a fun way to make the most out of your everyday {and a lemon yogurt cake loaf}

I shouldn’t have, because I knew it would be a time suck, but it was just sitting there so I opened it.

“It”, meaning a thick, black photo album my aunt created, filled to the brim with pictures of my family, late grandpa and little notes we all wrote to him upon his passing. Little notes of our favorite memories, life lessons grandpa taught us through his example.  Pardon me while I’m a complete boob and trying to compose myself. 

(Grabs tissue and wipes face.)

Okay, that's better. 

In this album, there are so many pictures of us just living our every day lives. At first glance, they don’t really seem that special. Days at the park, fixing a car, days where we’re in oversized sweatshirts with permed hair, holding dripping ice cream cones, bearing huge cheesy grins but still, those were great days!

I've found that lately, I really want to make the most out of my ordinary days. I really started implementing that idea last summer, when I was planning an adventure for John’s birthday.  

I wanted a road trip, just me and him, and hours filled with good conversation. Now John and I are never short of anything to talk about, but sometimes road trips can bring on a dazed silence…and then your brain goes blank and suddenly there’s nothing to talk about. (Why does driving do that to us?)  I’m totally okay with silence and listening to music… but it seems like wasted precious talking time if the silence goes on for hours and hours.  

So, to make the most out of our driving time, I created a list of questions.  

Well, it’s actually more like a stapled 5 page packet than a list, and they’re questions you could really ask anyone, but I’ve reserved them for me and John. I scoured the internet for a few hours and found some good questions and have been continually added my own questions, making it this living, breathing list bursting with potentially great conversations. 

The list now forever lives in the car. 

Earlier this week during a boring every day car ride I pulled out the list and asked John this question: “What is your favorite flavor of chips?”  (FYI: In England, they call chips "crisps", and I so love that name more than chips.) 

He paused and said, “You know the salsa verde Doritos flavor? That’s my favorite.”  

I fake-dramatically gasped and said, “Baby! I feel like I don’t even know you! You have NEVER told me that before.”  

"Well how often do we eat chips?" 

"Like, never.” I said.  

“See?” 

I laughed and then paused. “Love, that flavor kinda tastes like dirt. Like that’s the flavor we all would try to trade away if our mom’s happened to pack in our 7th grade lunch box.” 

We laughed again and he may or may not have gotten a surprise bag of salsa verde later that week. (Disclaimer: Even though Doritos are most definitely NOT a whole food, nor do they belong anywhere here on Sweetish, it's important to note that sometimes we must break the rules for the ones we love. And this is no news flash but I am in no way, a perfect eater. I'm striving though people, I'm striving.)  

I wrote this Doritos moment down later that day, even though it’s ordinary and silly, I love learning new things about John. It’s moments like this that make “everyday life” seem ridiculously fun and I want to record stuff like this more. Take more photos of every day life and not just celebratory birthday cake lit faces. I hope to record more of these moments, because you never know, someday my granddaughter might thumb through an album of my entire life and be inspired to live the every day life, a little better. 

Love to you my friends. ps. Let me know if you're interested in the list of questions and I'll post them on here for you. xo 

lemon yogurt cake + loaf 

adapted from Ina Garten

I couldn't decide between a cake or a loaf on this one, so it's a cakeloaf. Cake sounds like we can't have it for breakfast, and well, this makes a fantastic breakfast. This lemon cake brings back so many memories for me. I used to make it ALL the time when I first moved back home and started cooking every day for my family. I've had my fair share of failures with it, BUT I've tweaked Ina's recipe ever so slightly to guarantee you excellent and incredibly delicious results. It's a loaf I crave and John knows one of my favorite flavors is lemon or tart "anything"... and friends, this loaf is SO lemony. There's nothing I hate more than a weak-sauce lemon dessert. Give me all the tartness please. This one doesn't disappoint.  

note: Do not use low fat yogurt, or runny yogurt of any kind. If you can't find thick full-fat greek yogurt, use a good organic sour cream as it's replacement. Runny yogurt will ruin your loaf. Trust me. Melted butter and coconut oil both work beautifully here. Coconut oil makes for a slightly lighter spongier crumb, while butter produces a richer cake with a more delicate crumb. I equally love both. Most people think coconut oil is healthier, but both organic butter and organic coconut oil are really great fats. Just promise me you will NOT use vegetable oil. We hate that stuff around here okay? (See ** baking notes below) xo 

1 cup / 127g organic bread flour 

½ cup / 51g spelt flour 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

½ teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup / 240g full-fat greek yogurt, plain or vanilla bean  (I LOVE Maple Hill Creamery Brand because it’s grass-fed, organic dairy) 

1 cup + ⅓ cup / 200g + 67g sugar, (reserve thecup / 67g for the lemon syrup) 

3 large eggs, organic + room temperature  

2 teaspoons lemon zest 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

½ cup / 112g coconut oil or butter, melted 

⅓ cup / 75mL fresh lemon juice (for the lemon syrup) 

glaze: 

1 cup / 120g powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice 

2 teaspoons lemon zest 

 

Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C. Line a 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch / 21 x 11cm loaf with parchment paper and grease with coconut oil or butter, set aside. 

In an electric mixer, beat eggs and 1 cup of sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5-8 minutes. 

Mix flours, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.  

In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, yogurt, vanilla and eggs until just combined. Pour this yogurt mixture into the egg + sugar mixture, with your electric mixer speed on low. 

Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Next add the coconut oil (or melted butter) and mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. 

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the toothpick comes out clean.

**(Be mindful of the baking time, depending on your oven, the loaf may need a little more or a little less time. If it's starting to look dark but the toothpick comes out with gooey batter attached, tent the loaf with a bit of foil to prevent further browning.) 

While loaf is baking, heat ⅓ cup / 75mL fresh lemon juice and ⅓ cup / 67g of sugar until the sugar dissolves. This is your lemon syrup. 

Upon taking the loaf out of the oven, poke it with a tooth pic a few times, and pour the lemon syrup. It's key that you pour the syrup over the loaf while it's still warm so it absorbs all of that tart lemony goodness. 

For the glaze, whisk 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice until you get a thick glaze. Feel free to add more lemon juice if you want it a bit runnier. Stir in remaining lemon zest. Pour glaze over a somewhat cooled loaf, otherwise you'll have a melted mess and the glaze wont stick properly. 

This loaf keeps in the fridge for a bout a week, but it's best eaten 3 days after baking. Try toasting some slices with a little bit of butter and honey. Heaven. 

why is this good for me? 

lemon - In a chef's world they say the zest of a lemon is packed with more flavor than the lemon juice. Which is totally true, but did you know the lemon peel actually has some health properties too? It's full of antioxidants, helps balance your blood sugar levels, your thyroid health and fights free radicals. Lemons are also super high in vitamin c, have been known to help aid digestion, prevent kidney stones and detoxify our bodies. Did you also know that lemon juice can help heal sores, itchy bug bites and a sunburn?