bundt.


  • 1 pkg (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 2¼ tsp RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup (3 oz.) ground almonds


  1. Generously grease and lightly flour a 10-inch Bundt pan; set aside.
  2. In large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, yeast, water (120-130°F), butter, eggs and almond extract. Blend and beat as directed on package. Add ground almonds; mix well.
  3. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 10 minutes; invert to remove from pan. Serve warm or cold. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast. Thank you for supporting brands that support us! 

stonyfield yogurt snack tasting

One sure way to get kids to pick a healthy snack? Only give them healthy options.

Over Thanksgiving break, Stonyfield sent me a bunch of new yogurts and I decided to have a family snack time while everyone was visiting.

stonyfield tasting

And no surprise – the kids loved this yogurt snack time the most.

The girls at Stonyfield hooked us up – we had greek yogurts, the new OhMyYog! (they have a gingered pear flavor…woah), some of their blueberry soy yogurt AND some of the yokid and yotot pouches.

stonyfield tasting

My nephew tried two different yogurts – this pouch and some of the OhMyYog! blueberry. I didn’t even get outside fast enough to get a picture of him trying the pouch! He ate it super fast, and then went back inside to grab some more.

I had a gingered pear OhMyYog! – I hadn’t been able to find them in stores near us yet, so I was really excited to see that flavor. And my goodness, it’s good. So perfect for this time of year. I’m not a fan of fresh pears by themselves, but I love them in everything else.

stonyfield tasting

And my niece finished off a cup of the blueberry OhMyYog! She was working on this cup for about 10 minutes, trying her hardest to every.last.drop of yogurt out of the cup.

Aren’t kids the best?

stonyfield tasting

chicken lettuce wraps from dinner for two

If there’s one thing I love, it’s finding a new cookbook I love. And boy, do I have one.

You guys know my friend Julie from Table for Two, right? Her cookbook – Dinner for Two – just came out and I am already in love.

chicken lettuce cups

  1. Her pictures are amazing. Everything looks like it is jumping off the page and directly onto my kitchen counter. (Is there a way to actually make this happen?)
  2. Everything looks SO good! I had a hard time choosing what to make first.
  3. Just the right size meals for a few people? Sign me up. I do love leftovers, but sometimes it’s nice to have just enough for a meal or two – not twenty.

dinner for two

So, I’m probably the only person that has never been to P.F. Changs, yes? Have you? Has everyone? I’m pretty sure they all went without me.

We don’t have one anywhere near us, but I have heard of the place. And apparently, their chicken lettuce wraps are one of the most popular items. Since I can’t compare this recipe to those, I’ll just say this: this was my first time ever making chicken lettuce wraps like this at home, but it will not be the last.

chicken lettuce cups

I love having the shitake mushrooms in this mix – I always forget about them!

Sorry, shitakes. I should use you more often. They’re so tender and light, and they make the perfect addition to the chicken and seasonings.

chicken lettuce cups

The chicken mixture was really simple in terms of ingredients but so flavorful. It was nice to not have an ingredient list a mile long or have to buy anything totally obscure at the grocery store to make these.

If you’re looking for a new cookbook with easy to follow recipes and fantastic photography, check out Dinner for Two! You won’t be sorry.