banana bread smoothie

We made it through another holiday season.

All the naps, all staying-in-pajamas-until-mid-morning (or later), all the carb-heavy, pant-stretching meals.

banana bread smoothie

And all this means a few things for me:

  1. I’m ready for a few MORE days off work, without all the holiday craziness. Just a few days to recover from all the food and traveling and business and loud houses.
  2. It’s time to get out my planner for 2016 and get it all set up and ready! The new year feels just like the start of a new school year for me – a clean slate, a fresh start.
  3. I’m definitely ready to get back to more regular healthy, clean eating. The holidays are the time to splurge and have family favorites or traditions, but after a few days of indulging, I start feeling sleepy and lethargic, and I just want a salad.

banana bread smoothie

But breaking that sugar/carb habit is always tough, right? Even if it’s just a day or two with a few extra sweets, it’s like starting all over again.

So my favorite way to ease back into a healthy routine after the holidays is to have healthy, filling dishes that FEEL like you’re splurging…but really aren’t. It still feels a little decadent, but is much better for you AND won’t give you that sugar rush/crash.

Working with Dole produce this year has given me even more chances to come up with some fun new, healthy recipes. And I think this is tied with the salad I made a few weeks ago. Maybe that salad and this smoothie will make an appearance together next week!

banana bread smoothie

Like this smoothie.

Perfect for a quick breakfast on the run, a filling afternoon snack, or a dessert for the whole family.

batterway prune & spice bread

Move over, cinnamon raisin bread.

There’s a new kid in town.

batterway prune and spice bread

This time of year makes me want to use all the spices, in every dish. Every day.

Once the weather turns cool and the days are gray, it’s time to break out the warm cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and put them in everything.

And the best thing to do this time of year is bake. Having the oven on heats up the house just a little more AND the smell of bread baking is one sure way to brighten everyone’s day.

batterway prune and spice bread

I really love Red Star Yeast’s batterway recipes – they need almost no kneading! It’s a nice, easy way to get some fresh bread baked, even on the busiest days. Plus, they’re great recipes to start out with if you haven’t baked with yeast very much. These aren’t scary recipes – they’re easy to follow and simple to make.

If you tasted this loaf, you’d think you slaved all day whipping this up.

batterway prune and spice bread

And don’t ever underestimate the power of prunes! I love having them on hand for quick snacks, and they’re amazing in this bread.

Let this prune and spice cake be this year’s fruit cake – way less dense, but still studded with chewy fruit and toasty spices.

batterway prune and spice bread

Perfect toasted with butter and jam for breakfast or as a snack with a cup of tea. You really can’t go wrong with this, no matter how you serve it.

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!