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Category: Food

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

homemade pumpkin spice latte syrup

I promised Pumpkin Spice and today it’s here! You may have noticed that our spicy seasonal favorite started popping up in Starbucks this weekend, and usually I would flock to those green awnings to take my first fall sip.  This year however, a few things have me stopping short.

I mentioned my diet change last week, but also there have been loads of reports of the mystery additives in the original coffeehouse version. Although I certainly would have looked past the mystery and sipped anyway, the diet change really was the thing that got me thinking of a make-at-home version with all natural ingredients.

There are about a bazillion ways to customize this depending on what you drink or don’t drink.  I’ve made a version with no white sugar and no sugar substitutes that is eerily close to the original.

pumpkin spice latte syrup at home pumpkin spice latte homemade homemade pumpkin spice latte

So, what are we waiting for!  Let’s make this pumpkiny, syrupy goodness!  Continue Reading…

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Why I Whole 30

whole30

Last week, I shared my whole salt crusted branzino recipe and let it drop that I was indulging myself with Whole30 and sure enough I start getting emails and comments asking me to elaborate.  Then I saw my friend, Clara, also thinking about taking the plunge, so I’ll elaborate, because I love you guys.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Whole30 markets itself as a 30 day ‘reset’ of the metabolism, gut, and digestive systems. You can read all about it on their site, but basically you eat three large meals a day using only high quality meats, veggies, fruits, and nuts/seeds. You cook and you eat whole, raw foods, and you don’t eat anything processed or refined.  So, that means that all grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol and sugars are out.  Yes, that means no wine.  Or cheese.

Prior to Whole30, my five main food groups went like this: Cheese, Wine, Olives, Nuts, Tomatoes. So, I wasn’t super big on starches anyway, but I was big on snacking throughout the day on little things and living without my wine and my cheese? A world without cheese is not a world for me. But I was drawn in by the many touted benefits.  I’ll tell you about why I needed a change, what I’ve experienced (at the current 1/2 way point), and what the hardest part is. Continue Reading…

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Salt Crusted Whole Branzino

salt fish2

Last night I got back from LA (4 hours, a missed flight and a rebooking later than planned) but regardless, I made it.  I barely made it in time for a dinner I’d had planned for a good friends birthday, but Matt saved the day when he ran to the market for me to grab everything I needed for the meal.

My friend loves salt crusted baked branzino which we’ve had the pleasure of eating together at a fabulous Italian restaurant in Hong Kong several times. I did a practice run a few weeks ago to be sure that I could successfully pull this off and I’m here to tell you that the hardest part of this dish is ordering the fish from the seafood counter.  Luckily, the men a whole foods really know their stuff and when we told them what we were making with the fish, they were able to point me in the right direction.

Truth be told, this photo isn’t a depiction of my actual fish.  When it came out of the oven last night (it was beautiful!) but we were all so excited to see it, in all of it’s fish glory, and we were pretty hungry, so I broke rule #1 of food blogging and that is I ate the dish before photographing it.  When researching recipes a few weeks ago, however, I’d stumbled upon this one from Skye over at From My Dining Table and it’s a great alternative to mine as it doesn’t use egg if you’re not an egg person. (also, Skye’s blog is gorgeous, so snoop around over there too!)

Like I said, when researching this fish, I meshed together multiple different recipes and the one I landed on is pretty wonderful.  Matt, who didn’t eat fish when I met him, said it was phenomenal.  And he doesn’t really use words like phenomenal, so maybe it was the wine speaking!   Continue Reading…

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Homemade Garden Salsa

best homemade salsa recipe

I promised you guys yesterday that I had an amazing salsa recipe today and boy, do I! Let me start out by saying that I could make chips & salsa my entire meal.  When I go to a mexican restaurant, I really don’t need a meal, I’ll just have the chips & salsa and a sweet simple marg. And although I love some salty crunchy chips, I really could just eat this salsa on it’s own.  I put in on eggs and mix it into rice for a little south of the border flare for every meal.

making homemade salsa

Most homemade salsa’s I try are a little lack-luster and very very acidic. For this reason, I haven’t made homemade salsa in quite some time because it was honestly just never as good as store-bought.  But, this year we have an overabundance of tomatoes, so I need to do something with them and set out to create a better salsa. I’ve balanced this recipe out with one wonderful little addition that will have you singing the praises of the salsa gods.  Continue Reading…

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Chunky Greek Salsa

greek salad recipe

Our garden is in full swing.  We have cucumbers coming out of our ears and the tomatoes are right around the corner from being an all-out tomato brigade.  I am certainly enjoying the situation, however, as I get to make one of my top favorite summer dishes.

I call it a ‘Greek Salsa’ because that is how I eat it – like a sauce on top of or mixed into just about everything. On top of a salad, mixed with some cous cous, as a side dish with kabobs, or just plain with pita.  It’s super versatile and wonderfully healthy.  What’s not to love?

greek salsa recipe greek salad chopped greek salad

The best part of this ‘salsa’ is that it marinates in it’s own juices and gets better and better as it sits.  I usually make a big batch and eat on it for 3-4 days during the week, having it a different way each day.  It’s the perfect summer solution to lunch (and an overflowing garden).

 

Enjoy, friends!

 

 

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Salty Caramel Iced Latte

 

DSC_5566

I’m usually somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to my coffee.  I don’t like all sorts of jazzed up frappacinos with everything and the kitchen sink on top, but stick with a very very predictable skinny vanilla latte or plain iced coffee.  I recently, however, got my hands on a Nespresso VertuoLine and have loved experimenting with new drinks since I’ve had the ability to make espresso right at my fingertips.

Matt and I have been coffee making nuts ever since getting this machine.  I’ve tried all sorts of recipes, and thought I’d share with you my absolute favorite so far – The Salty Carmel Iced Latte! It’s actually fairly low-calorie and makes a really tasty afternoon treat.

salty caramel iced coffee recipe

Read on for the recipe and one brilliant iced coffee trick!

Continue Reading…

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Five Minute Homemade Frozen Yogurt

homemade frozen yogurt

I have such a treat to share with you today (literally)!  I have been challenged for the last few weeks because I’ve been trying out a very high protein, low sugar diet which is clearly not conducive to summer sweets like ice cream.  Since the diet focuses a lot on greek yogurt, I decided to try a little trick and see if I could make some homemade frozen yogurt to act as a sweet substitute for cool summer treats.

Good news, it worked.  Better news, it was delicious. Best news?  It’s fat free and only about 100 calories per serving.  So how did I do it?

homemade frozen yogurt recipe how to make frozen yogurt at home

I focused on the way ice cream is made by getting it super cold and agitating it so small crystals form instead of a a big block of ice. Not only is it wonderful, but it makes the perfect single serving.

Five Minute Frozen Yogurt

You’ll need:

  • Single Serving Greek Yogurt (I use Chobani 100 in lemon flavor)
  • 2 cups ice
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 gallon freezer bag
  • 1 quart freezer bag

Mix together the salt and ice in the gallon freezer bag.  Empty the yogurt into the quart freezer bag, seal tightly and place inside of the gallon freezer bag.  Wrap the bags in a kitchen towel and shake, squeezing gently for about 5 minutes. The yogurt will freeze up to the exact consistency of ice cream and then you can scoop it right out of the bag.

This trick works wonders.  Give it a try and indulge your sweet tooth!

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Chicken & Waffle Appetizer Bites

chicken and waffles appetizer

Boy, are you guys gonna love this one! I got the idea from a friend of a friend, but put my own twist on this perfect appetizer.  Making the traditional chicken and waffles in a mini, bite sized version adds to the appeal of such a well-loved dish.

With a skewer in each bite, they turn into an appetizer perfect for grabbing and grazing.  A maple-sriracha glaze finishes them off wonderfully.

mini chicken and waffles chicken appetizers

The recipe is simple enough, grab some frozen popcorn chicken and cook according to the package directions.  Top them onto toasted mini waffles and drizzle with a mixture of one half maple syrup and one half sriracha.

summer appetizer chicken and waffles

I suggest making these chicken and waffle bites for a party where you need hearty snacks or heavy hors d’oeuvres since you could make a meal of these and I promise your friends will want to do just that.

 

Have fun and enjoy!

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Outdoor Eats: Smoked Chicken Wings

smoked chicken wings

Happy Monday guys!  We spent the weekend enjoying lots of time with friends and family.  The weather was a little touch and go, but we were very happy to get some sunshine yesterday and some time to cook outside at our new outdoor kitchen.  I posted on Instagram last week a little peek of our patio this year (more photos to come!) and lots of you commented on our ‘Big Green Egg’ smoker.  We love smoking regular cuts of meet (brisket, pork shoulder, etc), but have found our favorite thing to make are chicken wings.  A dry rub makes them spicy and adds a ton of flavor without frying and sauces, so they’re not only fall-off-the-bone tender, but they’re also pretty healthy.

Get the smoker going at 300 degrees with your choice of wood chips.  We used hickory chips soaked on bourbon.  While it’s coming up to heat. Put together the dry rub (recipe below) and rub all over the skin-on wings. Place into the smoker and let smoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  That’s all!

chicken wings smoked

They’re savory and sweet with the perfect amount of spice.  They’re flavorful enough that you really don’t need any sauce, although if you want to add your favorite BBQ, you could!

Dry Rub Recipe:

  • 2 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs cayenne pepper
  • 4 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs ground sage
  • cracked black pepper
  • Dash of ground ghost chilies (comes in a grinder at Trader Joe’s)

dry rub for chicken wings

If you don’t have a smoker, you can make these in the oven. Just roast at 400 degrees on the middle rack for 20 minutes, then flip over for 10-20 more minutes or until golden brown.  Or if you choose to grill, it’s just about 10-15 minutes on each side of a hot grill!

We make these almost every other weekend in the summer.  They’re a meal on their own and you don’t feel too bad eating a bunch since they aren’t fried or soaked in butter-heavy sauce.

What are your favorite summer cookout recipes?

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Three Rhubarb Cocktail Recipes

rhubarb gin fixx recipe

When it comes to distinctly spring flavors, Rhubarb is one of the first things that pops to mind.  I used to stay far away from the tart veggie after summers of eating it raw from my grandmothers garden left me with a bad taste in my mouth (literally). As an adult however, I try to challenge myself to re-try things that I once thought I disliked… Rhubarb being one of them.

I am not known for turning down cocktails, so after trying a rhubarb margarita concoction (which I loved) I decided to try making some other cocktail varieties for you guys who are able to find some rhubarb in the market.  We have three very different drinks for you to try, starting with a ‘Pink Sparkler’.

pink sparkler

The Pink Sparkler uses a classic combination of strawberry and rhubarb to create a base of sweet flavor.  Topped with a crisp sparkling wine, this cocktail becomes well rounded.

rhubarb gin fizz rhubarb rum punch

Next on the list is a Rhubarb Gin Fizz.  Classic Gin Fizzes use lemon or lime juice with superfine sugar, but I’ve subbed the sugar for simple syrup here to integrate the rhubarb flavor and still add sweetness.  Your typical recipe might call for egg white too, but I opted out for this recipe. The result is a very light, tart drink that isn’t overpowering.

Lastly, the Rhubarb Rum Punch is my favorite of the bunch. It tastes like a spring vacation. Orange juice cuts the tartness and a lingering rum flavor adds a slightly tropical twist. It doesn’t look beautiful, so if you don’t like the muddy yellow color, mix a bit of grenadine in.

All in all, it was a lot of fun creating these recipes and you’ll notice that they all use one common ingredient – Rhubarb Simple Syrup.  It’s easy to make, just chop up 2 stems of rhubarb and add it to 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan.  Bring to boiling until all sugar is dissolved.  Reduce to a simmer and let the rhubarb flavor meld for about 5-10 more minutes. Strain to remove the rhubarb chunks and let it cool.

rhubarb champagne cocktail

It’s pretty easy to make flavor infused syrups.  Look for some local rhubarb in your area and give it a try!

 

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