Mint Simple Syrup

mint simple syrup

Wow… talk about a hiatus. I have been MIA all summer. Things got hectic between changing jobs, getting the cutest pup ever (more to come on that) and planning some awesome things to come. I’m going to make it a commitment to blog more regularly so stay tuned!

Ever since we moved into our home almost two years ago, we have had an excessive amount of mint growing in our garden. We’ve given up on trying to eliminate it completely, and have come to terms with the fact that we just have an endless supply of invasive mint (hey – could be worse).

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Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan banana chocolate chip cookies

There is no reason to ever let a ripe banana go to waste. There are just so many things you can do with them! I love to re-purpose them into baking ingredients, smoothies and desserts. I have tried so many great (and not so great) recipes in an attempt to use over-ripe bananas in a pinch.

One of which (my husbands favorite) is banana chocolate chip cookies! I am a sucker for a soft and chewy cookie, even though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. These cookies work so well for when I’m in the mood for something sweet, but I don’t want to feel like I am making unhealthy decisions.

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Rosemary Lemon Gin Fizz

rosemary lemon gin fizz cocktail

So, it’s football Sunday. I am not a sports fan, but I support my husband and his team; especially when they make it to the playoffs. What football season typically means is beer and greasy food which, along with football, are some other things I’m not a fan of. If you consider cider to be beer (which I don’t), then you can call me a beer girl… But let’s be real I’m just not a beer girl.

So, that leaves me with wine and cocktails on game days. And although it’s the middle of winter, I have been in the mood for a light refreshing cocktail – something that you can sip on and not feel guilty about or bloated from.

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No-Bake Double Chocolate Protein Bars

double chocolate no bake protein bars

Whew…. Did you survive the holidays? It’s always such a busy time for my house. Especially with friends in town and off work, I feel like I’m always out and about doing something. But, today I have time to relax and prep for New Years Eve. I haven’t given much thought to my resolution this year, but I love the concept of continuous self-improvement and I try to do this year round, not just on one day.

My husband recently started a new job, and told me he wants to take advantage of the free in-house gym. Perfect timing for a classic new years resolution. So, to support him in his endeavor, I set out to the grocery store! While walking the aisles, I saw protein bars on sale. I thought, “score!” and went about my shopping. Somehow, I ended back up in that aisle (I shouldn’t grocery shop alone) and traded in my pre-made bars for plant-based protein powder. After comparing the costs, I realized I could get much more for my money from the powder in bulk while making my own bars!

My husband LOVES anything chocolate, so I knew I had to create something brownie-like. I wanted to avoid the chalky texture and flavor you can get from protein powder, and the coconut oil and almond milk really help with that. I also wanted a super simple recipe that I could easily replicate without pulling out the food processor or preheating the oven. Thus, double chocolate no bake protein bars were born!

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Vanilla Spice Pear Preserves (small batch)

I personally am not a fan of fruit… or anything sweet for that matter. I will eat it occasionally, but I’m not one to seek out an apple or a banana for a snack. Our CSA/grocery pick up last week included a lot of pears, but not normal pears. They were the tiniest pears I had ever seen. My husband loves the fruit, but he felt like it was a waste of time to each such a tiny pear and get three bites from it. When deciding what to do, I wanted to make a yummy preserve because I know he would be more likely to use it on his morning waffles and I could spice it up with vanilla and cinnamon to make it more winter appropriate!

We didn’t have enough pears to make this recipe in bulk, which is what I come across with most recipes, but it can easily be scaled to can your preserves! I personally love to have the preserves in my pantry to grab at any time, but I also love to have this quick and easy recipe to make in small batches when I’m in the mood for a warm and spiced spread for any fresh baked goodies! It also puts use to fruits that the hubby might not grab and eat otherwise.

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Balsamic Brown Sugar Roasted Carrots

My husband and I love trying new things, especially when it comes to food. He is also not a fan of grocery shopping… like, at all. Our neighbor told us about this local business that is a hybrid between a produce stand-grocery store-CSA. They put together bags of locally available fruits vegetables and locally sourced meats and you simply pick it up! It’s such a simple solution to a lot of our grocery store gripes, but it also lets us support small and local farms and butcher shops. Win-win!

However, a lot of the time we get an excess of fruits or vegetable that we’re not sure what we want to do with, or something we wouldn’t typically buy at the grocery store, this week being carrots. I love carrots, don’t get me wrong. But my preferred method of consumption is raw dipped in ranch, which I can only eat so much of.  But, my husband likes them cooked so I figured I would give it a go!

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