Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake || Runway Chef When Mr. RC requested pineapple upside down cake for his birthday, I of course had to oblige (wifely duties call). It’s one of our favorite cakes, what with the moist dough and the crunchy, caramel topping. But, per usual, I can never let a good recipe just be (whoever said “Don’t mess with a good thing!” clearly hadn’t met me) so this time I was determined to find a few ways to switch up the old pineapple upside down cake recipe and make it into something just a little more special. So I added lots of coconut flavors (because have you been to a tropical island?! Pineapple and coconut were just meant to be together.. obvs!) and I baked it in a skillet (because everything tastes better in a skillet, double obvs). The results? One happy birthday boy and one clean cake pan. I knew there was a method to my recipe changing madness…

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Serves 8
A light and moist cake with a crispy, caramelized topping and hints of tropical coconut, making it perfect for summer
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 1/4 cup butter
  2. 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  3. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  5. 20-ounce can pineapple rings in juice, drained (reserve juice for the cake)
  1. 3 tablespoons butter
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup white sugar
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  9. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  10. 1/4 cup pineapple juice (reserved from the rings)
For the coconut cream
  1. 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled
  2. Sugar, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Next, you will prepare the topping. In a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet set over a burner on medium heat, add all of the topping ingredients, minus the pineapple rings (butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and spices). Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted, everything has combined and the mixture begins to bubble, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the burner off. Lay the pineapple rings on top of the brown sugar mixture (7 rings fit in the pan I used), then set the pan aside.
  3. To make the cake, begin by creaming together the butter and sugars in the bowl of stand mixer. Next, beat in the egg, salt, baking powder and vanilla. Lastly, alternate adding in the flour with the liquids (pineapple juice and coconut milk), making sure to not over mix.
  4. Pour the cake batter over the pineapple rings. The batter is really thick so you will definitely need a spatula to help spread it around. Also, don't be worried if the pineapple is showing through the batter or if it barely covers the pan. It will spread out and rise as it bakes.
  5. Bake the cake for 18-30 minutes (depends on your oven and the size of the pan you used....mine was a 12 inch skillet so it only took 18 minutes to bake), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes. Then, gently run a knife around the edge, place a serving plate on top, grasp the plate and the pan with both hands and flip it over. Gently tap the bottom of the pan all over, then slowly lift the pan off, using your knife to help loosen anything that might be stuck.
  7. To make the coconut whipped cream, open your can of coconut milk and separate the thick cream part from the watery liquid. Place the thick cream in a mixing bowl and begin beating it on medium-high speed. Add in as little or as much sugar as you would like. I don't like thinks overly sweet so I only used about 2 tablespoons. Continue whipping for a few minutes, until soft peaks form. Please note: unlike traditional whipped cream, this doesn't stay stiff forever. As it warms up, it will begin to thin slightly, but simply placing it back in the fridge will get it nice and thick again. It also tastes great thinned out, so if you don't feel like re-whipping it, don't worry!
  8. Serve the cake warm with a dollop of coconut cream. Store remaining coconut cream in an airtight container in the fridge. The cake should be tightly wrapped with plastic wrap and will last about 2 days on the counter, or about 4-5 days if stored in the fridge.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
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Greek Appetizers + Bites

Greek Appetizer Plate Mr. RC and I always seem to be short on time, but we love cooking together so much that we don’t always want to eat out. Our solution has been creating themed appetizer plates, with mostly ready-made options for ease, but enough homemade parts to still get a little cooking time together. We’ve been doing these for quite some time now and have developed an array of themed app-dinners (as I like to call them) so I thought it would be fun to share them with you over the next several months. First up, our favorite Greek/Mediterranean themed app-dinner. We probably eat this at least once every couple weeks during the summer. The lighter fare and refreshing elements make it especially perfect for warm summer nights. Here’s what we like to include in our Greek appetizer spread:

  • Hummus (homemade)
  • Greek Yogurt Dip (homemade, recipe below)
  • Tahini Dip (store bought)
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves (we want to try making these but for now they are store bought…the canned ones sold at Trader Joe’s are really good)
  • Pita Pieces or Pita Chips (store bought; homemade recipe here)
  • Falafel (homemade; Trader Joe’s sells a good one too)
  • Olives (Trader Joe’s Greek Olive Mix or Fairway’s olive bar)
  • Feta and/or haloumi cheese
  • Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber 
  • Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Dip (Trader Joe’s) or Roasted Veggie Dip (recipe here)

To make this into a bigger, slightly more complicated meal we’ll serve these appetizers alongside a Greek Salad or Spanakopita.

Hummus Greek Olives falafel Greek dips Mediterranean Appetizers Feta Greek yogurt Dip Greek Yogurt Dip Mediterranean appetizer plate

Feta Greek Yogurt Dip
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  1. 2 cups Greek yogurt
  2. 1/3 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  3. The juice of 1 lemon
  4. 2-3 tablespoons of Za'atar (depending on flavor preferences)
  5. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  6. A large dash of garlic powder
  7. A dash of cumin
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until well-combined and serve. Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
  1. This does taste better after it has sat in the fridge for several hours, so if you can I highly recommend making this ahead.
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Healthy Living- Detox Water

Detox Water As promised, I wanted to share more about my skin routine and the different things I do to keep it healthy in the most natural and organic way possible. While I will eventually get to what I put ‘on’ my skin, I think it is more important to start with what you put ‘in’ your skin, as I believe true beauty comes from within (both physically and emotionally). There are two parts to what I put into my body for healthy skin: vitamins (which we will discuss later) and detox waters. Two out of three of these detox drinks use water and simple house hold items. In fact, they seem so simple you might even wonder if they make a difference. I’ve done plenty of research over the years and have pulled some facts together so you can make your own educated decision, but in my opinion detox water definitely makes a difference.

Lemon Detox Water

Lemon Water 

8 ounces of water + Juice of half of lemon (can be diluted more to suit your tastes)

Every morning I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and then grab a glass of lemon water. Every.single.morning. My skin has started to glow just a little bit more, and I’ve noticed my morning breathe growing fainter and fainter. Here are some other benefits:

  • Packed with vitamin C, citric acid, potassium (nourishes brain and nerve cells as well as your heart), calcium, phosphorus, magnesium
  • Lemon juice in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning helps flush out toxins and replenishes body salts (also good after a workout)
  • Aids in the production of bile and digestive juices which aids in your digestion and also relieves indigestion symptoms
  • Enhances enzyme function which stimulates your liver and aids in cleansing your system
  • Helps prevent wrinkles and acne and promotes clear skin
  • The pectin fiber in lemon is beneficial for colon health as well as an appetite suppressant thus helping you lose weight
  • Lemon is a powerful antibacterial and helps aid against the common cold as well as the growth of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and disease
  • Gives you an energy boost which is helpful for those trying to cut caffeine
  • Maintains healthy eyes and fights against eye health problems
  • It balances and maintains healthy pH levels in your body
  • Dissolves uric acids which helps reduce pain and inflammation in your joints and knees 

Please note: One side effect of lemon water can be its harsh effect on your teeth enamel. It is recommended that you brush your teeth prior to drinking lemon water and then do not brush again until at least 3 hours after. You can also swish plain water around your mouth after drinking your lemon water. You can read more about the benefits of lemon detox water here and here.

Apple Cider Vinegar detox water

Vinegar Water

8 ounces of water + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (make sure it is unfiltered)


8 ounces of seltzer water + 1 tablespoon of vinegar + a splash of juice (typically cranberry juice…you want some that is 100% juice with nothing added)

The benefits of drinking vinegar water are similar to lemon water. It’s great for detoxing and it’s also high in potassium. I find that drinking vinegar detox water helps me to stay detoxed and debloated. Some other benefits include:

  • Apple cider vinegar has all the same benefits that apples do, meaning it is packed with enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants, beta carotene, calcium, iron, pectin, silicon and potassium.
  • It helps keep blood pressure low
  • It can aid in the prevention of colon cancer
  • Apple cider vinegar helps lower glucose levels which in turn can help with diabetes
  • It also aids with weight loss by acting as an appetite suppressant, reducing water retention, increase metabolism, and helping with digestion

Please note: To receive these benefits you must use apple cider vinegar that is raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, made from organic apples, and includes something about ‘the mother’ (aka the translucent film floating around in the vinegar) on the label. The brand I like to use is Bragg’s, which you can find online, at Whole Foods, or any other health store or specialty market. You can read more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar detox water here.

Dermal Health Detox water

Herb Pharm Dermal Health Drops 

8 ounces of water + 1 dropper of Dermal Health, 3x a day

While this compound is also great for detoxing your system and keeping your liver clean, its primary focus is detoxing the skin to help aid in relief of skin diseases such eczema, psoriasis, and acne. I have been drinking leon and vinegar water for years, but this detox solution is a recent recommendation. It was recommended to me by the lady who runs the herb shop in our neighborhood, and while it didn’t clear up my skin issues, I have noticed a big difference. Here are the ingredients found in this compound as well as links to pages with each of their benefits:

  • Burdock Seed: here and here
  • Stinging Nettle Seed: here
  • Sarsaparilla Root: here
  • Yellow Dock Root: here
  • Spilanthes Flowering Herb: here
  • Ginger Rhizome: here

Please note: This is by far the most expensive detox drink on the list and also probably the hardest to come by. The flavor is also not the most pleasant. 

*Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. These are simply things that have worked for me, my research on them, and my observations of how they have worked. Please consult your physician with any questions*

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies || Runway Chef I’ve pretty much never met a cookie that I haven’t liked (or really any sweet treat for that matter because, let’s be real, my sweet tooth is ginormous-with-a-capital-G). But when it comes to making cookies, I pretty much stick to one thing- chocolate chip. How boring and unoriginal of me. You see, my brain comes up with all these grand ideas for this cookie and that cookie, but then my tastebuds are all like “I just want chocolate chip.” Until my taste buds had one of these and then they were all like “watermelon + chocolate don’t mix on 90 degree days”. And now this is getting weird, because my tastebuds are talking (What? Yours don’t?!) and I’m not quite even sure what we’re talking about anymore. Oh yeah, cookies. So after making these, I wanted to eat the leftover granita for dessert, but I also wanted a little something to go along with it. I remembered these cookies that my Mom used to make that consisted of cornmeal and lime and had a light buttery, texture, which is perfect for summer and to go along side fruit-based desserts. Of course, growing up I only had eyes for my chocolate chip cookies, so I wasn’t always so keen on these cornmeal ones, but I didn’t mind them either. Armed with a bushel of limes (don’t even ask how we got that many), I set out to find a recipe to replicate these cookies for my now-reformed tastebuds. Mr. RC and I finished half the batch in about a day (what butter??!), so it’s safe to say that the chocolate chip cookies might not be so safe in their number one spot…

What’s your favorite type of cookie?

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies || Runway Chef cornmeal cookies cornmeal cookie recipe citrus cornmeal cookies butter cookies

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies
Yields 36
A light and buttery cookie with just a hint of flavor that's perfect for summer
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. The juice of two limes
  4. The zest of one lime
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  6. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal + extra cornmeal for rolling
  8. 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  9. Granulated sugar
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar, on medium speed, until smooth. Add the lime juice, zest, and rosemary, and mix to combine, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. With the speed turned down to low, add in the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix just until combined.
  2. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a log that's about 1 1/2" in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap (I usually wrap mine in the empty butter wrappers first), and then refrigerate until cold (about one hour; you can speed up this process by placing the logs in the freezer).
  3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle a cutting board with extra cornmeal and granulated sugar (I did about 2 tablespoons of each) and then roll the logs in the mixture to coat them. Slice the logs into approximately 1/4 inch rounds, and place them about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Bake until the edges just start to brown and the cookies are golden, about 18-25 minutes (depending on your oven). Cool on sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
  1. Rosemary can be omitted and other citrus flavors, such as orange or lemon, can be used in place of the lime.
  2. Not all of the cookies have to be baked at once; you can keep an unbaked log in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just make sure the logs stay tightly sealed in plastic wrap.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
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3×3 Food- Watermelon Drinks {Watermelon Granita Cocktail}

3x3 Food- Watermelon Drinks {Watermelon Granita Cocktail} On a hot, steamy night (or day, for that matter), I can never decide if I want to cool down with fresh fruit, a cocktail, or a frozen treat. I realized this dilemma was getting a bit out of hand when it would take me 30+ minutes to make a decision (um, hi warm drink, melted ice cream, and ruined evening), so, like most of normal society, I started combining fruit, cocktail, and frozen treat in one. First, there were these margaritas. Then recently I created these vodka-drenched granita sno-cone-wannabe drinks. Oh. Yes. I. Did. They pretty much rock my hot and humid summer world. Now my only dilemma will be deciding which of these 3 watermelon drinks I will be enjoying next. Luci’s sangria looks so refreshing (and healthy, because, I mean duh, it has fruit in it!), but I can never say no to a mojito and Grace’s recipe sure is calling my name. My solution to this dilemma? Give me all the watermelon drinks!

watermelon granita cocktail mint and watermelon drink watermelon granita cocktail watermelon drinks watermelon vodka granita

Watermelon Granita Cocktail w/ Vodka
A cool summer treat turned into a light and refreshing watermelon cocktail
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For the granita
  1. 6 cups of watermelon cubes
  2. 1/3 cup condensed milk
  3. Juice of 2 limes
  4. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
For the cocktail
  1. 2 ounces of vodka
  2. 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  3. Juice of 4 limes
  4. 2 tablespoons spearmint or mint, chopped
  5. Club soda
  1. To make the granita: In a blender, puree the watermelon, condensed milk, salt, and juice of 2 limes. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a 10x7 (you can also use a bigger or smaller pan, depending on how quickly you want it to freeze) and place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours. The condensed milk will keep it from becoming too hard so there is no need to scrape it with a fork every so often. Simply scrape the granita once it is all frozen.
  3. To assemble the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker combine the vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, and mint. Shake to combine. Pour into 2 serving glasses. Top with 2 scoops of watermelon granita, then finish with a splash of club soda. Drink immediately.
  1. The drink portion of this recipe makes enough for 2 cocktails, however, the granita recipe makes enough for 4-6 cocktails (deepening on how much taste testing you do on the side!).
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