Thursday, July 2, 2015

Around the Web


Celebrating the Fourth of July in Miami. New post on Monday!


Some employers are adopting four day work weeks. What do you think? - via Brit & Co.

I love when Jimmy Kimmel interviews children - via Rolling Stone

Which word is said to ruin your credibility when used? - via Business Insider

What exactly is gluten? - via The Kitchn

These Netflix documentaries are great inspiration for getting healthy - via PopSugar

How to throw a cocktail party in a hurry - via Domino

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Traveling to: Miami


Fourth of July weekend starts tomorrow evening for John and I and to celebrate, we're traveling to Miami! We've both been before but it's been a few years since we've visited; I'm super-excited to explore the city again and see what's new. I feel like we just got back from Costa Rica not too long ago and I'm already amped up for another getaway. Is this sad? Actually, I don't think it is, I think it's reality. Vacations should be mandatory every 8-10 weeks. Anyway, there are quite a few things we're both so excited about like:


Our Hotel


I can't wait to experience our hotel, Circa 39. Neither of us have stayed here before but we were sold on the photos and the reviews. When choosing our hotel, it was necessary for me (not sure if it was for John) to have a hotel that provided beach chairs and poolside fun - they have both.


Various Neighborhoods

We won't be in Miami too long but hopefully long enough to at least venture out and do a little neighborhood discovery. As many times as I've been to Miami, I've never frolicked to Little Havana so perhaps we can explore that area this time around.


Art

I can't wait to stroll through the Wynwood Art District. It seems like such a cool gem in Miami so we're planning on getting some exposure to a little public art - can't wait!


Food

Duh. Food always drives my travel experiences. There are quite a few Miami staples that always make it on everyone's list and obviously Joe's Stone Crab is high on most folks' list (and mine too). There are so many places I want to try and unfortunately there's not enough time to try them all but have no fear, we will eat some deliciousness while we're there.



What are your favorite things to do and see in Miami?


Monday, June 29, 2015

The Weekend


Ahhhh. The weekend. John and I are getting ready to head to Miami soon so this weekend were were supposed to be doing a few things to prepare for that trip but I think we came up short with crossing things off of our to-do list. One thing we did find time to do, though, was brunch! And champagne! I love the location of where we live because we can easily walk to our favorite little restaurant; the problem is walking back after your belly is full of delicious food and mimosas. Anyway, not much detail about this weekend: brunch, grocery store, drinks with friends, cleaning - you know, the usual.

Hope you had a great weekend - I'm counting down to a short week!






Happy Monday!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies


When John and I were planning our wedding, we tried to adopt somewhat of a healthy lifestyle; I use the word healthy very loosely. One thing I became obsessed with was vegan oatmeal raisin cookies from Whole Foods. Those cookies are ridiculously tasty and so addictive. I later found out that they had more calories in them than the regular oatmeal raisin cookies, which is probably why they tasted so good. At any rate, I was finally convinced that not all vegan foods were gross. I've tried and cooked some vegetarian dishes and had a pretty successful time with it but vegan was never something I felt a need to get into. I can think of many reasons but the only one that really mattered was: cheese.

I love cheese. Who doesn't love cheese? I know that vegan cheese exist but does that really even sound good to you...vegan cheese? I didn't think so. Anyway, I know we're not talking about cheese here but if there's anything that'll get me to start trying vegan dishes, it's dessert. So I'm doing things a little different and having dessert first! These cookies are not bad and I was a little shocked that I liked them as much as I did. When the recipe calls for flaxseed, I wasn't too sure what I was getting myself into but the results weren't horrible so I think this was a successful attempt at a vegan cookie.


Recipe adapted from Love and Lemons

1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
3 tbsp. warm water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 coconut oil + 2 tbsp., softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Almond milk, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, add flaxseed and warm water; stir until combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In the large mixing bowl (with the flaxseed), add coconut oil, sugar and syrup. Mix together until smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients; mix well. If the batter is too thick add one or two tablespoons of almond milk.

Stir in the chocolate chips and oats. Scoop out a ball of dough onto a cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.


The hint of nutmeg and cinnamon remind me of Christmas. These cookies aren't too sweet and can be enjoyed with a warm cup of coffee.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Around the Web


I think I have a cold. How sad.


Cooking and baking substitutions everyone should know - via Huffington Post Taste

Kitchen Nightmares really is a nightmare - via Huffington Post Taste (obvi I like Huff Post this week)

Did you watch Married at First Sight? Here's a little insight from the show - via The Wrap

The absolute worst drinks to order at a bar...ever - via Thrillist

Suggestions for getting rid of a hangover - via Cup of Jo

Habits of happy couples - via Bustle

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cardamom Iced Coffee


It's hot.

But I still crave coffee. When I'm in the office, I drink hot coffee because it's there and it usually smells really good. Sometimes, when the weekend rolls around or when I work from home, I make iced coffees and it's probably the most exciting thing about my work-from-home days. Anyway, I have a weird love for cardamom as you can here, here and here. Last summer, I had an awesome opportunity to work with Seattle's Best and I created a pretty tasty iced coffee (if I do say so myself) and obviously, I'm continuing this iced coffee tradition this summer!

So this time around, I knew I wanted a flavored iced coffee and why not try cardamom. The process is pretty simple; I prepared it the same way as the Seattle's Best coffee (overnight) and of course, I made coffee ice cubes - there is no other way to have an iced coffee. I've said that over and over again here.


I took cardamom pods and ground them along with the coffee beans to get the full cardamom flavor.

I let the coffee and water sit in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, add your coffee ice cubes, a splash of half and half and a sweetener, should you desire one.

Sprinkle a little more of cardamom on top and enjoy!


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Weekend


Summer is here!

Even though it feels like it's been here for months, summer is officially here and I couldn't be happier. I love it! I really had a fantastic weekend: delicious breakfast, Father's Day and a birthday party - what could be better? One of our favorite bars (The Bitter Alibi) now serves breakfast/brunch so John and I decided to give it a try Saturday morning before he went to work. We love Bitter and always end up there at some point during the weekend for random shenanigans and breakfast was amazing. We can't wait to go back AND the best part is that it's not just limited to the weekend like a lot of brunch places: you can get brunch through the week too. It was also my bud Jennifer's 30th's birthday so naturally, we had a party to welcome her into this new era. Her party was so much fun and John and I were just so happy to be able to celebrate her 30th with her.

I spent my 30th birthday on the beach in Dominican Republic with my girls...it seems so long ago. Geez.






the birthday girl and the DJ better known as my husband. haha!


I made little churro bites for Jennifer's birthday, which I'll share on the blog very soon. Obviously, I came equipped with my own miniature bottle of champs for the party. I should also mention I saw Jurassic World this weekend. John has been wanting to see it and lucky for him so did the birthday girl, so off we went. Wasn't bad. Perfect weekend!

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cocktail Week: Champagne Floats


Obviously I have to end cocktail week with a bang pop and share a champagne drink! This is probably the easiest of the drinks I've shared this week and one of my favorites. There are only two ingredients and it's absolutely delicious. This drink can serve two purposes: cocktail and dessert. How many drinks can do that?

This is a perfect option if you're having folks over for dinner and want an easy, low key dessert/after dinner cocktail choice. I've never enjoyed root beer floats or any other floats for that matter. It was something about mixing ice cream with a soda that just didn't sit right in my soul...I always thought it was weird. However, this grown up version is much better and I definitely see myself slurping a few more of these down this summer. I used my favorite Haagen Dazs raspberr sorbet for this float but you can certainly use whatever sorbet or gelato you like. I an't stress enough: this is soooooo good.


Ingredients:

Champagne
Sorbet

Scoop the sorbet in a glass and top with champagne. I mean, how simple is this.

The texture of the sorbet changes with the addition of the champagne; it's almost like velvet. No. I'm serious, it really is.

Geez, I love this. I think I'm going to make more of these this weekend...you should too! Happy Friday!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cocktail Week: Summer Mojito


When I think of this drink, I constantly have Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff's "Summertime" in my head; that song reminds me of the beginning of summer. Anyway, I've always had a love for mojitos and for some reason when I'm on vacation (especially if it's a beach vacation), I always order them. While we were in Costa Rica, I think I drank quite a few of them. They're minty, sometimes strong and just beautiful. Mojitos can be quite tedious to make, which is why it's probably not smart to order one if a bar is super-busy but you probably already knew that. But when you do get around to ordering one, it'll sure be worth it.

This mojito still has the citrus flavor that a regular mojito has but I simply rearranged, if you will, a few fruits and herbs. For instance, there's lemon and orange instead of lime and there's basil instead of mint. Very simple replacements but still very summery. You can drink this and pretend that you're on a beach somewhere!


What you'll need:

1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 orange, juiced
2 tsp. sugar
basil leaves
1.5 - 2 oz Rum
Champagne (or club soda)


Dissolve the sugar in the lime and orange juice in a cocktail shaker.

Add a few basil leaves to the juice (I used about 3) and gently muddle - just enough to release the basil juices.

Add ice and rum and shake. Pour over ice.

Top with champagne (or you can use club soda if you like...I used champagne - duh).

Throw in a couple of pieces of the orange, lime and a little basil as a garnish. Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cocktail Week: Broiled Grapefruit Gin Spritzer


I love grapefruit. It's so tart and tangy but so delicious. I've been on a trip lately where I've been broiling my grapefruits again and playing around with different spice combinations. The most recent one was with sugar and black pepper. Sounds weird but it was really quite tasty. Anyway, I love cocktails with grapefruit in it - there's something very refreshing about it..especially when you add a splash of champagne.

Recently, I was looking for a way to incorporate fresh grapefruit juice in an adult beverage but I wanted something more than just "regular" grapefruit juice. Why not roast a grapefruit and use the juices from it as a base for a cocktail? Roasting grapefruit, or any fruit for that matter, really highlights the flavors and sort of intensifies it - so good. Because I like gin and I like grapefruit juice...I figured I'd combine the two and see what I came up with.



Supplies:

grapefruit
cardamom
gin
tonic water
grapefruit + basil for garnish
turbinado sugar for garnish, optional (you could use regular sugar too if you like)

Turn on your broiler.

Half the grapefruit and sprinkle with a little sugar and cardamom on top. Place in broiler...keep an eye out on the grapefruit. You want it to char a bit but you want to make sure it doesn't burn. It should caramelized a little on top.

Once it cools, juice the grapefruit. While you're waiting for your grapefruit to cool, rub the outside of your glass with a slice of grapefruit then dip the wet part of the glass in turbinado sugar. Not necessary but makes for a pretty drink.

Combine gin and juice with ice in a cocktail shaker (throw a little basil in there if you want) and shake!

Pour into a glass filled with ice and top with tonic water.

Garnish with a slice of grapefruit and a basil leaf. If you enjoy the cardamom flavor, sprinkle a little extra on top.

There's a slight possibility that this drink may be a little too tangy for you. If this is the case, you can sweeten with a little agave.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cocktail Week: Bourbon Cherry Coke


It's cocktail week on the blog!

What does that mean? It means for the rest of week, I'm sharing cocktail recipes. Nothing else. Just cocktails. Hooray!

First up: Bourbon Cherry Coke. Doesn't that sound delicious? Trust me, it is. I'll admit, I indulge in a Coca-Cola or two every now and then. I'm trying to not drink it and I think I've done a good job of staying away but once in a blue moon, the craving will sneak back in and I'll fall victim to it and what's better than a Coca-Cola with a little added flavor? I love cherry Coke; it's definitely one of my favorite indulgences. Even though cherry Coke is delicious by itself, a fresh cherry Coke (with bourbon) is 10 times better. I got the idea from Heather Christo and I was so into it when I first saw this on Pinterest. Genius!


So all you'll need is:

cherries, pitted
bourbon
sugar
Coca-Cola

Muddle the cherries with bourbon and sugar. Let the cherries become pulpy. I allowed my cherry/bourbon mixture to sit in the fridge overnight; not necessary but the flavors really came together by doing it this way.

Pour the cherry mixture in a glass filled with ice and top with Coca-Cola.

Yum!




Sometimes I like to add some fresh lime juice to my Cokes or cherry Coke. Next time I make this, I'll definitely add some fresh lime juice just to give it a little bite.

Try it!



Monday, June 15, 2015

The Weekend


Jam-packed weekend.

That's the best way I can describe all of the activities that took place over the span of 3 days. Friday night, we went to dinner party at a friend's house and had such a great time. It was Mediterranean themed so think tons of hummus, baba ganoush and baklava. So much fun; I think we're pondering making this a monthly thing. I tried to binge on Orange is the New Black once we got home Friday night but I was too tired and I think we only got through one episode - I remedied that slightly later in the weekend. Saturday we hung out with friends, which by the end of the night, they were somehow over at our place and we were ordering pizza. So random. Sunday was scorching hot but we slowly made it out of the house for brunch and drinks with friends. Busy, busy weekend. Now, I'm exhausted.









Oh! I baked some vegan chocolate chip cookies and they weren't disgusting! I'll share the recipe soon. Overall, I think this was a fantastic weekend and I'm definitely ready for next weekend!

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Easy Strawberry Crumble


Baking in the summer time may not be the most exciting task on your summer to do list but when you have easy desserts that won't cause a lot of trouble or make your kitchen too hot, you can't help but be into it. I love strawberries...they make me so happy and they're just gorgeous on everything. Even though it's not officially summer, it's been really hot. I'm not complaining though; summer is my favorite. With the crazy rising temperatures, cool and refreshing desserts are all the rage. John and I will occasionally reward ourselves by walking to our favorite ice cream shop and cooling off with a little treat. At any rate, I came across the idea for this strawberry crumble from one of my favorite bloggers that I follow on Instagram. I used her recipe as inspiration for this dish but changed it up a bit.

I promise you'll like it especially if you don't have a ton of time to spend baking a complex dessert.



You'll need:
strawberries (I just used one container)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
shortbread cookies, crumbled
Salem Baking Company's toasted coconut cookies, crumbled

Heat your oven to 375,

Toss the strawberries in the agave and balsamic. Pour into a baking dish and roast for 20-30 minutes.

Once the strawberries are done, sprinkle the cookies on top of the warm berries.

Serve over ice cream. You can serve it warm or allow it to cool, whatever you prefer.

I added extra cookies on top of my ice cream too...because why not.

A ridiculously easy dessert for a beautiful summer night. Happy Friday!





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