books + food: the irresistible blueberry bakeshop & cafe

Hi friends!

I recently finished a cute little love story and I think it’s a great “lay by the pool” + “soak up some sun” + “drink some iced coffee” kind of book.  It’s not award-winning and it’s totally predictable, but I just really enjoyed it! It’s called The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe.

It also had a long list of DELICIOUS foods! It made me hungry and I was longing to travel out to Maine for all the goodness. I am currently in a book club that meets every few months or so and I always put together the food list for our meeting. Then we split up the list and enjoy the foods of the book while we discuss the story and our favorite characters.

Even though this wasn’t a book for the book club, the food was just too good not to list somewhere. So, I hope you enjoy the list and make the blueberry muffin recipe at the end.

IBBC

  • Blueberries
  • Melon
  • Bananas
  • Cinnamon Buns
  • Coffee
  • Apple Cider Doughnuts
  • Tuna Salad: albacore, celery, onion, capers, mayo on mixed greens
  • Sandwiches: Rare roast beef & brie with sliced tomato on toasted french baguette; Chicken salad with baby greens, tomato, sprouts, grapes and crumbled gorgonzola; Oven-roasted turkey breast, savory stuffing, and fresh cranberry sauce on whole wheat
  • Desserts: lemon pound cake, carrot cake, double chunk brownies, walnut fig bars, chocolate croissant bread pudding, blueberry pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie
  • Margaritas
  • Shrimp with Rice & Green Beans
  • Twin Lobsters with drawn butter
  • Meatloaf with mushrooms
  • Mashed potatoes with butter
  • Clam Chowder
  • Higgins Root Beer
  • Fresh Corn and Tomatoes
  • Salad: spring greens, cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese topped with raspberry vinaigrette
  • Half a succulent free range chicken roasted in butter and fresh herbs with mashed potatoes and garden fresh carrots
  • Iced Tea
  • Fried Clams
  • Grouper Sandwich
  • Chateau Beychevelle 2000 Saint-Julien
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Vision of the Bakery: Turnovers, cakes, croissants (maybe blueberry ones!), lemon pound cake, peach cobbler, pomegranate-ginger muffins, chocolate chip cookies
  • Tea Sandwiches: Cucumber arugula, curried chicken, bacon & egg
  • Chilled Carrot Ginger Soup
  • Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich
  • French Baguette with Smoked Ham and Brie topped with field greens and finished with dijon mustard

I hope you enjoyed reading about all these foods!! Now go enjoy them and the book. Also, I wouldn’t lie to you – here is that blueberry muffin recipe I found online:

blueberry_bbakeshop

xo sarah

subtly sweet iced green tea with mint

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HELLO! It’s Springtime in California and I think I have thoroughly enjoyed the season so far.

There has been a few days of rain: listening to the drops coming down on the roof, baking to warm the house and our tummies, and still wearing my boots to keep my feet cozy.

There has also been a few days of hot sun: walking by the beach gaining more freckles, lunch in shorts and a tank top, and iced coffee because its too warm for hot.

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Because it is going to start getting warmer before we know it, I wanted to share an iced tea recipe with you! In honor of this beautiful springtime season, this iced tea has some of my most favorite refreshing flavors going on: green tea, blueberry, lemon, mint, and a hint of sweetness from the agave!

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Ingredients

  • 7 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups cool water
  • 12 ice cubes (plus more for serving)
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 8-10 green teabags, depending on how strong you like your tea (I used blueberry green tea, but you could even use an herbal or black tea)
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
  • 1-3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 large heat-resistant pitcher or container

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Directions:

  1. Pour the agave syrup in the bottom of a large heat-resistant pitcher or container.
  2. Place tea bags in a large tea ball and hang it into your pitcher so it is suspended. Pour the 7 cups of boiling water over the tea ball and let it steep for 5-7 minutes (the longer you steep the tea, the stronger it will get).
  3. Remove the tea ball from the hot water. Let the tea sit and cool for 10-15 minutes. Then add the 3 cups of cool water and ice cubes.
  4. Stir the tea well then add the lemon slices. Let the tea cool overnight, covered in the fridge. Remove lemons before serving.
  5. Serve iced tea cold with springs of fresh mint, lots of ice, and in TALL glasses. ENJOY!

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I think I’ll go have a glass now. Read my books. Journal my thoughts. Plan my work. And drink it all in!

xo sarah

thanksgiving in february

Until a few days ago, I had never made a Thanksgiving dinner or roasted my own turkey. Roast chicken, definitely. Roast pork, you bet. Roast eggplants, mmm-hmm! Roast turkey…no way Jose.

However, when Thanksgiving was over last November, I made sure to buy a turkey once they went on sale. I was determined to rise to the challenge and make an amazing bird. I was also determined to pay a fraction of the price and have leftovers for weeks. So, I did it! I finally took that frozen bird out of my tiny freezer and made it happen. I roasted a 26 pound turkey and made other Thanksgiving fixings with the help of Pioneer Woman, Bon Apetit, and Silver Palate Cookbook.

Please excuse the lighting in these pictures. When it’s the first time you’re making a thanksgiving meal, and your husband has an evening band practice, it means you can’t even eat the meal until 9pm. This is real life.TIF 2Here was our long-awaited Thanksgiving in February! Orange-Rosemary Butter Roasted Turkey, Homemade Giblet Gravy, Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Orange-Roasted Carrots, Savory Autumn Salad, and from-scratch Buttermilk Biscuits.

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Orange-Rosemary Butter Roasted Turkey: 1 stick of unsalted butter combined with 3 springs of rosemary, the zest of one orange, and salt and pepper goes under the skin the night before. I also rubbed the outside and inside of the turkey with generous amounts of salt and pepper, and stuffed the bird with oranges and lemons. Then, the same butter combination goes over the turkey halfway through the roasting process. It took me about 6 hours of roasting and 5 basting baths to finish this 26 pounder. And, boy, it was worth it.

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Homemade Giblet Gravy: Pretty simple. Yummy turkey drippings, flour, chicken broth, and as much cooked chopped giblets as you prefer. Plus, LOTS of black pepper. But make sure you do your gravy at the very last moment possible. this will ensure the perfect consistency. I did mine too early in the night and it thickened too much. The amazing taste doesn’t change though!

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes: I peeled and boiled a few pounds of russet potatoes. Then I drained them and threw them in my Kitchen-aid mixer with some buttermilk, cream cheese, butter, granulated garlic, salt and black pepper until fluffy.

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Orange-Roasted Carrots: Minced orange peel, honey, good olive oil, pepper, granulated garlic, and sea salt flakes. All those ingredients go on your peeled chopped carrots and are roasted until caramelized and cooked through.

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Savory Autumn Salad: Romaine, cherry tomatoes, oven-roasted pumpkin, roasted seasoned pumpkin seeds, and mozzarella. Served with a lemon herb vinaigrette.

Buttermilk Biscuits: I can’t give away my secret here…but Martha Stewart deserves most of the credit. These biscuits are glorious.

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Yes, it was delicious. Yes, it took ALL day. Yes, it was totally worth it. Yes, you should give it a try for yourself. Make it your own. Take it to the next level! And enjoy!

Please email me if you want full recipes of anything.

xo sarah

honey chai tea latte

cl 2Honey Chai Tea Latte. We all know it, love it, and want some more of it. A sweet and spicy drink with a creamy finish. Hot or cold…this drink is a comforting treat.

When I think of chai, I think of:

Lofty coffee shop, rainy days, my sweet sister, wholesome ingredients, coffee cake, great company, Savory Spice Shop, ginger, and good reads.

chai ingredients 1When making your own chai tea at home, the first thing to do is to gather all of your spices and tea together. I love when I have the time to measure everything out ahead of time and see how each ingredient plays its part. It’s a beautiful thing. Literally.

chai ingredients

chai ingredients 3Then you start boiling, steeping, and incorporating. Look at all that delicious milk and honey. Two of my favorite things.

chai makingAnd straining all the liquid into a pretty teapot is the last step. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a pretty teapot. It can be strained into anything you like!

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Honey Chai Tea Latte (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 pieces of crystallized ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 7 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp. anise seed
  • 2 Tbsp. strong black tea (I used darjeeling)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk (skip the milk if you don’t want it to be a latte)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add all the spices to 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover the mixture with a lid and let it steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover and then add the black tea. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the honey and stir. Then slowly stir in the milk. If you don’t want it to be a “latte” you can skip the milk, and move on to step 5.
  5. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a teapot or jar.
  6. Serve & Enjoy!

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I’ve been enjoying Honey Chai Tea Lattes all week. And you can too! By the way, the pretty cake is from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Cinnamon Swirl – a perfect pairing!

Definitely making this again. Let me know if you have any questions.

xo sarah

resolution day recipes

Happy New Year Friends!!!

2014

Something I would love to do more of on this blog is share more of my recipes and adventures in the kitchen. Probably about 10% of what I make in my kitchen actually makes it into a post with a recipe. It’s mostly because taking pictures becomes hard for me when the lighting is wrong, my props are limited, and my hands are a mess. I know: excuses, excuses. I will make it a goal this year to do more recipe posting.

I hope sharing a review of some of my recipes can help you in the year to come.

  1. My most popular post to date: Perfect Roast Chicken.
  2. My most personally used recipe: Granola Bar Glory
  3. Best for busy weeks & tight budgets: Perfect Turkey Chili
  4. Best for healthy refreshing treat: Blueberry Green Tea Slushies
  5. Great salad for crowds: Theis Family Salad
  6. Great salad for everyday: Sweet Kale Salad
  7. When you’re in the mood for Mexican: Tacos
  8. When you’re in the mood for Italian: Cheesy Baked Penne
  9. Indulgence for your morning coffee: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake
  10. Indulgence for your afternoon tea: Mini Lemon Tea Cakes

I hope you can make some of these recipes and enjoy them as much as our family has. Let’s start the year off on the right foot: with love and joy and delicious food!

xo sarah

pumpkin spice ice cream

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Ice cream. It’s what’s for dinner. Well, not really. But I am an adult…I could totally have ice cream for dinner if I really wanted to. But then I would ruin my appetite for sweet potato tacos, roast chicken, and an incredible arugula salad.

Now that I am sufficiently hungry…let’s talk about this RICH and CREAMY Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream. It has the finest ingredients, the perfect pairing of spicy sweetness, and just a little something special at the end.

Ever heard of the term Mis-en-place? It’s a planner’s heaven and baker’s best friend. Basically, it is a gathering and prepping of all your ingredients ahead of time. A helpful way to stay organized and make sure you have everything you need.

That being said:

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Mis-en-place, like a boss.

You know who else does things like a boss? Williams-Sonoma. I can always look to them for a great recipe to jump off from and adapt. Here we go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream (I used Horizon brand)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmieg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Ice water/ice cubes (for setting)
  • 1 Tbsp. Hennessy Cognac (yup)

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Directions

  1. In a medium-sized tupperware, whisk together the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Seal your tupperware and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and cook over medium heat. Cook until you can see bubbles forming around the edges of the pan (no more than 5 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the 5 egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, the remaining 1/2 cup cream and the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar until well combined/sugar dissolves.
  4. Next, remove the cream mixture from the heat. Slowly whisk about 1/3 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan.
  5. Cook over medium heat, keeping the custard at a low simmer and stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. The mixture should turn into a custard that will be thick enough to coat the back of your wooden spoon. this will be the sign that it is ready and should take no more that 5 minutes (Do not allow the custard to boil).
  6. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water and ice cubes. Strain your custard through a fine-mesh strainer and into a medium-sized bowl. Place that bowl into the bowl filled with ice water. This allows the custard to set and cool. Then, after a few minutes, whisk the pumpkin mixture into the custard.
  7. Cover your pumpkin custard with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on to the surface of the custard. This prevents a skin from forming on the top while chilling. Refrigerate the pumpkin custard at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.
  8. Transfer the pumpkin custard to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  9. Add the Cognac during the very last minute of churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe sealed container. Freeze for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, (if you can wait that long) before serving.
  10. Makes about 1 quart. ENJOY!!!

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I brought a quart of this Pumpkin Spice and some Apple Spice to Community Group and they were both devoured. Noted: this recipe is a definite crowd pleaser!

What ice cream recipe would you like to see from me next?

xo sarah

holiday nuts {savory & sweet}

If you are looking for a delicious and healthy snack to either put out at your next party or give someone for the holidays, look no further. These holiday nuts are packed with flavor paired with the perfect mix-ins of your choice.

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These holiday nuts are great because you can just have FUN! There is no limits to the combinations you can put together. My recommendation is to make the recipe your own and take all the credit. For reference, I will share with you the combinations I did. SAVORY: Garlic-Herb spices, almonds, cashews & sunflower seeds. SWEET: Cinnamon-Sugar, almonds, cashews, shredded coconut & dried cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups raw unsalted nuts, such as: macadamias, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
  • 1 1/2 cups of mix-ins, such as: chex cereal, popcorn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pretzels, corn nuts, etc.
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • Spice blend of your choice (2 provided below)
  • 1 cup of any other mix-ins you desire, such as: raisins, dried cranberries, coconut flakes, banana chips, dried chiles, dried papaya, etc.

Ingredients for SAVORY spice blend {garlic-herb}:

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 Tbsp. rosemary, 1 Tbsp. sage, and 1 Tbsp. thyme

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Ingredients for SWEET spice blend {cinnamon-sugar}:

  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

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Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Prepare your spice blend in a small bowl. (Use above recipe or make your own!)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add in the nuts, the mix-ins, and prepared spice blend. Toss together until everything is well coated.
  4. Spread the nut mixture on to prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Open oven and stir once or twice throughout the baking process.
  5. Let the nut mixture cool on the baking sheet and then transfer to an air-tight container until ready to serve. ENJOY!!!

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Your holiday guests will love these!

xo sarah

oatmeal ginger pumpkin cookies

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When I was a little girl, my Nannie always had sweetened dried fruit in her home. Dried banana chips, papaya, pineapple, apricots, and ALWAYS ginger. I love remembering things like that about her. Now, you could have probably guessed it, but when I was younger I really disliked ginger (with exception to ginger-snap cookies). I wasn’t fond of the texture or the spicy-sweetness.

Now that I am older and my pallet has seen more of this incredible culinary world we live in, I absolutely love ginger. It’s spicy, sweet, and very refreshing. Ginger can calm a nauseous stomach and it provides great health benefits. I have recently started drinking pure ginger tea and it’s very soothing. I even like to ask for extra of that delicious pickled ginger they serve at sushi restaurants. Yum!

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All that to say, if you like ginger, you will love these cookies. They also have all the great elements of a fall treat: pumpkin, cinnamon, oats, and brown sugar. Adding the crystalized ginger is something I just thought up, and it was a real success.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup chopped crystalized ginger (I added a whole cup, but I am a little ginger obsessed.)

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Preparing your wet ingredients: Cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add the egg and beat thoroughly. Next, add in the vanilla extract and pumpkin and mix until well combined.
  3. Preparing your dry ingredients: In a separate medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and baking soda. Add to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  4. Dice your crystalized ginger into small pieces (the size of raisins). Add the oats and crystalized ginger to the pumpkin mixture and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Take a small spoon and form the cookie dough into cookies on prepared cookie sheets. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown edges and tops form.
  6. ENJOY!!! Make sure you share them with friends and family.

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* Makes about 30 cookies. You could even reserve some dough and freeze it for another day. These cookies are best once they have cooled down a bit.

Thanks for reading, friends. Happy Saturday!

xo sarah

honeycrisp apple spice ice cream

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Honeycrisp apples are my husband’s favorite apples. Ice cream is my favorite dessert. Honeycrisp apples IN ice cream had to happen sooner or later! It really helped that our local farmers market had a huge sale on honeycrisp apples…and let’s just say we went a little crazy.

Honeycrisp apples are known for their “sweet taste and distinct juciness” with an “explosive crunchiness.” My husband says, “It’s the perfect apple to hold in your hand and destroy with your mouth.” WOW! And because honeycrisp apples really are that good, they are what make this ice cream out of control.

For ice cream, I trust my friend Nicole. She really knows what she is talking about and she had the perfect recipe for me to go off of! Please enjoy this ice cream curled up on the couch with your favorite person and a good movie. Sounds like a great date night in to me!HAS 4

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Ingredients for Honeycrisp Apples:

  • 2 large honeycrisp apples – peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks (2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Ingredients for Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup garnulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

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Directions:

  1. Prepare and measure your ingredients for the spiced apples. Combine into a medium saucepan. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender (about 10 min.). Let the apples cool a bit and then place them in the fridge to chill.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, (I used my Kitchenaid mixer), whisk the cream cheese with whisk attachment, until smooth.
  3. In another large bowl, fill with cool water and ice. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. of the milk with the cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the cream, granulated sugar, agave nectar, and vanilla. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat for 2-4 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to the heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and cook unitl mixture is slightly thickened.
  7. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until well incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the salt.
  8. Set the bowl in the large bowl of ice water and let stand, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  9. Pour the ice cream mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the chilled spiced honeycrisp apples during the last minute of churning.
  10. Pour into an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before consuming. ENJOY!!!

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This ice cream is rich and, at the same time, refreshing. I decided to drizzle some caramel sauce on top…good decision. Whipped cream or chopped walnuts would also be a perfect pairing.

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Enjoy a bowl of Honeycrisp Apple Spice Ice Cream with family and friends this Thanksgiving! It would be great alongside the pumpkin pie. And blessings to you and yours during this sweet fall season.

xo sarah

pumpkin spice coffee cake

Fall in Southern California isn’t exactly what you would expect. Today is November 14th and it’s supposed to be 80 degrees outside! If I could have any season last all year long, it would definitely be summer, so don’t get me wrong…I’m more than pleased. BUT at the same exact time, all I want to do is wear a beanie and my black jeans with a cozy scarf.

PSCC 1

I also want to eat all things squash, pumpkin, and apple. This week I made a few recipes to satisfy my cravings, but today I am sharing the easiest and best for hospitality.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping. YUM.PSCC 2

Honestly YUM really inspired me, so I made their recipe and tweaked it just a bit. I also brought it to my Church Community Group the other night and everyone really loved it. It’s not overly sweet so it works for breakfast or dessert! It goes so well with a cup of coffee (shocker) or black tea. I also really liked that it got me into the fall season, even if the weather is not matching up quite yet.

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Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup of sour cream

Ingredients for Streusel:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch bread pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Start by making the cake. Sift the first 7 dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Mix in the pumpkin puree and sour cream until well combined. Make sure the mixture is incorporating well and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  5. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture on the lowest speed until well combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, make the streusel. Mix the sugar, flour, spices, and salt in a bowl. Pour the melted butter over the sugar mixture. Combine the melted butter and sugar mixture with your hands.
  7.  When it is well combined, you will be able to pack it tightly into the bottom of the bowl. Then crumble it into pieces over the top of the cake batter.
  8. Bake your coffee cake for 50 minutes. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, it’s done. ENJOY!

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Bring this delicious coffee cake to your next fall party, girls night, to the office, or even Thanksgiving! You will get all kinds of compliments. How sweet is that!

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I hope you have a splendid fall and enjoy this coffee cake time and time again. I know my family will.

xo sarah

candied almond biscotti

We are right in the middle of summer changing to fall here in Southern California and the weather is still a bit unpredictable. However, here is one thing about your mornings that don’t have to be that way: Candied Almond Biscotti. This week, I have a recipe to make your morning coffee routine hit a new level of awesome. Grab your travel mug, a couple of these biscotti, and hit the road! You are set.

Candied Almond Biscotti

What inspired this scrumptious breakfast treat? This recipe in particular was inspired by our friend Leilani. She had a birthday last week and I was so excited to bake for her. She is a lovely woman with all the makings of sugar, spice, and everything nice. What better to give her than a big batch of Candied Almond Biscotti! They’re light, toasty, and they feel like you’re eating something super fancy-pants. I have always been a fan of giving and receiving food for gifts. It’s something people can delight in for days and they will think of you when they enjoy each bite. So fun!

CAB process 2You get to spice and candy the almonds! This was my favorite part of the recipe. And the cayenne pepper? Genius. Thanks Joy.

CAB process 3Creaming butter, sugar, eggs, and all that good stuff in my beloved KitchenAid.

CAB process 4I didn’t get a good picture of the two portions of dough before they initially went in the oven, but here they are all cut and ready to baked one more time!

Candied Almond Biscotti 2These are UHHH-mazing. Make them. Do it now. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…do it now! GO.

Candied Almond Biscotti

Makes about 2 dozen biscotti

Ingredients:

For the Candied Almonds

  • 1 1/3 cup of raw almonds
  • 1 large  egg white (do not discard the yolk – it will be used in the biscotti dough)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

For the Biscotti

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 stick of butter (6 Tbsp.) at room temp.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon sugar mixture: 2 Tbsp. sugar & 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

For the Candied Almonds

  1. Begin by making the candied almonds. Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate your egg white into a medium bowl and whisk vigorously until it foams and white bubbles begin to form. Whisk in the sugar and then the spices and salt until the glaze is opaque.
  3. Toss the almonds in the glaze until well-coated, then spoon coated almonds onto prepared baking sheet. Save any extra glaze to add to the biscotti dough later on.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes until the almonds are golden brown and smell toasty. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, chop into small pieces.

For the Biscotti

  1. Keep the oven at 325 degrees F and place racks in the upper portion of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl (I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment), cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg, egg yolk, and then the vanilla extract. If you did have extra glaze leftover from the almonds, add that to the mixture as well.
  4. Add the flour mixture all at once to the wet mixture. Mix until a stiff dough is formed. Fold in the chopped almonds.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Place each portion onto a prepared baking sheet and form each portion into a 9-inch long log shape. Bake the two logs on two different racks in the oven for 20 minutes.  Rotate the cookie sheets for even baking and bake for another 25 minutes until firm and golden brown.
  6. Remove logs from oven but keep the oven on.  Let biscotti cool until able to handle.  Using a large serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch wide diagonal slices.  Place biscotti on their sides on 1 of the baking sheets and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake once more for 10-15 minutes until golden and delicious.
  7. Enjoy and remember to eat these up quickly! They will last up to 1 week in an air-tight container.

Candied Almond Biscotti 3

Candied Almond Biscotti + A cup of sweet and creamy coffee = Heavenly. Excuse me while I go enjoy a piece!

xo sarah

mini lemon tea-cakes

LTC 2.5

This summer season calls for a little piece of lemon refreshment. These are they. And with a tart and slightly sweet glaze, you will have trouble eating just one. I suggest taking a seat outdoors, pouring yourself a generous amount of hot or iced tea, and enjoying a good book while you pop these in your mouth, one by one.

I owe the name of this dessert to my wonderful taste-testers (thanks, ladies!). This sweet treat was inspired by a cookie recipe, but they are definitely not a cookie. My taste-testers helped me determine that they’re not scones…they’re not muffin tops or biscuits…they’re not baked doughnut-holes…but they ARE mini tea-cakes! The outside is sweet and dainty while the inside is dense and perfectly chewy. Most importantly, the lemon flavor is explosive! If you love lemon, you will love these. Just don’t be surprised if your friends start calling them “Delicious Balls of Goodness.” Mine sure did. Things just got weird, I know.

First things first: making the dough. It will smell (and taste) perfectly lemony. This dough is then rolled into 24 small portions and baked until puffy!LTC 3

Next is the glaze: lemon, lavender sugar, and poppy seeds steal the show.LTC 4

LTC 5Would you look at that? Just the right amount of everything.

LTC 6

Make sure you let those cookies cool down. Don’t they look tempting just sitting on that baking sheet all lemony and perfect? Yikes.LTC 7

Last we have the whole drizzling each cookie with a spoonful of glaze thing happening.LTC 8 

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! And make sure you share them…your friends will thank you kindly!

Ingredients:

Mini Lemon Tea-Cakes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Lemon Lavender Poppy Seed Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp. lavender vanilla sugar (I was gifted mine from Savory Spice Shop)
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the but­ter and sugar in a mix­ing bowl with a wire whisk. Add the egg and mix well. Add the ricotta cheese, sour cream, almond extract, and the lemon juice and mix well. If using an electric mixer, you can switch to using the paddle attachment. If you’re a pro and going at it the old fashioned way, you can switch to using a wooden spoon.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and kosher salt in a separate bowl with a wire whisk. Add to the wet mixture until well combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop out dough and roll between your hands to make into a ball shape. You should have enough for 24 small portions.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Switch the baking sheets on the racks half-way through the baking process. The tea-cakes will be golden brown on the bottom and puffy on top. Let cookies cool completely.
  6. While your mini tea-cakes are baking, mix all the ingredients for your glaze in a small bowl. Once the mini tea-cakes are cooled, drizzle each one with the glaze. Let the glaze harden for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!!!

Finished product: DEE-licious!LTC 9

xo sarah

red, white & BRUNCH!

Red, White & Brunch

This Independence Day was one to be remembered!

It was the first 4th of July party my husband and I have ever hosted together. While it was a tad stressful to plan, we were SO excited to put together the menu, cook together, and open our home to some of our closest friends! We had about 20 people over (including kiddos) from our Community Group for some delicious food, treats, and drinks. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we even had a couple guests suggest to make it an annual event!

I hope you enjoy reading about our menu! It is just the right amount of savory and sweet, and would be perfect for any brunch.

brunch 2

First, this delectable coffee cake. It’s a sour cream coffee cake with a maple glaze. I also sprinkled a little maple sugar on top. It was moist and sweet with just the right amount of spice. Recipe from the amazing Shutterbean.

brunch 3

brunch 1

Next, we adapted a recipe from Joy the Baker and made the easiest sausage croissants and dark chocolate croissants (pictured below)! The kiddos loved these options the most.

brunch 6

brunch 5

No brunch would be complete without a fresh fruit salad! This one had chopped granny smith apples, blueberries, strawberries, and green grapes. Tossed with some fresh squeezed orange juice for a little sweetness. YUM!

brunch 4

Now this was the show stopper. A breakfast pizza with bacon, egg, three kinds of cheese, and arugula, with an extra kick from some red pepper flakes. O.M.G. Everyone raved about it and a few asked for the recipe. All props go straight to Shutterbean for her delicious dough and pizza genius. The only thing that I added was a little rendered bacon fat underneath the cheese. You probably think I am crazy, but trust me…you will not be sorry you did it.

We also had some donuts (obviously) from our favorite place (VG’s), as well as freshly brewed coffee, iced tea, milk, and blended strawberry slushies (leaded for adults & unleaded for the kiddos).

It’s not a surprise that I fully agree with Julia Child when she said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” We were overjoyed to “break bread” with the best people. Until next year, friends! I hope you all had the most amazing 4th of July!

xo sarah

candied key lime margarita

photo (30)

My drink of choice: lime margarita. All the flavors are amazing: salty, sour, and sweet. And paired with some fresh homemade Tacos…bliss.

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The drink is so simple! Tequila, lime juice, cointreau, and ice. But we’re taking it up a notch today: candied key limes covered in sugar and chili powder. This is happening.

photo (28)

Candied Key Lime Margarita

CLICK HERE to find the candied lime recipe I used. Note: I used key limes instead of regular limes and added 1 Tbsp. of chili powder to my sugar mixture. Serves 1 margarita lover.

Ingredients:

  • Candied key limes, 3 per drink
  • wooden skewer
  • 1 key lime wedge
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar, for rim
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse salt, for rim
  • 1 oz. gold tequila
  • 1 oz. sweetened lime juice
  • 1 oz. cointreau

Directions:

  1. Wet the rim of a glass tumbler with a lime wedge. Pour salt and sugar onto a small plate. Turn glass upside down into the salt and sugar mixture to generously coat the rim. Fill glass with ice.
  2. Add Tequila, sweetened lime juice, cointreau and stir.
  3. Place 3 candied key limes onto a small wooden skewer and lay across the top of the glass. Enjoy!

NOTE: If the drink is too strong for you, just add some club soda for some bubble.

photo (35)

xo sarah

martha meal

photo (31)Last month, my close friend Brittan and I collaborated for the first time with cooking, crafting and sipping yummy drinks….all for the sake of blogging. And for fun. We have A LOT of fun! We call it “Martha Meal” and it’s my favorite!

Martha Meal is inspired by Martha Stewart Living magazine: the photos, her calendar, the DIY sections, and the FOOD! Oh, the glorious food.

This was our menu/collaboration this month:

  • Cotija Corn Tacos with Lime and Mango (Brittan…coming soon)
  • Cotija Black Bean Tacos with Cumin Sweet Potatoes and Jalapeno
  • Candied Key Lime Margarita
  • Homemade Butter (Brittan…coming soon)
  • Crispy Chili-Cinnamon-Sugar Tortillas with Homemade Butter
  • DIY: Coffee Filter Water Lily Centerpiece (Brittan…coming soon)

photo (27)

Our day began by dying the coffee filters in beautiful shades of red, pink and green. They looked so beautiful hanging out to dry. For the full DIY check in with Brittan soon. She is planning a GORGEOUS wedding right now, so the list of DIY’s for her is pretty much endless.

Then we were ready to eat! Here we go!

Cotija Black Bean Tacos with Cumin Sweet Potatoes and Jalapeno

photo (36)These tacos were just the right amount of spicy, sweet and hearty. I will be making these tacos again and again. This black bean and sweet potato salad would also make a great side dish to any meal. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup of cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 very small jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • 12 corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and chop your sweet potato into cubes. Toss the sweet potato cubes in olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper and lay on to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, lime zest, lime juice, cotija cheese, jalapeno, scallions, and cilantro. Toss in the sweet potatoes when ready.
  3. Broil tortillas on a baking sheet. Dish desired amount of black bean and sweet potato salad into tortillas. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges
  4. Enjoy!

The smoky cumin on the sweet potatoes and the sharp cotija flavor cut by the zesty limes….it’s truly mouthwatering. Want to come to our place for dinner? Taco Tuesday just got a whole lot better. And with a cold margarita? Things just got better.

photo (34)

And what meal would be complete without dessert? After filling up on tacos and margaritas you really feel like something simple.

Crispy Chili-Cinnamon-Sugar Tortillas with Homemade Butter

photo (38)This dessert takes cinnamon sugar toast to the next level. All the goodness of cinnamon, sugar, and melty butter with the crunch of a crispy corn tortilla and the bite of chili powder. Serve as many tortillas you can spare and as many as you can possibly fit in your belly.

Ingredients:

  • Butter (Easy Homemade Butter recipe by What She Would Have Worn soon!)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Broil tortillas on a baking sheet.
  2. Mix together sugar, cinnamon & chili powder in a small bowl.
  3. Spread butter onto warm tortillas, sprinkle with sugar mixture, and fold into quarters.
  4. Bite into the goodness. Enjoy!

photo (37)

Martha Meal strikes again! Tacos + Margaritas + Mariachi music in the background = One heck of a Tuesday Night! Much much love.

xo sarah