Jan
05

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As you may know (or perhaps you don’t), I don’t eat beef. It’s actually a little weird to think about since growing up I was in love with cheeseburger happy meals from McDonald’s. My dad loved a good burger too, topped high with condiments and every fixin’ in the refrigerator. Burgers were essential year round in our house, yet during my high school years I converted to turkey burgers, and then throughout college veggie burgers filled my plate.

 

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Now there is no question that the tastes and textures between the three of them are completely different—juicy beef burgers, moist turkey burgers, and unbelievable flavored hearty vegetarian burgers. I actually prefer the satisfying flavor from veggies burgers — beans, fresh herbs, spices, and a delicious texture just can’t be surpassed.

Yesterday I was craving one of those veggie burgers made with good-for-you ingredients. Since I’m an Alexia Tastemaker, and have the honor of developing delicious recipes using Alexia products, I wanted to incorporate their new sweet potato rolls I knew they would be perfect with my veggie burgers, especially since they have sweet potatoes in them. Yum!

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Jan
04

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Why is it that I feel like pumpkin recipes are only okay to post from October-December? It’s as though January is a big reset button, where we all go on juice cleanses seen on Dr. Oz.

Whatever! I’m a huge fan of pumpkin year round. So yes it’s January, but baking this pumpkin coffee cake won’t disappoint.

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This cake! Oh did it fill my home with a wonderful aroma that I’ve never experienced before. I wanted the inviting warmth of it to linger until someone special showed up and wondered what cozy concoction was in the oven. To which of course I would reply, “A melt-in-your-mouth brown butter pumpkin coffee cake… with a pecan gingersnap cookie streusel!”

Sounds dreamy… and I can assure you, it is.

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Jan
02

Welcome to 2013! I hope you had a blast ringing in the New Year. I know I did!

Now that it’s January, I realize that most of us are now on some fitness or health mission. I really haven’t made any resolutions, other than to never let myself miss out on an experience that I find interesting or challenging. However, I do think that it’s finally time for me to get back into the swing of things health-wise. Today I finally made it to yoga after being sick for the past week; it felt wonderful to just be there. I’m also making an effort to get rid of all of the junk I ate last month — ugh, like enough with the cookies already! Yep, I just said that.

Even if I’m eating healthier, I just can’t find a reason why I would give up eating Mexican food. Why torture myself? We all know how that would end up — me with a plateful of nachos, a giant margarita, and a whole lot of guilt. Who gives up the things they love the most? Not this girl.

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Dec
30

The past week my diet has consisted of chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers, hot chocolate, and popcorn. I was stuck in bed battling a terrible cold; and I think I ate about three giant bags of cough drops. At one point I even went to the grocery store in my pajamas because I was too lazy to change. I don’t know it was weird, I felt like if I didn’t have ginger ale my life would end or something. Clearly my fever made me a tiny delusional and a whole lot of dramatic.

Anyway I’m getting a little sidetracked here. All I really want to do is bring you healthy whole grain muffins to start your year off right.

These muffins are made with whole wheat flour, coconut flakes, carrots, raisins, and walnuts. I used applesauce instead a bunch of oil to save calories; this also keeps the muffins moist along with the almond milk.

I find these muffins necessary during those mornings when I find myself waking up 15 minutes before work. Usually I individually wrap mine in plastic wrap and freeze them so that all I have to do is pop them in the microwave in the morning.

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Dec
26

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I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Of course, my family requested that I make my brown butter and sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Somehow we ‘forgot’ to bring them to the Christmas Eve party we were attending. However, I’m pretty sure they meant to leave them back home so that they could eat them all.

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Breakfast — why am I so obsessed with it? I appreciate it. I wake up for it. I even crave it at night! Brinner (breakfast for dinner) is now a crucial part of my diet! My new obsession is skinny french toast with peanut butter and maple syrup. I’m thinking about adding bananas next time. Or bourbon? Yes, probably bourbon.

I seriously might have to create a how-to just on that french toast.

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Fashion wise, cranberry colored jeans are totally the way to go. Except when you spill chocolate donut sprinkles all over them; then bring on the black. Or just get a napkin and stop eating donuts like I should.

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Dec
18

I’m turning the big 24 this Saturday. Do you think it’s normal to celebrate by eating cookies for the ENTIRE WEEK? 

Of course… because you know the world is supposed to end Friday or whatever. So I’m suggesting we all eat cookies this week (good excuse, right?).

But seriously, these cookies are essentially a mini, delicious birthday present to myself.

It occurred to me that this really couldn’t be just ANY cookie though; it had to be incredible. Kinda like those Nutella-stuffed cookies. Wait, what about the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies?  Or those sensational Brown Butter Snickerdoodles? Clearly if a man wants to know the way to my heart, it’s through cookies made with brown butter.

What? Baking your way to love is TOTALLY a thing you know.

Okay, enough about brown butter and man bait and such. Let’s talk cookies because that’s why you are really here. 

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Dec
16

With the recent tragedy in Newtown, I can only express how heartbroken I am. I will continue to pray for the families and those affected by this devastating tragedy.

With that said, I’ve wanted to reach out and hug the people who mean the most to me.

And sometimes I say I love you with bread. As simple as that sounds it means a lot.

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Dec
12

I was just thinking about how much has changed this past year. I mean isn’t it a bit exhilarating how fast life happens? We’re learning tough truths, letting go of the things that are out of our control, and heck, we’re growing and changing!

Last year I was working on the east coast.  I barely had any time to blog and was struggling with what I wanted to do with my life. I referred to it as my early quarter life crisis. It was like when Felicity had to choose Ben or Noah, and decided to become an artist (seriously, go buy all the seasons of Felicity). Anyway, it wasn’t until I was completely lost did I discover my passion that I absolutely had to pursue. It was so obvious at that point: food is the recipe to my heart and happiness! I love creating it, photographing it, and eating it.

I know I talk a lot about following your dreams and living your passion, but that’s because I completely believe in it! Helping you, whether it’s in your kitchen or in your life is essentially apart of my success.

Today’s success comes in the form of soup. A soup that I’m completely in love with. Of course, I’m in love with a lot of things, but simple soup fills me up with contentment. Adding crispy lime and salt studded corn tortilla chips on top just makes it that much better.

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Dec
10

When I fall in love, I’m head over heels. I’m the type of person who can’t get enough of a good thing.

And today I’m introducing you to the recent love of my life: brown butter.

I think it will be particularly helpful, as many of my cookie recipes use brown butter.

What is brown butter?

Brown butter is a crazy good thing. No really crazy freaking good. Basically unsalted butter is melted in a saucepan which separates the butter and milk. The milk from the butter sinks to the bottom of the pan, which essentially browns and turns a caramel color. The french call is beurre noisette, which translates to hazelnut butter. I believe it’s called this because once the butter is brown, it gives off a nutty aroma. I love it from the bottom of my heart… obviously.

What do you need?

Unsalted butter, a medium saucepan, and a whisk.

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Dec
06

This past weekend I attended Mixed Conference, my very first food blogging conference. OH.MY.GOODNESS it was full of food, fun, and new friends! Huge shout out to Lucky Leaf for sponsoring me to attend!

I began my trip with a short pit stop for a few days in Boston where I was visiting a friend from Australia. We had the best time; I can’t wait to share more photos with you soon! After that I jetted to Roanoke, VA in a tiny plane. A little frightening, but I made it! From there we took a shuttle to Mountain Lake Resort & Hotel, where the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed. The original movie was filmed before I was born, so I was a little clueless but whatever… if there’s food, I’m there.

When I arrived there was a huge pile of Hershey’s candy on my bed. I wanted to throw them in the trash (for obvious reasons) but decided to eat all of the ones with fillings because that seemed like a compromise. You know because not eating all of the candy is excusable in some weird way… it’s kind of like when you tell people, ‘well I only had half of my giant double cheeseburger’. Okay and plus, peppermint patties and Reese’s peanut butter cups are dear to my heart.

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