Spaghetti with Lentil Meat(less)Balls?

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I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!!! I didn’t do really anything special, we were and are under a burn ban here so I didn’t even really get to see any fireworks. I didn’t make anything red, white, and blue because that usually involves making cupcakes or some other sugar infused dessert. I have been really trying to get fit and use all the nutrition knowledge that I studied and learned at Baylor University (there must be some benefit from a degree I am not using at all 🙂 right? 
Well, I am getting serious about getting back in the shape I was when I was rowing on the crew team or when I was cooking for a diabetic (lots of veggies and fruits with controlled carbs) while living in Belgium. My weakness is carbs – I love bread and to be real honest, I also love baking and trying new recipes, oh, and I can ALWAYS eat ice cream! My other problem is that I hate to see food go to waste, so I usually end up eating it (and enjoying every bite along the way!). I really love finding and sharing new recipes too, but along the way I have picked up some very unnecessary weight that I just tell myself is the newlywed 15 (but more like 20). I love healthy food too and so I am going to stay with the Greek inspired mediterranean dishes but I will also be adding some really good substitutes or “healthy” indulgences on occasion too. 
We eat a lot of pasta on the island, mainly because it is so cheap and easy to prepare. We typically combine it with a simple homemade sauce or even some sauteed veggies, but to get the needed protein when not eating much meat, legumes are a good alternative. I came across this recipe on one of the bloggers I follow, her name is Jennie and her recipe for these lentil ricotta balls is wonderful. I love that she topped her spaghetti with some fresh basil, if we would have had some on the island when I made these it would have enhanced the flavor even more! 
So, the next time you are in the mood for something a little different or even just a lighter and healthier alternative to meatballs, please make these. You can always make extra lentils and freeze them for an easy go to meal when the pantry gets low too. The texture is of course different from hearty, more dense meatballs but I just really fell for little guys. Now, these are in no comparison to kleftedes (Greek meatballs), which I will share a wonderful recipe with you as soon as I lose a few more pounds! But if you have never had the authentic Greek meatballs, then you really don’t know what you are missing anyway, right? 
Lentil “Meat(less)Balls” Recipe
2 cups cooked lentils
2 lg. eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 T. parsley
salt and pepper
Olive or Canola oil for frying
Process the ingredients together, pulsing a few times until smooth. Rest for 1-2 hours in the fridge. Shape into 1-1 1/2″ balls and lightly fry in hot oil until golden brown. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and serve as is or place over spaghetti as a meat alternative or even make a meatless ball sandwich!!! 

I also now have my computer back after having sent it off for some maintenance, so now I will try to get back in the routine of posting more often as I have in the past. I am still in the USA and my wonderful husband is still in Greece, we are still patiently waiting to hear back whether we will be moving here somewhere or staying on the island another year. Fingers are tightly crossed for finding out this week, but with the all the “stuff” happening in Greece right now, I am not sure when we will find out. All prayers are still greatly appreciated! I’ll keep you up to date! 
Kali orexi friends, 

Surprise Muffins and a Giveaway

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Today, I have something very special for you… maybe you have tried it before and maybe you haven’t; maybe you will like the combination and maybe you won’t, but without further delay I present to you (Drum roll, please) Mini Banana Muffins filled with Nutella andGreek Giveaway
These mini muffins were such a hit with everyone who tasted them, even if they weren’t a huge fan of nutella to begin with. I used my simple and healthier banana bread recipe from here, and simply injected some nutella straight into the middles once they were cool! This particular banana bread recipe is pretty light anyway, so with the addition of nutella and the banana flavor these went from being good to jumping off the charts! Seriously, if you are like me and you love to pair nutella with almost anything, including for many years now bananas, you might just not be able to stand every eating them plain again. If you do not have a kitchen tool that can be used to inject the nutella, swirl it straight into the batter. The results will be different, but the chocolate swirl of nutella and banana bread will hopefully still rock your world! 
Banana Bread Mini-Muffins filled with Nutella Recipe: 

Makes 1 loaf, 6 mini loaves, muffins or mini-muffins

1 cup bananas (~2 cups), mashed
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 oil (canola or olive oil is healthiest)
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugars (I use 1/4 brown, 1/4 cup white)
1 lg. egg or 2 lg. egg whites, beaten
1-2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 c. whole wheat, 1/2 cup AP)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
*Oats to sprinkle on top, optional. 
I like the oatmeal because I do not like banana bread the next day if the top is moist and soft, I think the oats help! 

Preheat oven to 350° (180° C), and line or butter your loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, and baking soda, then set aside. In a larger bowl, beat oil and sugars, slowly adding egg, then vanilla. I use a sifter, adding all of my dry ingredients and slowly adding 1/3 of the mix to the sugar mixture. Next, fold in 1/2 of the yogurt/banana mix, alternating with flour until everything is just moistened. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 35-45 minutes, watching carefully not to burn the top. If the top begins to burn, use a foil tent to cover and continue baking. Cool on wire rack in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan, continuing to cool completely.
Simple as that and you are ready to enjoy a wonderful new delight!

But enough already about bananas and nutella and mini muffins, I am also very incredibly excited to announce Seemingly Greek’s FIRST GIVEAWAY!!! 

Let me preface this with the fact that I am sponsoring this giveaway and all products were bought and will be shipped by me, I am not such a hot shot (yet) that anyone has contacted me to review or giveaway their any of their products, but my fingers are still crossed and I am waiting by my email 🙂 
I leave for the USA in exactly 8 days, and if the winner is American I will be taking it with me and mailing it to you from there; if the winner lives in Europe, I will proceed to mail from Greece! Here is a picture and description of what will be included this time: 
From left bottom to right: a soft sesame seed bar, a small bottle of olive oil, a bag of thick, seasoned salt, a lavender scented bar of olive soap, a vacuum sealed bag of black olives, a bag of souvlaki meat seasoning, and a bag of dried  Greek oregano. ALL products are produced and packaged here in Lesvos, Greece and are of highest quality! 
How does that sound? Are you excited and eager to win?
I was going to include more items but my budget quickly prevented me, so that just means we will have another giveaway in the future with various other Greek products! All you have to do to enter to win is follow the instructions in the widget below: the deadline is May 27th at midnight and the winner will be announced on the 28th. 
One entry for each step of the widget you complete (total of 4+) or if you cannot see the widget or you do not have facebook or are not comfortable accepting an application with your facebook, please leave a comment below this post for a chance to win!

Another Egg Salad Recipe…

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Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who not only is a mother (or has a bunt in the oven) but who has a mother or even hopes to become one! I am blessed to have 2 wonderful mothers, a mom and a step-mom and life couldn’t be better!!! 
I also wanted to share a simple, yet delicious egg salad recipe made with greek yogurt instead of only mayo. 
One thing I have really enjoyed about Greece is that almost everyone has chickens, and they aren’t the annoying roosters that wake you up at 4am either. They are just simple chickens that peck at the ground all day and lay you fresh eggs to enjoy! When we were back on the main land with the in-laws, I snapped a couple of pictures of the family chickens, and V’s mom sent us back with a sack full of fresh hard boiled eggs. What else can you do with so many eggs, make egg salad right?! 
Just knowing that the eggs come from clean, well taken care of free roaming chickens eating grass and grain is also very reassuring as well. Even here on the island you can find other fresh eggs for sale in bakeries, mini shops, and even the supermarket sometimes too. There is a big difference in how they look – the yolks are a darker, richer yellow, and the taste is somehow more delicious too! 
Now, it probably isn’t so healthy to eat egg salad sandwiches everyday, but if you find yourself with a dozen eggs and are worried about cholesterol, try using just the egg whites and maybe only one yolk! Feel free to change the recipe to fit your personal preferences, and maybe just try something new for a change – the greek yogurt is something I tried once and will continue to use forever, it gives the salad such a light and creamy texture! 
Egg Salad Recipe: Serves 4-6

Printable Recipe
8 Large Fresh Eggs, boiled
1/3 cup greek yogurt (regular or low-fat)
1 T. mayo
1-2 tsp. mustard (or more) 
1/8 – 1/4 cup chopped green/purple onion, optional (for the husband) 
1 T. fresh dill or 1 tsp. dry dill
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
dash of cayenne, optional
Juice of half a small lemon

Chop or lightly process the boiled eggs and add to a medium bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and gently fold together until blended well. Let chill in the fridge for half an hour or serve immediately on bread, pita, croissant, or even inside a tomato or on a bed of lettuce!

Now that it is Spring and the weather is quite perfect, it would be ideal for a picnic lunch! 
Wherever you are and whatever you are eating today, I hope that you are enjoying life to the fullest! There is always something to be thankful for, something I wish I could remember when down in the dumps! 
Besides, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Right?

Hebrews 11:1 

Beef Enchiladas…

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In honor of Cinco de Mayo, really because I look for any excuse to eat Mexican Food…. Let me introduce you to my Greek-Mex: Beef Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Refried Black Eyed Peas, and Chips and Salsa!!!

First, I must give complete credit where credit is due too… there is a kindred blogger out there and she doesn’t even know it (or me). Maybe it is because we both adore Mexican Food Tex-Mex and have moved away from our home, the great country state of Texas! Anyway, she has a wonderful blog called, Homesick Texan, and shares some wonderful recipes, pictures, and stories! 

Unfortunately for me, I did not have quite a few of the ingredients called for, but with an ambitious heart and determined spirit I gave it my all. I followed each of her recipes as best as I was able and added a slight addition myself: Creamy Jalapeno Avocado Sauce. I simply blended some Greek yogurt, half and avocado, a couple of jared jalapenos, some lime juice, and salt and pepper! It. was. fantastically. wonderful! 

Actually, considering that I was missing the most beloved ingredient, fresh cilantro, I think things turned out as good as can be expected living in a foreign land where no other ethnic cuisine (except pizza and pasta, but even they have a Greek spin) is offered outside of the most major cities. 
As a Texan though, I must admit this was definitely more Greek-Mex than anything I have ever tasted. Practically just a tease of what I know to be the real, authentic Mexican food AND the also beloved Tex-Mex versions from each beloved city of: Dallas, Austin, or San Antonio! 
Short and sweet, it was a fun experience to make homemade enchiladas in Greece, but I think I will stick to only fajitas, quesadillas, and salsa while living abroad! 
I hope you ate/drank more than your share of Mexican food and margaritas for us today! 
Kali Orexi until next time! 

Returning Home and a Cheesecake Recipe!

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We arrived back home at four o’clock this morning after a very long and somewhat perilous trip all around Greece! We took the ship last week (anywhere from 10-13 hours long) from Lesvos to Kavala, drove to Halkidiki (stayed  a week), drove all the way to Athens, and took the ship back to Mytilene, I think we covered some serious ground.
Everything went smoothly until Athens, the BIG city. It is about a 5-6 hour drive from north to south Greece, unless there is a detour like ours, then it is around 7 hours. Needless to say we ended up arriving around midnight and were trying to find our hotel. Including a little culture shock, this “village” girl was a bit overwhelmed when a dozen or more cops suddenly appeared out of nowhere to arrest a guy on a motorbike, directly in front of us. It was a surprise attack and I might have peed my pants a little.  The other interesting addition to our trip was the over an hour delay on our ship home when someone called in a bomb threat. I seemed to be the only one who felt nervous and anxious when they made the announcement, it didn’t even phase anyone else around me, they just continued being Greek smoking and chatting! Really people.?! Everything ended up fine (Praise the Lord), I guess someone was just going to be late for the boat and found an excuse to delay until they could make it.
All in all, we had a wonderful trip but are glad to be back in our own bed! After lots of laundry and getting things in order, we should be back in the swing of things by Monday. I wanted to share a recipe with you since it has been a while though. This is something I made a while ago and came across the pictures again. . . Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Cupcakes!

I had a bag of chocolate chip cookies left over from an experimental batch. They were delicious, but didn’t have enough flour and were a bit flat. Instead of throwing them out, I thought all of about 2 seconds before I decided to mix them into a scrumptious cheesecake. Philadelphia cream cheese can be kind of expensive here on the island if it is not on sale, so to mix things up a bit . . . I made individual cupcakes. The only thing missing were cupcake liners, they are also unaffordable for this island girl. Other than that, they were perfect! 
See for yourself that the results were delectable!!!!!

It was the same cheesecake recipe here, but only halved. I used the cookies with a little butter to make the crust and added a few in the middle with a handful of chocolate chips too. The melted chocolate was used to add a bit of decor to the tops.

This cheesecake recipe is a lush, thick, and super creamy one! Now that strawberries are in season I am dreaming of a strawberry cheesecake!!!!

Kali Orexi! 

Homemade Stovetop Popcorn . . .

Unique and Special
. . . made with coconut oil!!!

Have you ever had homemade popcorn? And I do not mean from your microwave, rather, freshly popped from your own stove top with 3 very simple ingredients!

Have you ever had homemade popcorn with coconut oil?

If you answered no to either one of these questions, I promise you that you will not regret making your own popcorn. And if at all possible, use organic coconut oil, the nutritious benefits are not the only reason to try it, I love the added flavor!

It is not very often that we do much here on the island, but now that summer is around the corner and the weather is getting better daily there are more events happening. There is a village here called, Molyvos, it is full of foreigners from Germany, Netherlands, England, and many others. It is one of the most beautiful villages on the island and I always enjoy making the 25 minute trip on the extremely curvy-windy road! Last night they opened the old theatre for a FREE showing of the wonderful classic movie, Casablanca. And what is a great old movie without some wonderfully homemade popcorn, it was truly perfect! 

Now, there was no coconut oil here on the island, so I begged for a small shipment of some because THAT is how much I was craving it. In my opinion. it is way better than cinema-style popcorn and definitely without all of the extra cholesterol that comes by the bucket at the movies. Coconut oil is high in fat, but it is the better fat, yes, I said better fat! If you are eager for more nutrition info, check out this or this website.

Homemade Stovetop Popcorn with coconut oil Recipe: 
Printable Recipe 
3 Qt. pot with lid
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
~ 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tsp. salt (if you’d like, try butter flavored salt)
1 Lg. bowl

Add the coconut oil to your pot and put on Medium/High heat with 1 kernel of popcorn, then place the lid on top and wait for this kernel to pop (about 4 minutes). While you are waiting, measure out your 1/2 cup of popcorn and your 1/2 tsp. (buttered) salt to add once the oil is ready.

Once the 1st kernel pops, add the other kernels just enough to cover the bottom of your pot and then sprinkle the salt. Replace lid and give the pot a quick swirl to distribute and coat the kernels with oil and salt. At this point, STAY BY YOUR STOVE with your bowl ready. The popping should begin shortly and take only a couple of minutes total. Once you hear the first few pops, you want to slightly lift the lid of your pot to release the steam. Be careful not to let the oil burn you, point the lid away from your body and hold it close enough to let moisture out but not let the popcorn shoot all over your kitchen (learned the hard way)! Once your pot is full of popcorn, pour into your bowl and enjoy! Be careful not to burn the last few kernels at the bottom of the pan, once you have a pot full, add to your bowl!

Enjoy while watching a movie at home or even sneak your own popcorn into the theatre!!!

Kali Orexi and let me know what you think when you try it!

Carrot and Zucchini Cake

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I am sure you have had either carrot cake, zucchini bread, or maybe even chocolate zucchini cake, but have you ever had a carrot AND zucchini cake? Have you ever had one so delicious and yet so full of nutrition too? Well, I am here to share this astonishing cake with you. I had a dilemma of not being able to decide which cake/bread to make, when it occurred to me, “Why not use both?”, so I did.
The result was F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!!!! 
I found a recipe online but won’t bother sharing the source because I ended up changing it so much, that it wouldn’t even make sense. I typically like to make things a bit healthier if I can, sometimes the result is mediocre and sometimes it is just as good, this time though, it was marvelous! I would recommend this cake one hundred times over and over! 
Carrot AND Zucchini Cake Recipe:
1/3 cup oil (I use EVOO)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup yogurt (I use Greek, but I am sure you can use any regular plain yogurt)
1 1/2-3/4 cups AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 T. cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 – 1 tsp. clove, all spice, nutmeg 
1 1/2 T. ginger syrup (or sub 1/2 -1 tsp. powdered ginger)
2 cups shredded carrots (about 5 medium)
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 large) 
1/2 – 3/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional)
1/2 – 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Get out all the ingredients you will be using, and preheat your oven to 350°/175°. Clean and shred the veggies and sift the dry flours and spices together. Grease either a bundt, cake pan, or (2) 9″ round baking pans and set aside. Toast the walnuts if using and break into small pieces, set aside. Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat the oil and sugars together well, then, slowly add the eggs. Now, using a large rubber spatula fold in the yogurt, carrots, and zucchini until well incorporated. Slowly add the dry mix by thirds and continue folding until just wet and mixed. Lastly, add the walnuts and chips (if you are using) and pour the batter into the pan(s) evenly. Bake until a knife removes clean from cake when pierced. Cooking times range from a bunt pan – 1 hour, 9″ pans – 20-25 minutes, or a cake pan – 30-40 minutes, but watch closely because I have only used the bundt pan so far. Cool and then drizzle or frost with icing, or serve plain. 
Cream Cheese Icing
(I usually have some already made in the freezer, then it is ready to defrost and  use for a little drizzle or icing here and there) I eyeball the ingredients based on the consistency I want, but I am sure you can use any icing you choose. I include a little butter, cream cheese, vanilla, a little espresso, and a lot of powdered sugar. Just remember that the more wet you use, the more dry you will need, so start off little! I love the addition of espresso flavor, but it is completely optional. 

Please change the recipe to suite your own preferences or try it just as it is, I can still remember the flavorful and slightly sweet taste when I close my eyes, and I wish so badly I had another piece here to enjoy for breakfast! I mean it totally has veggies in it, why not eat it for breakfast!  Let me know what you think, I always appreciate comments and hearing from you! Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more. 

Nutella Oreo Truffles

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February 5th is World Nutella Day and I have some quite delicious truffles to share with you, all made with nutella
Ms. Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso have created World Nutella Day and want everyone to come together on February 5th to eat nutella in any shape or form, this is the 5th year! Please join all of us and find some nutella, plain or making something fancy. 
The first time I had nutella was my first trip to Italy, I was about 17 years old. I remember being a little shocked when they served us breakfast, because the only choice was fresh bread with either butter or chocolate spread. I thought that it was a bit strange at the time since I had never actually tasted chocolate on bread before, but it was love at first taste. I then learned you could not only put nutella on anything, but it was incredible on fruits!!! I have been a faithful nutella lover ever since. I even have made my own, homemade nutella, which is also what I used in the truffles below. Check them out, try them yourself, and then surprise someone special on Valentine’s Day.  
Nutella Oreo Truffles: Makes about 14-16 truffles
3 sleeves of Oreo cookies
2 T. cream cheese
2 T. Nutella  or Homemade nutella
1 1/2 cups milk or semi sweet chocolate chips
Place 2 1/2 sleeves of Oreos in food processor and pulse until fine (doing half at a time), remove 1/4 cup to roll a few of the truffles in after, if you desire. Add the cream cheese and nutella and continue to pulse until thick and easy to handle. Refrigerate for half an hour, and melt the chocolate to have ready while you are waiting. Also, prepare any toppings to roll the truffles in like: coconut flakes, powdered sugar, cocoa and cinnamon, cookies, crushed hazelnuts, or anything else. 
Once the batter is hard enough, roll into small balls and then dip in the melted chocolate, then letting set almost fully on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Before the chocolate sets completely, roll each ball in desired topping or toppings! I think my favorites ended up being the coconut and the cocoa with cinnamon. 
Super simple, super delicious, super fun! 

Homemade Nutella

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Can it really be possible?

Does it taste the same as actual Nutella?

Yes and No.

Yes, you can make a yummy chocolate-hazelnut spread that melts in your mouth with every sweet bite. No, it doesn’t taste the same, it is better!

Chocolate + Hazelnuts = Spreadable goodness.

The recipe is very basic and flexible. If you really want to taste the hazelnuts, add more. If you want it to be more chocolatey and sweet, add more chocolate and sugar.

Homemade Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread: (Makes approximately 2 cups)
2 cups hazelnuts, cleaned and toasted
3/4 cup powdered sugar, or more for sweeter
1/4 cup dark or regular cocoa
4-5 pieces dark chocolate cocoa bar, chopped
Splash of vanilla 
A few drops of coconut, walnut, or canola oil, only if needed to process smoother (depending on your hazelnuts) And/or a few drops of milk or warm water
Food process the warm, toasted nuts until they become very fine, soft, and slightly clumping together. At this point, add the cocoa, sugar, chocolate, and vanilla; process a few times to mix thoroughly. If and when the mix is too thick, add some drops of oil. Again, this is a very flexible recipe. All you need to keep consistent is the texture, which should be rich and creamy.  If the flavor is too strong or mixture too thick, add a few drops of milk or warm water, this will quickly smooth your spread so be careful not to add too much. 

This spreadable goodness is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G on bananas!!!! It can be spread on anything, almost. It is great on fresh bread, apples, biscuits, crackers, oatmeal, and so much more. 
Will make two small jars or one larger jar. I like to divide into two jars, keeping one in the fridge and one in the cupboard. 
You won’t regret trying this at home. The only tricky part is maybe making it your first time, I made a huge mess in my kitchen. HUGE. Luckily, I think it was just the first time experiment of perfecting the recipe. One time under your belt and it will become easy breezy. 
I only wish that you could scratch and sniff or better yet, touch and taste!

Italian. Wedding. Cake.

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Maybe the three best words in the English language, and if you put them together… maybe the most delicious thing in the whole world! Italian + Wedding + Cake = Amazingly wonderful!!!


That is how long I have been married to my handsome, funny, wonderful, and ever so talented husband. The past year has indescribably flown by, and now we eagerly begin our adventure of year two!

To commemorate our anniversary we are taking a small trip to the island of Chios, south 3 hours by boat. We will be gone for a few days and I am excited to explore, take pictures, and celebrate “us” :)-

I also wanted to make something special for us to enjoy, and since I have been complaining the whole year how I only got to enjoy like two bites of our own wedding cake, I knew exactly what I would make for our anniversary, a wedding cake.

I always joked and teased that I would someday marry an Italian, but I guess God has a sense of humor because He gave me a Greek instead! I am glad I fell in love with and married my V, because I am sure that no Italian stallion could compare to what we have found together. Besides, the more spaghetti I feed him, the more he speaks with an Italian accent!

Okay, back to my the cake. I fell in love with Italy on my first overseas adventure, and then again when I had the chance to live there for a month. I adore rich wedding cakes. I always have and always will. There is just nothing comparable to its sweet and lush flavors and consistency. So, Italian wedding cake was the perfect dessert, hence the perfect thing to make for our anniversary! Don’t you see my logic?

Italian Wedding Cake Recipe
For me, this is easier to make in stages:

1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Combine together in a cup and set aside. Preheat oven to 175°/350°. 
1 cup butter or shortening, room temp. 
2 cups sugar
Cream together in a large bowl until fluffy, Set aside. (This is your main bowl)
5 egg yolks
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups AP flour
Begin to beat yolks and flour together, adding one yolk at a time. Then, slowly add this to the butter mixture alternating with the buttermilk mix, lastly mixing in the extracts. 
5 egg whites
Beat to a stiff peak and fold into the butter mixture slowly to lighten it. 
1/2 cup drained, crushed pineapples, roughly chopped 
1/2 cup flaked coconut 
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
Alternate adding all the ingredients, folding (not stirring) until well mixed. Divide among 2-3 cake rounds and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until toothpick removes clean. Cool completely on wire racks and then refrigerate overnight wrapped neatly in saran plastic! 

Icing Recipe: 
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
4 cups + powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 ounce strong, chilled espresso
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans, optional to mix in or dust on top

Beat butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Add espresso and mix again until combined, add vanilla and mix again. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach the thick consistency you desire for frosting. Stir in pecans now or set aside to top after. Place your first layer on your cake stand with a little frosting under it to hold in place. Begin to add as thick of a layer you wish and place 2nd layer on top. Repeat if using a 3rd layer. Once you have filled your layers accordingly, slowly smooth a thin layer of frosting all over your cake, then let dry. This thin layer is to prevent the crumbs from falling during your final sculpting of your cake. Once the 1st layer is dry, add your remaining frosting in whatever design or decoration you prefer. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving and viola, you have the best cake in the world! 

 It took some effort to make, but I guarantee that it is worth every minute you spend making and every calorie you gain eating. Be sure to have plenty of people to share it with, or else you might end up in a sugar coma.

You won’t regret anything about this cake. If you are looking for a way to self indulge (even if it is the “New Year” already), this is exactly what you need! Treat yourself or be generous and treat those you love.

Maybe next year we can all celebrate together. Until then, Happy Anniversary to us; it has been a wonderfully blessed year and I look forward to the next 80 or so.