Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

Thick and creamy roasted cauliflower is the perfect, comforting, vegetarian fall dinner. Ridiculously easy, and so rich you’d never guess it was packed with veggies!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

I never thought I liked cauliflower. I mean I didn’t hate it, and it’s not like eggplant which I avoid at all cost (ew, weird, gross veggie–stay far, far away!), but I certainly didn’t go out of my way to seek it out. Then I had this ridiculously good fried cauliflower at Pita Jungle. Oooooomg, it’s like the stuff dreams are made of. But then I tried that cauliflower pizza crust that the entire internet seems to be in love with? Gag worthy. Seriously, just…no.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

I was ready to give up on it again, but then I made this soup. I was craving broccoli cheese soup, and for some reason this seemed like a good alternative? Anyway, I was about to break up with cauliflower forever after that pizza crust, but (s)he? is back on my bff list because this soup? It’s totally dreamy–rich and creamy with not a single ounce of cream. It’s healthy, filling, and totally satisfying.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

This is a simple, no fuss recipe that’s basically fool proof. Heat, stir, blend, serve, and voila! Oh, and don’t even get me started on the leftovers. Even THICKER, and the flavor develops more as the soup sits. This is a HUGE batch, so you will have delicious leftovers to keep your warm all week long. And I pinky promise–the veggie haters in your life will never know it’s cauliflower. I fooled a lot of people in my family with this one. ;)

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Thick and creamy roasted cauliflower is the perfect, comforting, vegetarian fall dinner. Ridiculously easy, and so rich you'd never guess it was packed with veggies!

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 extra large onion, finely chopped
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp honey dijon mustard
  • 3-4 dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Chalulah)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated fontina cheese (or cheese of choice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Add cauliflower and garlic to a very large baking dish. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Bake until browned and softened, about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and shallot, and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until tender and fragrant, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add broth and potatoes. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add cooked cauliflower and garlic scraping baking dish well into the pot. Add mustard and hot sauce.
  5. Puree using an immersion blender, high quality stand blender (will likely need to do in batches), or food processor (will also likely require multiple batches. Return to heat and stir in cheese. Add extra salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week

Notes

You could also make this in your crockpot--just add cooked cauliflower and garlic in addition to all remaining ingredients (except the cheese) to your crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Blend, then stir in cheese.

http://arismenu.com/roasted-cauliflower-soup/

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

Individual sweet potato cheesecake cups with a gluten-free gingersnap crust, topped with bruleed marshmallows and drizzled with salted caramel sauce.

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

Can you believe it’s already time to start thinking about Thanksgiving? I think I might even like Thanksgiving more than Christmas. Maybe it’s because I get to host, maybe because it’s the one day of the year where my entire family gets together, or maybe it’s because of the tradition I enforce every year (despite the whining from the less emotional types) of going around the table before dinner and everyone saying what they’re thankful for. I usually cry. I know that’s shocking.

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

I feel like it’s also the sense of tradition. It takes a long time to set family traditions, and especially with my ADD cooking personality, it’s difficult to find things that I love enough to make them my traditions. There are a few things we never budge on–Steve’s mom makes the deviled eggs, and my mom makes the sweet potatoes.

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

Ever since I was a little girl, my mom has made my grandma’s recipe for sweet potato casserole–you know, with the marshmallows on top all browned and crispy? It’s heaven. I have two favorite Thanksgiving dishes. The first is stuffing, and the second–those sweet potatoes. I refuse to make them myself. There is no way I could ever make them taste as delicious as my mom.

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

So instead, I made cheesecakes. Delicious little individual cheesecakes that take all the best parts of sweet potato casserole + all the best parts of cheesecake and tie them together in a perfect little bow. It all starts with a gingersnap crust (as all fall flavored cheesecakes should) that sits below the sweet potato cheesecake, then topped with brulee’d (or broiled–even better, but a little tricky) marshmallows, then finished off with fluer de sel caramel sauce. Perfection.

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

I mean, that may not be how you’re supposed to use a brulee torch…

Now let me give you some advice. A little something I learned during this process. DO NOT top the cheesecakes with marshmallows in the muffin tins. They will be almost impossible to get out, and cleaning your muffin tin will be a literal nightmare. I mean, I still got mine out, and I most definitely still ate them (they were just too good to turn down), but it was a huge ordeal. What you want to do is, just before serving, either place the cooked and cooled cheesecakes on a cookie sheet, top with marshmallows and broil for a few moments until they brown, or use a brulee torch. They will get puffier, meltier, and a little messier if you broil them, but that is my preference. The brulee torch is a little cleaner, but it’s not something everyone has, so the choice is yours. Or you can always do both–broil, then (add more marshmallows and ) brulee for the ultimate marshmallow experience. ;)

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: 12 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Loaded Sweet Potato Cheesecake Cups

Individual sweet potato cheesecake cups with a gluten-free gingersnap crust, topped with bruleed marshmallows and drizzled with salted caramel sauce.

Ingredients

    For the gingersnap crust:
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap crumbs (I used gluten-free)
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (start with 1 1/2, and add a little extra if it needs it--it depends on the brand of gingersnap and how much oil is already in the cookie)
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 1 lb reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree*
  • 1 tbsp bourbon, optional
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For topping:
  • Approx 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • Salted caramel sauce (I used TJ's fluer de sel caramel)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. To make the crust, combine gingersnap crumbs and coconut oil in a medium bowl. Place approx 1 tablespoon of crust into each muffin tin. Press down with your fingers, the back of your spoon, or a shot glass. Bake until set, about 7-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
  3. To make the cheesecake, beat cream cheese, sweet puree, bourbon and brown sugar together in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. Beat in vanilla and cinnamon.
  4. Evenly divide the cheesecake batter between your 12 muffin tins.
  5. Bake until lightly browned and just set, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the door. Allow cheesecakes to sit in opened oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until fully chilled, about 3-4 hours.
  7. To serve, remove cheesecakes from muffin tin and place on a large cookie sheet. Top each cheesecake cup with a few marshmallows. Either broil until browned, about 3-5 minutes, or brulee using a brulee torch until marshmallows brown. Drizzle with warm salted caramel sauce.
  8. Store remaining cups (without marshmallows or sauce) refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

*To make sweet potato puree, simple roast sweet potato(es) at 400 until tender, about 40-60 minutes depending on size of the sweet potato. I often do this ahead of time in a large batch.

http://arismenu.com/loaded-sweet-potato-cheesecake-cups/

Drink & Dish: Spider Web Cupcakes

Spider Web Cupcakes

Easy & fun spider web cupcakes are the perfect treat to bring to your Halloween party, and they are totally fool-proof!

Spider Web Cupcakes

When I was a little kid, I absolutely LOVED Halloween. Not surprising that this theatre kid loved getting dressed up, right? The best part was that every year my dad would take me trick-or-treating, and we would have themed costumes. I can’t remember everything we did, but I know it included The Lion King and 101 Dalmations. Sometimes he would rent the most elaborate costumes from local costume shops. He always went all-out, and it made the holiday really special to me.

Spider Web Cupcakes

In fact, I’m pretty sure I went trick-or-treating all the way through high school, and even one year in college (with my brother–not alone!!). Oh my brother…one year we went he was riding some scooter around! The epitome of lazy, right? I have never let him get over that one!

Spider Web Cupcakes

I actually haven’t really gotten into Halloween for a long time…until this year! You guys, Nicole and I had such a blast getting dressed into costumes, playing with dry ice and spider webs, and creating fun Halloween concoctions together. It really reminded me what this holiday is about (for me)–having fun.  I’m actually looking forward to it this year also because I work at an arts school, and I just know my students are going to come decked out in super creative costumes.

Spider Web Cupcakes

So let’s chat about these cupcakes. They are ridiculously simple. You can use any chocolate cupcake you’d like. Homemade, box mix, even one you buy from the store. I like chocolate because of the dark color, but anything will work. Red? Orange? Candy corn colors? You name it. Then you just need a white frosting. I used cream cheese because that’s what I like, but you could use butter cream, or even a store bought variety (although, I beg you, don’t buy the ones with the weird hydrogenated oils). You’ll also need some black royal icing. Confession:I bought one at the store. This stuff is totally out of my realm, and I was all about ease and simplicity.

Spider Web Cupcakes

A few tips that will help you:

  • Use a very small tip on your piping bag.  <—Small tip = more control
  • Chill the royal icing. <–chilled icing makes it thicker, less runny, and easier to work with
  • Start conservatively. <–You can always add later, but you can’t take away.
  • Practice on some wax paper or paper towel before trying it out on your cupcakes. <–I did, and I figured out what I liked.

In the latest episode of Drink & Dish, I demonstrate exactly how to make these, so you can see the step-by-step process. Nicole makes a devil’s food cake martini that is not only delicious, but she also shows how to use her awesome fake blood to make your martini look like blood is dripping down it–totally creepy and awesome. Oh, and we definitely wore costumes. It was my favorite episode we’ve ever filmed.

Drink & Dish: Spider Web Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Drink & Dish: Spider Web Cupcakes

Easy & fun spider web cupcakes are the perfect treat to bring to your Halloween party, and they are totally fool-proof!

Ingredients

  • Chocolate cupcakes
  • Cream cheese frosting (or butter cream, or any white frosting)
  • Black royal icing

Instructions

  1. See instructional video
http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-spider-web-cupcakes/

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

Vegan and gluten-free ultra soft pumpkin banana muffins overflowing with melty dark chocolate chips. The perfect treat for a crisp fall morning.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

Good morning! Is it morning where you are? It’s totally not here, but these muffins make me feel like morning. That probably sounds weird. Not just because they’re muffins. Muffins are more an afternoon snack than breakfast for me. They just make me feel like morning. Like cool, crisp autumn morning on the porch. I wish I had a table and chairs on my porch. A table and chairs just for muffins.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

Perfectly imperfect muffins. Not at all smooth like your normally think of, but with a little character and personality, and a whole lot of flavor. You see pumpkin and banana are known for making perfectly *gross word*, soft, and tender baked goods. Put them together, and it only gets better. Add some melty dark chocolate, and you’ve got the stuff dreams are made of.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

The muffins practically melt in your mouth. No dry, cakey-ness (Okay, serious how do you spell that word?? I get a red squiggly line every time with no suggestion. Rude.) that you would expect from a health(ier) muffin. Sometimes I don’t like pumpkin in cookies because it makes them taste like, well, muffins–which is why pumpkin muffins are just perfect!

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

These are super simple and easy to make, and a perfect fall treat to have around on Thanksgiving or any get together. That is if you don’t eat them all before your family and friends arrive. ;)

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Vegan and gluten-free ultra soft pumpkin banana muffins overflowing with melty dark chocolate chips. The perfect treat for a crisp fall morning.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free baking blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 2 extra ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I a combination of mini and full size)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray liners with nonstick spray. Do not skip this step--lower fat items will stick if you don't use spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, pumpkin pie spice, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl mix together banana, pumpkin, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Evenly divide batter between prepared muffin tins. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower heat to 350. Continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs, about 12-15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
http://arismenu.com/pumpkin-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins/

 

Crockpot Chili

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

Super easy, thick, chunky and bold man-style chili in your slow-cooker.

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

When I was gone this summer, my husband ate a total of 3 things: Chipotle, this chicken, and this chili. No, I’m serious. He would make a huge batch of this chili and eat it for 2 weeks straight.

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

When I came home (and after the weather cooled down, and I could actually think about eating chili again!), he couldn’t wait to make it for me. I love chili, but I guess I just never found a tried and true recipe, so it’s not something I make unless it includes sweet potatoes, but that’s a whole other story. ;)

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

It was love at first bite. I loved it so so so much that I asked him if I could share it with you guys. Steve is all about the thick, chunky chili. He likes almost no water in it, and I have to say, I loved how hearty that made it. We’ve had it twice in the last month (and with a batch this size, that really is saying something!), and I’ve tried switching the beans around, and playing around with types of meat, and there is really no way to mess it up. Like I said, it makes a HUGE batch. Feel free to halve it, but the leftovers are so dang good–I would just make the whole thing.

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

It’s especially good with some fresh cornbread crumbled on top. Ummm, that my friends, was like heaven.

Crockpot Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 16-20 servings

Serving Size: approx 1 cup

Crockpot Chili

Simple, easy, thick and chunky man-style chili that comes together in your slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey (93% or higher)
  • 2 lbs kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 lbs pinto beans (or black beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 large can (approx 30 oz) chili beans
  • 2 lbs crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1 1/2 oz chili seasoning (if gf, make sure your seasonings are)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • approx 1 cup beef broth or water

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Over medium heat, brown the ground beef.
  2. Meanwhile, add beans, tomatoes and jalapenos to slow cooker. Add browned beef, chili seasoning, and cumin.
  3. Slowly, add beef broth or water until desired consistency. Lightly toss ingredients together. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Notes

This is a very forgiving recipe. Feel free to change up the beans, meat, seasonings, etc. to your taste.

http://arismenu.com/crockpot-chili/

Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Waffle French Toast

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

Light and fluffy gluten-free pumpkin waffles turned into sweet, pumpkin french toast for the best of all breakfast worlds. Do you love pumpkin as much as I do? Check out my other pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

You know what I don’t really understand? When people eat brunch at 2 pm. I mean isn’t the entire point that it’s supposed to be between breakfast and lunch? You know, because you sleep past breakfast. Well, I don’t. I have an internal clock and 6:30 is considered sleeping in for me. When I say brunch, I mean 10am and that’s like…we’re eating at 10am because I’ve been up for 4 hours and could have already eaten, and then been hungry again by now. I’ve always had a big appetite.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

And I’m not one of those easy going hungry people either. Nope. Cranky, irritable, and hangry (hungry/angry) is more my style. Not to mention dramatic. I can’t even tell you how many times I have told Steve that I was “literally starving to death” or that “I have never been so hungry!”

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

10am really is the right time. Wake up, drink coffee, start cooking, and by the time you’ve become a fully developed human being (it takes me a workout, or at least an hour), people start arriving, and you’ve become at least mildly pleasant.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

So let me explain this french toast to you. It’s really pretty simple. You take a waffle–any waffle, but preferably this pumpkin one–and you soak it in some French toast batter (do you call it batter? it’s not really a batter? you get the point…) for an hour or so, then you just pan fry it up like regular french toast. It truly is the best of all breakfast worlds. A couple things to note: If you use homemade waffles, you want them to be cooked crispy, and 1-2 days old, otherwise they will get soggy. If you’re using a frozen waffle, toast it first.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

For our final fall episode of Drink & Dish, Nicole and I went with a harvest brunch (in case my entirely too long rant about brunch time wasn’t an indication…). Nicole makes a delicious pumpkin chai latte that is so warm and comforting, it will knock your socks off! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Drink & Dish on YouTube!

In addition, I have an important announcement! After hearing that many of you were worried about completing the Drink & Dish video challenge in the time allotted, we have decided to extend it all the way to New Years! We really want to see as many people as possible succeed with their videos, so you still have plenty of time to enter!

Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Waffle French Toast

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1 waffle

Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Waffle French Toast

Light and fluffy gluten-free pumpkin waffles turned into sweet, pumpkin french toast for the best of all breakfast worlds.

Ingredients

    For the pumpkin waffles:
  • 2 cups gluten-free baking blend
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the french toast:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs + 8 egg whites
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. To make the waffles, in a large bowl whisk together baking blend, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. A few small lumps are fine--you do not want to overmix. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat waffle heater. Spray with nonstick spray. Once batter has rested, cook until lightly browned and edges are crisp, about 10 minutes.
  4. To make the french toast, in a large bowl beat together pumpkin, eggs, almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Place waffles in a large shallow dish and cover with pumpkin/egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray. Cook each waffle until browned and edges crisp, about 5-7 minutes per side. Serve immediately with maple syrup and fresh berries if desired. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

Best with crisp-cooked day old waffles. You may use frozen waffles or any waffle you'd like. This is a huge recipe that can easily be halved or quartered.

http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-pumpkin-waffle-french-toast/

Autumn Spiced Toddy (Cold-brewed Iced Coffee)

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Easy & smooth cold-brewed iced coffee spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice & cloves. 

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Lately I’ve been wondering if it’s time to start acting like a grown up. I can’t even tell you what that means, because I just act like, well, me. The other day someone thought I was wayyy younger than I am (this isn’t even including the almost daily basis in which I’m mistaken for a student), and although this should be a compliment (YAY!! You didn’t notice those lines decorating my forehead!), I immediately got into my head thinking “OMG do I need to start acting like I’m in my *gulp* late 20’s?”

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Again, not that I could even tell you what that means. But sometimes I feel like maybe I need to stop talking like a teenager, getting upset when children beat me at games, and locking my husband out of our room so I can win at the who gets into bed first game. That’s a whole other story that I should probably be embarrassed of, but I’m not because I have the maturity of a 6 year old.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

I find this whole “growing up” and “maturing” business incredibly confusing. I guess I just assumed it would happen naturally, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s something people make a conscious effort to do? You know, like washing dishes (something I find equally appalling).

Autumn Spiced Toddy

But then on the other hand, I go to bed at 9 pm, I make my own coffee and I even pretend I’m fancy and call it toddy. That really is the name for cold brew, but I feel like it’s this secret coffee snob name that no one really knows about. I am totally a coffee snob, but in an all inclusive name. Feel free to join me in my snobbery and use words no one else knows. ;)

Autumn Spiced Toddy

There are few DIY projects I love more than making a huge batch of toddy. It is ridiculously simple, and not a single drop ever goes to waste. It’s one less thing I have to worry about in the morning. My coffee routine is simply fill my glass with ice, pour in toddy, add some almond milk and grab a straw. Nothing to prep the night before, and I never have to worry about running out of time to feed my caffeine addiction.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Of course, sometimes I like to spice things up. One of my favorite local coffee shops offers spiced toddy this time of year (although I’ve never actually tried it there), and it always sounded so delicious. I am a huge fan of pumpkin spiced lattes, and pretty much any fall coffee drink you can imagine, so I wanted to incorporate my favorite flavors right into my cold brew.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to taste the spices over the bold flavor of the coffee, but they shine through without being over powering. You can always add more if you want a bolder spice flavor, but I like the nice hint that adds depth–it makes you wonder what’s different about this coffee, and why it tastes special.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Adding the spices doesn’t really take any extra time–just add them right into your batch while it sits. I used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. You could also add ground ginger, cardamom (for a chai flavor), or any other spices you want. If you want to see detailed instructions with step-by-step photos on how to make your iced coffee, check out this post!

Autumn Spiced Toddy (Cold-brewed Iced Coffee)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 12-15 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Autumn Spiced Toddy (Cold-brewed Iced Coffee)

Simple & easy cold brewed iced coffee seasoned with warm, comforting fall spices.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb good quality bold coffee, coarsely ground
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 2 gallons water

Instructions

  1. Pour ground coffee into a 2.5 gallon airtight container. Add spices. Top with 2 gallons filtered water. Pat down the top to ensure all coffee is incorporated. Cover and store for 24-48 hours (the longer it brews, the stronger it will be).
  2. Scoop out as much of the grounds as possible with a fine mesh strainer. Rinse strainer, then cover with a double layer of cheesecloth. Place covered strainer over a 1 gallon jug Use a measuring cup to pour coffee over your covered strainer to filter any remaining grounds. Repeat until jug is mostly full, then repeat with a second 1 gallon jug. If your coffee begins to have trouble filtering through, change your cheesecloth out for a fresh one.
  3. To serve, fill glass with ice and add 1-2 inches of water. Add coffee, and any desired cream or sweetener.
http://arismenu.com/autumn-spiced-toddy-cold-brewed-iced-coffee/

My Gluten-free Baking Blend

#GlutenFree Baking Blend

A simple & easy gluten-free flour blend perfect for cookies, cupcakes, quickbreads, and more! Looking for more gluten-free recipes? Check these out!

#GlutenFree Baking Blend

Almost 6 months ago, my husband discovered he was gluten intolerant. He (obviously) cut out gluten completely, and as a result, I now eat about 90% gluten-free as well. I had toyed with gluten-free baking a little bit, but mostly using just almond meal or oats. I tried many gluten-free flours, and even when I enjoyed the end result, you could always tell they were gluten-free. The texture was never quite right. Sometimes they’d be gummy, or other times too crumbly–it is definitely a challenge, and it’s taken quite a bit of time, resources, and trial & error to get to a place where I feel like I’ve started to figure it out.

#GlutenFree Baking Blend

I’ve been making vegan desserts for quite some time–something that is so easy in my opinion. I already use butter alternatives, and cornstarch replaces an egg seamlessly in most cases (I’m not vegan, I just like to bake things that work for many different diets). Gluten-free on the other hand? I feel like it’s a constant learning process.

#GlutenFree Baking Blend

However, after trying a lot of different combinations, I truly feel like I’ve found my winner–my go-to flour blend that I will use 90% of the time. Of course, I will still try new things and learn lots of new tricks as I go, but after a series of successful baked goods (teenager approved and all!), I finally feel ready to share my blend with you guys. In fact, tonight I told Steve I may even like this better than wheat flour. The texture is ultra-soft, and perfect for baked goods.

#GlutenFree Baking Blend

A couple things to note: While I have used this blend to replace wheat flour in many different recipes, sometimes (especially in cookies) you may need to some extra flour. I often add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup compared to what a recipe calls for in cookies. My suggestion is to start off following the recipe, then add extra as needed. I usually start by adding 1/4 cup if the mixture is overly sticky and unworkable. Be careful though–too much flour leads to dry and cakey baked goods.

#GlutenFree Baking Blend

My favorite part of this blend? No weird ingredients. No xanthan gum, nothing too obscure, and no need to add any extra ingredients when baking. And it’s a whole grain mix! You better believe I’m not about to start baking with refined grains just because it’s gluten-free. ;) The method is simple–it’s a 3:3:2 measurement of brown rice flour, gluten-free oat flour  (you can buy this at the store, or easily make your own with gluten-free oats in a food processor), and almond meal (you can also buy this, or make your own). You can simply mix these flours together for a recipe, or you can make a larger batch so that the measurements are already taken care of.

#GlutenFree Baking Blend

Making the blend ahead of time in a larger batch is a great time saver. You could also make a batch as a gift for a friend who maintains a gluten-free diet. If they haven’t found a lot of products they like yet, they will seriously love you for helping them enjoy the delicious treats they’ve been missing. This blend literally tastes no different than any regular flour, and is great for everyone no matter if you follow a gluten-free diet or not.

My Gluten-free Baking Blend

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

My Gluten-free Baking Blend

A perfectly soft whole grain gluten-free baking mix perfect for cookies, cakes, quick breads, and more.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brown rice flour
  • 3 cups gluten-free oat flour*
  • 2 cups almond meal*

Instructions

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

*Oat flour and almond meal can each be made by pulsing oats or almond in food processor until a fine flour forms. Be careful with almonds not to over-pulse or you will end up with almond butter.

*This mix can replace all-purpose flour in most recipes. You may need to add a little bit extra (especially in cookies).

*Recipe inspired by Edible Perspective

http://arismenu.com/gluten-free-baking-blend/

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze #vegan #glutenfree

Soft and tender apple cider almond meal donuts stuffed with pieces of chopped apple and topped with a molasses dulce de leche glaze. Looking for more donuts? Check these out!

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze #vegan #glutenfree

Have I ever told you about my honeycrisp problem? Like, Steve told me we were going to have to budget for them. If I had it my way, I would eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every snack in between. Oh, and of course, in donuts. ;)

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze #vegan #glutenfree

I don’t know what I’m more excited about–the donuts or the glaze. I loooove the texture of almond meal desserts, especially in donuts, but this glaze is truly unique and over-the-top delicious. They are a match made in heaven.

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze #vegan #glutenfree

The donuts are ridiculously simple–one bowl, only a handful of ingredients, and just take a matter of minutes. The glaze takes a little bit more time,  but you can make it while your donuts cook and and cool, and it times out perfectly. I love it when things work out perfectly like that. ;)

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze #vegan #glutenfree

You guys are going to love these donuts. I took them to work so I wouldn’t eat all of them, and even still I kept sneaking in to grab one totally stealing them from all my friends. Whadda jerk, right? ;)

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen

Serving Size: 1 donut

Apple Cider Donuts with Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze

Soft and tender apple cider almond meal donuts stuffed with chopped apple and topped with a molasses dulce de leche glaze

Ingredients

  • For the donuts:
  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup spiced apple cider
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 apple, chopped (preferably honeycrisp, but any will do)
  • For the Molasses Dulce de Leche Glaze:
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Start with the donuts. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, corn starch, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir in apple cider and almond milk until combined.Stir in chopped apple.
  3. Fill donut molds about 2/3 – 3/4 full. Bake for 12-16 minutes until golden and set. Cool completely in pans.
  4. To make the glaze, combine coconut milk, molasses and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly until thick and syrupy, and volume is reduced by about 1/2, approx 30 minutes. Remove from heat and continue to stir for an other minute. Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.
  5. Glaze donuts immediately before serving. Leftover donuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Glaze can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
http://arismenu.com/apple-cider-donuts-molasses-dulce-de-leche-glaze/

Drink & Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

Tender seared brussels sprouts with crispy bacon, soft and sweet dates, and crunchy chopped apples topped with a sweet balsamic glaze. Looking for more healthy side dishes? Check these out!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

I want to tell you a story. A love story…of sorts. You see, I used to hate brussels sprouts. People all over the internet go crazy for them, and I never got it. I legit thought they were gross.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

Then I tasted them in a big dish of roasted veggies, and decided I could tolerate them. They weren’t terrible, but I would still find a couple lingering on my plate after I had devoured every other vegetable on there. I’m a girl who loves my veggies–I eat them first, and I almost always finish them. I would be a great example for your children.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

One day, I ordered a dish at True Foods that included brussels sprouts. I took a bite and immediately went back in for more thinking it must be a fluke. They were incredible! I find myself digging around on my plate searching, trying to find every last one. I usually only do that with goat cheese! ;)

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

Ever since that day, there has been a new veggie love in my life and I have never looked back. These quickly became my new favorite snack, and I began the process of convincing Steve that brussels sprouts really weren’t gross (he was not convinced). I figured out what made them work for me–they had to be well cooked. Soft, but not mushy. Definitely not hard and crunchy. They also had to have a beautiful browned sear for the most possible flavor. And they are always  better with bacon.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

In New Orleans I had them with bacon and dates–they came with this sweet sauce, and they were literally to die for. I gave Steve a bite and he changed his mind right then and there. He told me he would only ever eat them if they tasted like that. Challenge accepted. And I added some apples because, well, it’s fall and they just make it even better.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

Funny story, when I made these the first time (for testing, photographing and…dinner), I chopped up the apples to throw in at the last second. You must throw them in at the last second. I despise mushy apples. Anyway, I also sliced some up for the photo. I plated everything, took the pictures, and then after I was finished Steve asks me “Are you doing anything with all these chopped apples in the kitchen?” *face-palm* I had them all chopped and ready to go and never actually put them in. So I added them right then–at the very, very last second. I do things like that all the time–get something ready for a photo then completely forget about it. Please tell me it’s not just me.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

For this second fall episode of Drink & Dish, I wanted to share something savory with you. I always forget about fall veggies and get caught up on pumpkin desserts. Brussels sprouts (and apples!) are fall all-stars as well, and I figured it was time for them to take the front seat! This dish pairs perfectly with Nicole’s delicious apple cider cocktail! Make sure you check it out, and of course subscribe to D&D on YouTube!

Drink & Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: approx 4 servings

Drink & Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates

A delicious, healthy, sweet and savory side dish perfect for fall.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved and stems removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 slices center cut bacon, chopped
  • 4 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 apple (honeycrisp, gala, whatever you like)
  • For the balsamic glaze (optional):
  • 1/2-1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Begin with the balsamic glaze by pouring balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-medium high to simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce has reached desired thickness. This took me about 30 minutes for a very syrupy glaze. 20-30 minutes should be all you need. Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat immediately.
  2. Fill a medium sauce pan half way with water. Bring to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook for just 2-3 minutes. Strain and remove. This step helps soften the brussels sprouts--if you like them crunchier, feel free to skip it.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Set aside any extra leaves that fall off your brussels sprouts--you'll use those later (they cook faster). Add brussels sprouts flat side down. Season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until seared and brown, about 5-7 minutes. Flip brussels sprouts and move them all to one side of your pan.
  4. Add bacon to the other side of the pan and cook until it begins to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add dates and extra brussels sprouts leaves. Toss to combine. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. At the very last moment, add chopped apple and give a quick toss. Remove from heat. Serve topped with balsamic vinegar if desired. This dish is best served immediately, but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-brussels-sprouts-apple-bacon-dates/

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

A healthy twist on a loaded baked sweet potato and potato salad. Looking for more sweet potato recipes? Check these out!

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Last month we hosted a barbecue at our house. I like to do a BYOM&B (bring your own meat & booze)–I make all the sides and desserts, and everyone can choose their own meat (or non-meat) and whatever they want to drink. It saves a lot of money, and you don’t have to worry so much about numbers, RSVPs, etc. It can be more laid back, and it makes it easier to invite all your friends.

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

I created something like 5 new recipes that day, and they all turned out amazing. Let me tell you, that never  happens. It was a miracle. For the sides, I made a Thai peanut slaw (coming soon…) and this baby. There was a big debate over which side was better. Nobody could agree, but I can tell you that this was Steve’s favorite. Mine too. ;)

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

The recipe is super easy, and other than the time spent cooking the potatoes, it comes together in minutes. I just took a little spin with the concept of my loaded baked potato salad, and it was literally love at first bite. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes with salty bacon and tangy goat cheese…uggghhh–it’s just so right.

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

And I love how this is a side dish that’s perfect for all seasons–it’s perfect for a summer barbecue, but to me the sweet potatoes scream fall, and it’s such an easy dish to throw together that you can literally take it with you to just about any party, or even eat it as a meal for lunch! The Greek yogurt packs it with protein while the sweet potatoes add healthy carbs, and tons of vitamins. It’s literally the best of every world.

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8 servings

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Healthy, protein and vitamin packed loaded sweet potato salad with Greek yogurt, goat cheese and center cut bacon

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 lb center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 heaping cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used and herb goat cheese)
  • Generous pinch each salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork. Transfer to a large baking dish and cook until softened, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Cut baked sweet potatoes into 1" cubes. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and lightly toss until combined. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
http://arismenu.com/loaded-sweet-potato-salad/

My First Century

Hi! I haven’t written about any training things for a while, but I’ve been training for the Tour de Tucson which is a 111 mile ride. I had been training for my 2nd marathon, but after Hood to Coast and just not feeling 100% back to running health, I decided to be smart, give myself a break, and focus on a new goal, so I’ve been riding the crap out of Mean Green, and grown to really love cycling beyond as more than a means to get to coffee, breakfast or yoga. ;)

A few weeks ago, I had a really great, confidence-building, solo 80 miler, and I wasn’t really planning on doing more than that until closer to the race.

In fact, yesterday’s route was originally supposed to be about hill training–for those of you that aren’t local, there is a gooorgeous hilly route that I always stop and turn around at just before it gets challenging because I’m a wuss.

Anyway, we planned to tackle it yesterday and the entire route was supposed to be about 60-70 miles, but then I got a message earlier in the week from Steve asking to make it a century with a map. I thought he had planned a century instead of the hills, but he had planned one that included them. Awesome.

Well, Friday night Steve tells me he feels like he’s getting sick…again. That was the whole reason I went solo for 80 mi is we had planned to do it together, and then he got sick. You see, I have this really annoying personality trait where once I decide to do something, I can’t not do it. Once I’m mentally committed, there is no backing down–it can be really obnoxious, but I guess it’s mostly a good thing. 

We still started the ride together, but Steve was struggling almost immediately. The wind was also out in full force–like, sometimes I swear if I didn’t pedal hard, I was just going to go backwards. We made it pretty slowly to the hilly section (Power to Usery), all into the wind of course, and as we started climbing Power, we met up with a couple other cyclists Doug and Kendra who chatted with us for a while. We rode together for probably 5-7 miles and it was so nice to have some strangers to distract me from how tough things felt. The wind was so intense at this point because we were in the middle of no where–no buildings or anything to block it. Even going downhill was hard! Anyway, we broke off from them at Usery, and that’s where Steve and I started to split up as well.

After the first mile of consistent climbing (it’s 3.5 miles of climbing total), I stopped to wait for Steve. When he caught up, he told me to just get to the top and wait for him there, so I continued on. One guy passed me, then I passed him back, then he passed me again and that was that. I am a sloooow climber, and I honestly have basically no hill experience at all. I kept looking down at my garmin and thinking “this is slower than most of my friends run”, but I didn’t really mind. I knew I’d get there eventually, and I was happy to not have to stop and rest. My friend Jason told me that the first time he did this route, he had to stop and walk his bike up, so I was happy to feel strong even though I was averaging a snail-like 7.2 mph.

I didn’t realize I had gotten to the top until an other cyclist mentioned it to me. I had been really scared about this part of the ride, and I was thrilled to finish the tough climbing section with so much fuel left in the tank! Good thing too, because we were only about 30 mi in. I waited for Steve, and then the fun began! I hit 35.8 mph without even pedaling! It was exhilarating, and it made every foot I had climbed 100% worth it. Not to mention, we finally had the wind at our backs!

As the path flattened out, Steve started struggling again. He just felt terrible, couldn’t breathe, etc. He was in no shape to make it a century. He told me to wait for him at our next turn, which was several miles away. He had planned to still do 80 with me, but when he got there, he was in bad shape. I thought about calling it. I had finished the climbing, I didn’t feel great (female problems…sorry boys), and I wasn’t even half way through yet. I was mentally unraveling a little at the idea of doing more than half of the ride by myself, but that thing inside my brain clicked in, and off I went. I actually felt fine until mile 60 where I turned back into the wind.

I knew if I wanted it to be easier at the end, I had to face the wind at that point, so I went back east and the wind was literally confidence shattering. I was struggling to go 13 mph, and it felt like no matter how much I pedaled, my garmin would.not.move. On top of that, my shoulder started to get really tight, and I kept having to try to stretch it while I was riding which is…not easy haha. I texted Steve at mile 78 and told him I wasn’t sure I could make it. I had been going back into the wind for almost 20 miles, my shoulder was killing me, and I was feeling spent. He asked if I could finish 85 and be satisfied with a new PDR, but I told him no–ya know, that brain thing.

But then something magical happened! I turned away from the wind, and suddenly I was going 20-21 without effort! Here’s where I started to go a little nuts. Laughing, yelling things to myself, pep talks with myself out loud. I kinda lost it, but in a good way? I texted Steve again the last time I refilled my water and told him to meet me at Dutch Bros for a celebratory coffee, and I thought about that coffee the entire way there. As I got to the last 1/2 mile, I remembered that this was the same way I ended my first 20 miler, and I got all kinds of emotional and started to cry.

100.2 miles in 6:41:51 with 1,900 feet of climbing. Not super speedy, but not bad either!

Fuel:

For those of you who are curious, and  because I know I would be, I brought enough fuel for a small army, but here’s what I actually ate:

  • 1 ALT Larabar (pumpkin pie flavor–yum!) ~ 200 calories w/10 g protein
  • 1 Kind bar (one of the protein ones) ~ 200 calories w/8 g protein
  • 3 packs of black cherry shot blocks (I cut the tops off with scissors before I leave so they’re so super easy to eat while moving) ~ 600 calories

So that’s about 1,000 calories total. I have no idea if that’s good, or right, but it seemed to work for me. I feel pretty confused about bike fueling, so a couple of days ago I emailed my friend Julie who gave me some good tips. She suggested alternating small snacks with bigger ones, so I would get through an entire pack of blocks (first time after an hour, then 2 blocks every 45 minutes), then eat a bar. Towards the end when I needed more energy, I started eating 1 block every 15 minutes, and it seemed to really help!

So that’s my story. Now I’ve hit my longest ride that I’m going to do and the race is still a month and a half away, so I’m not really sure what to do for the next 6 weeks. Maybe the husband will rope me into an other century, but with how tired I feel today, I’m not so sure I want to commit to triple digits again until race day. We shall see. :)