To Explore / Bentonville, AR

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     Hi there! This last weekend I celebrated my birthday with family in Arkansas, and we visited Bentonville to explore their Crystal Bridges Museum! They are hosting a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit that I highly recommend you check out if you’re in the area. They include works not only from Georgia, but also from artists influenced by her - so it’s a pretty well rounded retrospective! More photos from the museum and where we had lunch/coffee in Bentonville are below!

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     Loved this modern sculpture.  

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      This was bailey’s first time in a museum! She enjoyed it about as much as a 4 year old can! LOL

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     They had an area where you could draw a still life based on common objects found in O’Keefe’s work! I drew one of the peonies. 

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    This wall was my sister and I’s favorite! The pink and the flowers were just too good.

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      We also loved this painting by one of the newer artists! The colors were just gorgeous. 

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And lastly the exterior of the exhibit was also in accordance with the theme. Tis mural was gigantic in person - so pretty!

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     Grandpa and Bailey! They’re observing the bridges that are the namesake of the museum. 

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      There is a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the property, and I had to take a look at the exterior - it was just too cool!

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      My little stinker! 

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     After the museum, we ventured downtown to Pressroom. It was too good and had beautiful interiors! 

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      I had chicken and waffles with hush puppies and beneigts! As I said on Instagram, southern food at its finest! 

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    After that, we stopped in next door to Onyx Coffee and loved it. 

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     Bailey and I had pink macaroons and were in heaven! 

    Thanks for reading and have a fun week! 

To Whip / Homemade Whipped Cream for Café con Panna

 
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     Good morning! I'm all for a new coffee drink, especially when it involves a pool of whipped cream. I was desperate to finish off a carton of heavy cream before it went bad (why don't they make smaller cartons?! Most recipes that call for heavy cream need about 1 tablespoon, not four cups!), so I researched what Italian spin I could put on whipped cream and delighted when I found the delicious sounding Café con Panna! 

    Café con Panna just means espresso with cream, and is basically an old-fashioned version of a latté. I didn't want to have any whipped cream left over, so I loaded up a little more than usual on top of the espresso (though, in my opinion, you can't have too much homemade whipped cream). Homemade whipped cream is very simple - it only requires patience and a little know-how to get a better result than what you could spray out of a can. Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients: Homemade Whipped Cream

- 2 tsp. of sugar

- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Ingredients: Café con Panna

- 2 oz. (or half a cup) of fresh brewed espresso

- all of the whipped cream you want

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Directions:

1. Chill your mixing bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes (this will help the cream hold its shape once whipped). Once chilled, whip your cream and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-high speed for 8 minutes (or until soft peaks begin to form).

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2. Spoon whipped cream on top of your warm espresso (little fingers stealing your cream is unavoidable here). 

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3. Stir and enjoy! 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday! I'm headed home to Arkansas this weekend to spend quality time with my family before my birthday on Wednesday (25! Woo!!). We'll be spending a day in Bentonville, so I'll share about that excursion on my Instagram and here next week! See you then!

To Make / Rustic Italian Pizza Dough

 
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     Good morning! If there's one classic Italian food that's universally loved, it has to be pizza. I've never met a person who at least doesn't love the concept of pizza (though have met people who don't like cheese on pizza, or sometimes sauce - I definitely understand the latter, but not the former LOL). That being said, one of my summer goals is to perfect my homemade pizza crust! I think I've gotten it pretty close to my favorite kind of rustic pizza crust, and that means it's time to share! 

    This dough is low prep, has a personalized rising time, and is just bread-y enough. Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- 5 cups of flour

- 1 + 1/4 cups of cold water

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of yeast

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of sea salt

- 2 tbs. of olive oil

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Directions:

1. Combine dry ingredients in a stand mixer. Pour in water and stir until dough is just coming together, then switch to your bread hook attachment. Beat dough in mixer for 8 minutes. 

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2. Flip dough out onto a floured surface, and seperate into 5-6 dough balls. Brush with olive oil and cover. Let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how chewy you want the dough to be (the longer you let it rise, the less chewy it will be). 

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3. Either store in the fridge/freezer or bake immediately. To bake, preheat oven to 450 and form your crust by smoothing a dough ball out with the palms of your hands (not your finger tips!) into a circle. Prebake your crust for 5 minutes before adding toppings, then bake for another 5. Enjoy!

      Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Freeze / Peach Lassi Sorbet

 
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     Good morning! I've recently gotten into Bon Appetit magazine and all of their delicious recipe ideas! I can't believe it, but for my 25th birthday I've requested their magazine subscription as my gift from my parents - which I haven't done in close to ten years. Print will never be dead in my mind! Today's recipe comes from Bon Appetit's August issue, and it's been Bailey's favorite since I made it (girl loves her peaches and blackberries). 

     It's a twist on a traditional sorbet (originally formed from the Italian sorbetto), the twist being the lassi aspect. A lassi is an Indian yogurt drink that is highly refreshing and perfect for whipping into sorbet! Not to mention, adds a little more healthiness to an already healthy dessert - so, win-win. Get the recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup of greek yogurt

- 4 very ripe peaches

- 1/4 cup and 2 tbs. of honey

- 1 tsp. of salt

- half a lemon for juicing

- a handful of ripe blackberries

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Directions:

1. Dice your peaches and blend with greek yogurt, salt, and 1/4 cup of honey. Press a sheet of parchment paper on the surface and let freeze for a minimum of 6 hours. 

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2. When ready to serve, macerate your blackberries by lightly crushing half, then combining with juice from half a lemon, 2 tbs. of honey, and the rest of the blackberries. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

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3. Scoop out your sorbet and top with your blackberries.

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4. Enjoy! Preferably (for me) with a particular 4 year old who has one bite, then comes right back for "just one more bite" until the whole cup is gone. :)

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Toss / A Cantaloupe Panzanella

 
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     Hi there! I hope your summer is going amazing so far! We're almost smack in the middle of the season, and it's weirdly cooler most days now than it was before it was even technically summer. LOL. We're soaking it up while we can though, spending days outside, grilling up a storm, and enjoying all of the refreshing produce! My farmers market pick of this week? Cantaloupe! I used to despise it, but have found it doesn't merit that opinion when paired with fresh herbs. I took that idea and applied it to a new favorite summery Italian salad: panzanella! 

    Panzanella is traditionally a bread and tomato laden salad, originating from Tuscany. Any salad that includes chunks of bread needs little improvement, but I couldn't resist tossing in cucumbers and sharp white cheddar along with the aforementioned cantaloupe and fresh herbs (basil, in this case)! Dressed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette, this salad will surely put a smile on your face - especially if you're in more sweltering conditions than we're experiencing. Get the recipe below! 

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Ingredients (salad):

- 1 cup of cubed ripe cantaloupe

- 1 heaping cup of cubed bread (I used a baguette)

- half a ripe tomato, cubed

- 6 or so slices of cucumber

- 1/4 of an onion, sliced

- sharp white cheddar (parmesan would also be amazing!)

- a few basil leaves

Ingredients (vinaigrette):

- 1/4 cup of olive oil

- 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

- a pinch each of salt and pepper

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Directions:

1. Toast your bread cubes until crispy and slightly charred. While bread is toasting, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and s+p.

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2. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and cantaloupe. Toss with your vinaigrette.

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3. Top with fresh cheese and torn basil leaves. 

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4. Toss once more, and serve cold with an iced coffee (or a light pinot gris if you're in the Italian mindset!). Enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Make / Vegan Peach Panna Cotta

 
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     Hi there! Peaches are abundant at every market right now, and nothing says middle-of-summer like a ripe peach. To bring in peach season right, I figured a healthy-ish peach panna cotta would be the perfect summery Italian treat! Panna cotta is a cream based, gelatinized dessert that can have any flavor you want (thought typical flavors are vanilla or coffee). To make it a little more acceptable for eating by the bowl-full, I switched out the cream with coconut milk - which also allows me to forgo the gelatin as that always creeps me out when I have to use it for some reason. When refrigerated, coconut milk forms a thick and smooth texture, much like a gelatin! With the addition of a few sprigs of mint from our garden, this dessert is as refreshing as it gets (which is ideal considering the relentless heat)! Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- one ripe peach

- one large sprig of mint

- one can of full-fat coconut milk

- 1/4 cup of honey

- 1 tsp. of vanilla

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Directions:

1. Slice and dice your peach, and tear up your mint!

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2. Purée the peaches and mint together in a blender, along with a little water. 

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3. Combine peach mixture with can of coconut milk, honey, and vanilla in a stand mixer. Mix until fully combined and then pour into two small ramekins or into one large bowl, then refrigerate for 20 minutes.

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4. Serve with more peaches + mint. Enjoy!

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Share / Our Weekend + Rosato Sangria

 
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     Good morning! I took a bit of June off from doing much of anything, what with vacation and the almost rude heat we had, but I'm back! After my long absence, I thought it'd be fun to share a few snapshots from our weekend along with this week's recipe: rosato sangria. First up, my Italian twist on the spanish batch cocktail! 

    My best friend Cat was in town on Friday from St. Louis, so I made this for our favorite pastime - pizza, netflix, and gabbing. It was delicious and fresh, and what we didn't finish lasted me the rest of the weekend! Ahhh, batch cocktails. Get the how-to below!

Ingredients:

- A bottle of dry-ish rosato wine (the Italian version of rosé)

- half a cup of vodka

- sparkling water

- fresh strawberries, quartered

- ice

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Directions:

1. Add strawberries and ice to a tall pitcher. Then pour in your vodka, rosé, and top with enough sparkling water to fill your pitcher. Stir and pour over ice - enjoy!

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      Our weekend mostly consisted of lounging in the A/C, venturing out of doors solely to play in our kiddie pool in the backyard or to peruse the farmers market. Bailey only found the farmers market acceptable because she got to pick one thing to purchase - and shocker! It was blueberries. 

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     I picked up a delicious scone from a local bakery, those blueberries, some fresh eucalyptus, a lavender kombucha, and wild baby carrots!

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       As of typing this, these carrots are about gone. They go perfectly with some red pepper hummus! 

      All-in-all, it was a very nice weekend despite the heat! Our plans for the Fourth are to set off some fireworks in Columbia, then head to the lake for the weekend. I'm looking forward to whipping up this Grand Aioli and roasting some s'mores! Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday!

To Make / Homemade Ricotta

 
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     Buongiorno friends! With summer weather in full swing, it's time to head to Italy - or to their food, at least! Full disclosure: I have been to Italy, and we did eat a lot of delicious food (mainly gelato) while there - but I want to dive deeper than just the standard Italian food that everyone and their nonna has had. Italy has many different regions (that were all their own sovereign states up until the mid-19th century - yup, Italy wasn't unified until about 150 years ago), and therefore, many different cuisines. I want to explore all of them - starting with a cornerstone of many Italian regions: ricotta! You can buy a tub of ricotta in any grocery store, but it's one of the easiest cheeses to make at home - and now that I've made it, I think it tastes 5,000 times better than store bought. I smeared mine on whole wheat toast, and made a quick strawberry jam from the strawberries in our garden - very simple, very fresh, and one of the most delicious things I've eaten in awhile! Find the recipe below, and happy cheese-making!

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     Ingredients: 

- 3 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar

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Directions:

1. Combine milk, heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warm. Turn up your heat slightly, and add vinegar and lemon juice. Continue to stir occasionally until mixture curdles - about 5 minutes. 

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2. Remove from heat and pour over a cheesecloth into your container. Let strain for about 20 minutes. 

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3. Once strained, use as you like! The ricotta will keep for about a week in the fridge. 

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4. Enjoy! (Preferably the Italian way - on bread with fruit and an espresso :))

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday!

To Grill / Honey Ginger Kebabs

 
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     Good morning! For my second and last Asian-inspired recipe of Spring (the quickest season here - it's already consistently 85-90+ degrees every day), I decided to work with a new-to-me ingredient - ginger! Obviously, I've had ginger-flavored things before, but I've never used it myself. Seeing as it's a prevalent flavor in many Asian dishes, now seemed as good a time as any to try it out! Using Half Baked Harvest's recipe for a honey-ginger glaze for salmon, I whipped up my own glaze for chicken kebabs instead, as chicken is the favored protein in my house (I like salmon now, but am generally outnumbered by Brett and Bailey on this subject). Post-grilling, I de-skewered the chicken, onions, and peppers, and combined them with quinoa, mango, and more sauce. It was the perfect bright lunch for my Friday! Get the recipe below!

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Ingredients: Honey Ginger Glaze

- 1 tablespoon sesame oil

- 2/3 cup of honey

- 2 tbs. of sambal oelek

- 2 tbs. soy sauce

- 1 in piece of peeled ginger, minced

- juice of one lime

Ingredients: Kebab Bowl

- 2 small chicken tenderloins

- a few slices of red pepper and onion, chopped

- 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa

- 1/4 cup of diced mango

- 1/2 cup of Honey Ginger Glaze

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Directions:

1. Whisk together all ingredients for glaze and set aside.

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2. Skewer your chicken, peppers, and onions while grill heats up. Then baste kebabs with glaze and grill. 

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3. Remove from grill and baste again. 

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4. Prepare your bowl: combine quinoa with grilled meat, peppers, and onions. 

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5. Top with mango and more glaze.

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7. Enjoy!

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday! We'll see you back here next week for our first recipe inspired by (you guessed it) Italy! 

To Blend / A Cucumber Mint Cooler

 
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     Good morning! When planning out this season's recipes, I decided I want to focus on a different region's cuisine for each season. Each different region has a distinct seasonal feel to it's classic dishes, and the one the screamed spring to me was Asia! Asian cuisine is so veggie focused, with bright and fresh flavors that make the most sense for spring dishes - so with that, I'll introduce this cocktail to you. 

      Cucumbers are growing on me, and are ripe for the picking at the moment. We have some  in our garden, but until they too are ready to be harvested, farmer's market ones are the best option! Our mint in the garden, however, is constantly sprouting leaves and happens to pair perfectly with cucumber. Those two ingredients are the bones of this cocktail, and make for the perfect apertif on a warm spring evening. Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- 1 small cucumber, peeled

- a handful of mint leaves, plus a couple for garnishing 

- 1/2 cup of vodka

- 1/2 cup of lemon juice

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Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.

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2. Blend until smooth and thin.

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3. Pour and garnish with mint leaves. Enjoy!

      Thanks for reading! I don't want to fully reveal where we're metaphorically visiting for the summer season, but I will say one thing - the goal of the summer will be living la dolce vita. ;) Have a fun week!

To Make / An Ideal Spring Dinner

 
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      Hi there! It's finally warm every day here now, and that means I'm craving all things fresh and simple for meals. On weeknights, it's a marathon to get good food on the table and bottoms in seats at a reasonable hour - so I usually opt for only one component of a dinner that takes more than 15 minutes to prepare, with the rest being assembled in that short time frame! This Monday, that took the form of grilled cheeses, accompanied by sweet potato fries (the time-consuming menu item) and tiger salad. 

     I know you've heard me ramble about grilled cheese and sweet potato fries before, but let me introduce you to tiger salad! Tiger salad is a cooling and refreshing cucumber salad from Northern China, with a bit of spice and sesame flavor to it. It typically uses lettuce in the place of cilantro, but I have A LOT of cilantro on hand right now - so it got tossed in instead! Cilantro brings a lot of flavor to this dish, and I think I'd prefer it here over lettuce anyways. I also made the addition of carrots, for the sake of using them up and adding more veggies! Get the full recipe below, along with my sweet potato fries recipe. 

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Sweet Potato Fries:

- 2 large sweet potatoes

- 2 tbs. olive oil

- 1 tbs. oregano

- 1 tbs. cumin

- a dash of salt + pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 and slice your sweet potatoes into sticks. 

2. Toss raw sweet potatoes in olive oil and your herbs, then arrange on an oiled baking sheet.

3. Roast for 45 minutes, flipping the fries after 15 minutes.

4. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Tiger Salad:

 - 2 mini cucumbers

- half a carrot

- a handful of cilantro

- 1 tbs. of apple cider vinegar

- 1 tbs. of sesame oil

- 1 tbs. of sambal oelek

- green onions

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Directions:

1. Slice your cucumbers, carrots, and green onions. Mince your cilantro.

2. In your salad bowl, mix your vinegar, oil, and sambal oelek with your veggies.

3. Serve immediately and enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Recap / #The100DayProject's First 20 Days!

 
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Chicken Cordon Bleu

     Good morning! Just wanted to pop in and share what I've made so far in #the100DayProject challenge. Below, a list and some photos for your viewing pleasure!

#100foodfinds Day's 1-20:

1. Cashew Milk

2. Sweet Potato Chips

3. Pickled Onions

4. Baked Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

5. Baked Blueberry Donuts

6. Poached Eggs

7. BBQ Roasted Chickpeas

8. "Lara" bars

9. Chicken Cordon Bleu

10. Bechamel

11. Oven-fried Chicken

12. Date Shake

13. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

14. Puffed Quinoa

15. Bolognese

16. Mango con Chili y Limon

17. Jalapeno Simple Syrup + a Salty Dog cocktail

18. Pie Crust

19. Whole Stem Garlic

20. Deep-fried Oreos

  Strawberry Pie with Homemade Pie Crust

Strawberry Pie with Homemade Pie Crust

  Baked Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Baked Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

  White Pizza with Homemade Bechamel Sauce and Homemade Neapolitan Style Crust

White Pizza with Homemade Bechamel Sauce and Homemade Neapolitan Style Crust

  Poached Eggs on Sourdough with Pickled Red Onions and Parmesan

Poached Eggs on Sourdough with Pickled Red Onions and Parmesan

  A Spicy Salty Dog Cocktail using homemade Jalapeno Simple Syrup

A Spicy Salty Dog Cocktail using homemade Jalapeno Simple Syrup

  Homemade Coconut "Lara" Bars

Homemade Coconut "Lara" Bars

  Deep. Fried. Oreos. Life = made.

Deep. Fried. Oreos. Life = made.

To Bake / Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

 
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     Hi there! If you're a 90's kid like moi, the movie Parent Trap (the Lindsay Lohan remake, not the original 1961 film - which was good but the styles are definitely different!) was probably a favorite of yours at the time! At least, I know my sisters and I loved it/still love it! Anywho, there are many things about the movie that were inspiring, but one of my favorite things I got from it was a new food combo: Oreo's dipped in peanut butter. At first it sounded strange, but if Lindsay Lohan said it was good, then we were all at least trying it (oh to be young and impressionable LOL)! I may be an adult now, but my chocolate-loving heart still thinks of this combo anytime I buy a jar of peanut butter. This time around, I decided to act on the whim, and whip something new up in compliance with #the100DayProject! I've never made peanut butter cookies, so I decided to take the classic recipe and amplify it with chocolate for the ultimate Parent Trap dream cookie! They delivered, and I'm so excited to share the recipe here! Get the how-to below!

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Ingredients:

- 1 + 1/2 cups AP flour

- 1/2 cup cocoa powder

- 1/2 tsp. baking soda

- pinch of sea salt

- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

- 1/2 cup brown sugar

- 1/2 cup sugar

- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used all natural, so it's way more drizzly than regular, but either one works!)

- 1 egg

- 1 tsp. vanilla

- 2 tbs. milk (if your dough is still too dry, up it to 1/4 cup)

- 1 cup of chocolate chips

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Directions:

1. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt - set aside. In a stand mixer, cream butter and scrape down the sides. Then, beat in both sugars and peanut butter. Lastly, add egg and vanilla. 

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2. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat until combined. Add in milk and chocolate chips. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes, then preheat oven to 350. Using an ice cream scoop, make dough balls and place on oiled baking sheet. 

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3. Bake for 11 minutes, and let cool for five if you must! ;)

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4. Serve after a meal of chili (I hope you get the Parent Trap reference :)) and enjoy! 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Make / Blueberry Donuts

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     Happy Saturday! I’m five days into #the100dayproject, and so far, it’s been awesome! I thought it would be hard to make myself cook something every evening, but it’s really been easy - I haven’t hit a wall (yet). This morning, I decided to take advantage of having the day off and make some brunch! I baked some blueberry donuts and they turned out SO GOOD. Sweet and moist but not too cake-y! Get the recipe below! 

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Ingredients: donuts

 - 1/2 cup of flour (I did 1/4 whole wheat, 1/4 ap!)

- 1/4 cup of sugar  

- 1/2 tbs. of melted butter

- 1/2 tsp. of baking powder

- 1/4 tsp. of baking soda

- 1/4 tsp. of vanilla

- a pinch of salt  

- 1 tsp. of cinnamon

 - 1/2 cup of milk

- 1/2 cup of blueberries

- a squeeze of lemon juice

Ingredients: vanilla glaze

- 1 tbs. milk

- 1/4 cup of powdered sugar

- 1 tsp. of vanilla

Directions: 

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, butter, and lemon juice. Stir wet ingredients into dry, mix until combined.

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2. Pour batter into greased donut pan and drop in blueberries.

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3. Preheat oven to 350. 

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4. Meanwhile, make glaze. Stir together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Bake donuts for 16 minutes, then let cool for 5 minutes. Pop out of pan and dip tops into the glaze. Serve with coffee and enjoy! 

       Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend!

To Try Something New / #The100DayProject!

 
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      Good morning! I'm excited to announce that I will be participating in #The100DayProject this year! Starting on April 3rd, I will be cooking one new-to-me meal/food once a day, for 100 days! You can read more on how the project works here, but the gist of it is that you choose one creative thing to do, every day, for 100 days - and document it all. The point of it is to improve upon that "thing" and to work past the inevitable burn out that will happen when you do anything for 100 days! I was surprised about how much doing the Whole 30 for 30 days changed my outlook on food and health, so I've always been intrigued by this 100 days idea. I considered doing it last year but just had no idea what direction I would take it - but this year, I've had a much more clear path as to what I would do!

     You all know I've been focusing on cooking, and so when I heard it was starting up again soon I thought "I have to do this"! I love a challenge, and cooking one meal a day seemed broad and doable enough, since I cook most days anyways. The challenge aspect is working with a new dish or food that I've never worked with - this seems like the ideal way to hone my skills! Another "challenge" is documenting it. I love using Instagram, but I don't update it ever day because I just don't have time nor do I usually care enough to. However, the days are getting longer (more light to shoot with), and Stories exist now - so I'm thinking it will be easier than if it were a year ago and in the dead of winter? Anywho, I'm beyond excited to start next Tuesday, and I can't wait to get cooking!! I've set out a list of rules for myself and how you can follow along so check those out below!

My Rules for #The100DayProject:

1. In accordance with the official project rules, I'm creating a hashtag for my Stories (which will be Highlighted in my profile - if they don't let you Highlight a full 100 stories into one Highlight - I will break them down into separate Highlights!). My hashtag will be #100foodfinds!

2. In lieu of posting the mandatory photo a day in my grid, I will be posting it in my aforementioned Stories, along with bts clips of the making of each recipe! I will post one of the recipes a week to my grid and to this space, which will most likely be my favorite of the week.  

3. Each thing I cook must be made with either:

A) a food item I've never worked with before (i.e. miso, lamb, tofu, etc.) OR

B) a new dish I've never made before (i.e. coq a vin, falafel, a souffle, etc.)

4. It can be for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, or dessert - depending on my schedule.

     That's it! See! So broad and flexible. I think this will be a lot of fun. I know I'll get tired of documenting/the stress of a new ingredient or dish, but that's usually more exhilarating than anything else - even if it fails! I'll leave a link to my Instagram here (and the feed is also shown at the bottom of my homepage!) for those of you who don't have Instagram. Thanks for following along and I hope you follow along with the project! Have a fun Thursday!

To Brew / Rose Almond Milk

 
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       Hi there! With spring beginning yesterday (can I get an amen?!), I thought it apt to share a new take on my basic ol' almond milk. I use almond milk every day in smoothies and in my coffee - but it can get a little dull every now and then to be so monotonous. That being said, I set out to create a fresh flavor with almond milk by making the additions of a little rose water, vanilla, and honey! It's simple, obviously floral, and slightly sweet - just what I needed to switch things up. Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- 1 cup of almond milk

- 1 tsp. of rose water

- 1 tsp. of vanilla

- 1 tsp. of honey

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Directions:

1. Heat your almond milk either on the stove until steaming or in the microwave for a minute and a half. 

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2. Whisk in your rose water, vanilla, and honey. 

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3. Serve warm on it's own (it was delicious!) or use in your coffee/smoothies!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Make / Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

 
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     Good morning! This is one of those recipes that came out of wondering what the heck I'm going to do with a mostly full jar of (insert ingredient here)?! You know - those ingredients that you buy for a specific recipe that only uses a spoonful of said ingredient. It's usually something obscure that is really only used in that one recipe. Now, I really hate wasting food, so last week when I bought ricotta for a pasta dish (surprisingly, not lasagna) and still had the majority of the tub left after making the pasta, I had a pretty good brainstorming session. I racked my brain for a minute on what one does with a full tub of ricotta, and then it hit me - a memory of lemon ricotta pancakes that Brett and I had at our B+B in Denver two years ago! SOLD. I immediately searched for a simple lemon ricotta pancake recipe and scored with this one. Luckily, I already had literally all of the ingredients on hand, and guys - these are the best pancakes I've ever made! They're fluffy (thanks, random ricotta), tart, and sweet all at once. You can definitely say this is a "when life gives you ricotta (and also, ironically, lemons)..." situation. Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients: Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbs. of honey

Ingredients: Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 3 tbs.'s sugar
  • 2 tsp.'s baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 tbs. melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp.'s lemon zest
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Directions: 

1. Preheat your griddle to 350, and grease. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together ricotta, butter, eggs, egg whites, lemon juice, and zest. 

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2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl and mix until just combined. Scoop out your batter onto the griddle to form pancakes. Cook for two minutes until bubbles form on top, then flip and let cook until browned.

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3. While pancakes are cooking, make your blueberry sauce by combining blueberries and honey in a small skillet. Mash together with a fork and let cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

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4. Once pancakes are done, serve warm and top with your blueberry compote. Enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Explore / Downtown St. Louis

 
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     Hi there! I'm fresh off a girl's weekend in St. Louis to celebrate my best friend Cat's birthday, and I have to share about our trip! One of the perks of living in Columbia is that we're about half way between STL and Kansas City. It makes getaways for the weekend really doable, and for an explorer like me, there are endless opportunities to take your time and get a feel for a place! Both KC and St. Louis are historical cities, with STL being the well-known "Gateway to the West" (the Arch, while not really worth actually going to the top of in my opinion, is pretty amazing to spot intermittently while driving around - it really is majestic!), and KC having some of the best BBQ around, for the last 100 years at least (which I found out when I moved here is because they had some of the biggest stockyards in the country - I had always wondered why KC BBQ was popular considering they aren't in the South, where BBQ reigns).

      The cities' histories shows potently through their architecture, where driving around you can see the eras each city has gone through reflected in their buildings. This is one of the things I loved about this particular trip! Before, I had the notion that KC was the "cooler" of the two cities. However, after driving through different neighborhoods to get from one destination brunch spot in the Central West End to the cutest little cafe in the Shaw area - I decided St. Louis' cool-factor was worth it's salt. Our first stop? The aforementioned brunch spot: Cafe Osage! Pictured above, the cafe is located in Bowood Farms greenhouse and shop building. Ya, it was basically a dream come true for a person who loves food and shopping equally. 

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      This is the dining room, and every little detail was as cute as can be! As far as the food goes, that was pretty perfect too. I had their omelette, which was loaded with herbs and was oozing (for lack of a better word) with whipped goat cheese. Accompanying my delicious meal was their Rose Colored Glasses cocktail - a gin and grapefruit concoction that hit the spot!  

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      After we finished eating, we perused their adorable shop and greenhouse. While I would've bought pretty much anything in there, I opted for a little crown for Bailey (her birthday is in 2 days!) and a beautiful set of well-made Japanese notebooks for me (which I actually needed - I try and stay practical in overwhelming shopping situations!). 

     This was their children's section - when shopping for Bailey, I've had to keep in mind the longevity of her enjoyment out of items. She loves books of course, but she already has so many I didn't feel like she'd think it was a very special gift (and this also goes for stuffed animals). Craft supplies I can get from anywhere, so again not super special. I landed on a little felt crown that you can clip to the top of her head! She loves playing princess with dress-up crowns, but they always fall off her head - so this seemed like a good upgrade!

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     After our brunch and shopping expedition, we drove through the St. Louis University neighborhoods to the Shaw area to visit the Fiddlehead Fern Cafe! I had read about it in Feast Magazine, and after seeing they serve a lavender rose latte, I knew I had to stop in. They're the first cafe in the city to use a Modbar (aka a modular system bar, where all of the machines are stored underneath the bar, similar to a tap for beer).

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        The latte was everything I expected, except better because it wasn't overwhelmingly floral like some drinks can be when using flowers or herbs as a flavoring. Everything about this neighborhood was fun - from the intentional murals and unintentional graffiti to pretty much every building being built with brick. After the cafe, we ventured to the Galleria for their Urban Outfitters. Normally, I would say to steer clear of a mall, but the UO there is so well stocked and actually has their home goods line - so I highly recommend it! That evening we went to Edgewild for dinner, and it's a must-stop dinner spot, so add it to your list as well! 

     Thanks for reading, and I'll be back next week with more recipes! Have a fun Wednesday!

To Mix / A Spring Bloody Mary

 
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      Good morning! Tomorrow is finally March, and my mind completely disregards the technical start date of the spring equinox, so from tomorrow until summer - I'll be in spring mode! I've been craving a bloody mary to go along with weekend brunch for a little bit, so this past weekend, I made it happen! It was the perfect opportunity to shoot the pretty red drink as it was incredibly sunny (a la spring!) and the perfect weather for brunch on our porch. I could get used to this! Now, my spring twist on this is simple: black pepper and lemon. I like to stick with a spicy tomato and carrot juice base and only add a little flavoring to complement it! Get the recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- 1 glass of spicy tomato/carrot juice (if you don't like the spice, feel free to get whichever tomato juice you like!)

- 1 shot of vodka

- half a lemon

- black pepper

- ice

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Directions:

1. Pour your tomato juice into your glass, over ice, then add in the vodka.

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2. Sprinkle black pepper on top, then squeeze your lemon into the drink.

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3. Stir and enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and be on the lookout for my second brunch recipe for the week on Friday! Have a fun Wednesday!

To Announce / We're Getting Married!

 
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      Good morning! I'm taking a break from recipes this week for a very good reason - Brett and I are engaged! He proposed over the weekend at a place very special to our relationship, and with the most "me" ring ever. It's perfect and we are beyond excited! Bailey's only interest was my ring (her first words after seeing it were "I'll give it right back" LOL), but I have a feeling on the big day she'll be just as excited as the rest of us! Thank you so much for following along on the blog - I can't believe I get to share this milestone on my little space on the internet! As far as recipes go, there's no need to worry! I have TWO lined up for next week, and they both center around one thing: brunch. Have a fun week, friends!