spicy bbq chicken pizza

We’ve got a few things to celebrate today.

spicy bbq chicken pizza

1. It’s vacation time – finally!! We’ve been waiting all summer for this week, and after today, I’m pretty much going to be unplugged. There’s no wifi, no computers. Just beach time with the family, lots of eating, and lots of napping.

2. Fall is coming! I’m not completely ready for cold weather and this horrible winter everyone is talking about, but I am ready for some cooler weather, changing leaves, and sweaters.

3. It’s FOOTBALL SEASON. I’ve been watching as much college football as humanly possible, and that’s the one thing I’ll miss this week on vacation….is that weird? I love it. I can’t help it!

spicy bbq chicken pizza

To help celebrate both fall AND football season, we’re talking about this spicy bbq chicken pizza today.

Okay, so a few years ago, I was convinced that I had the perfect pizza dough recipe. And it’s good – really good. And you don’t really have to let it rise, which makes it nice for weeknights. But….there’s a new dough in the rotation, and I really think this is the best pizza dough ever.

s’moreo to end the summer

This is not a recipe.

s'mores night

Can you really have a recipe for s’mores?

It’s some kind of cracker with marshmallow and your favorite chocolate, all melted and completely messy. Easy!

But I couldn’t not share this. A few weeks ago, after the Lindt chocolate and wine pairing party, we went over to Susan and Jon’s house for dinner + s’mores, and I’m pretty sure I had the best s’more of my life.

I mean, I wouldn’t doubt it since it was with Susan – she (literally) wrote the book on s’mores.

s'more-o plate

The s’mores we had that night?

A new creation.

A S’more-o. S’mores made with oreos as the “cracker”. No graham crackers in sight.

And just to put it over the edge, we used Lindt sea salt chocolate. Holy moly. That sea salt chocolate will be in every s’more I have from now on.

in print. fall 2015.

I am so excited to finally tell you guys – I’M WRITING A COOKBOOK!

AND. It’s all using one of my very, very, very favorite things: COFFEE.

iced coffee

That’s right. Next fall, you’ll be able to get this cookbook, full of sweet + savory recipes using coffee.

I AM SO EXCITED!

And maybe, just maybe, a little bit over-caffeinated.

I think I better get used to that!

coffee white chocolate chip coffee cake

The majority of the recipes will be brand new, but I will be taking some of my all-time favorites and revamping them for the book. My coffee creamers will definitely be updated for the book, plus things like fun coffee cakes and baked goods, and all kinds of savory dishes that I can’t wait to work on.

coffee creamer

From the different varieties, flavors, and undertones to brewing the perfect cup (in all kinds of ways!), from hot coffee to iced coffee, from coffee cake to short ribs….this book is going to have it all.

I can’t wait to share it with you!

chimichurri white bean hummus

I love hummus. Do you love hummus?

I love that it’s an easy snack. I love that it can be a complete meal. I love that you can open a container and be ready for a party. I especially love that it’s not just great with celery and broccoli and chips – it’s super tasty spread on flatbread or with eggs or folded into grain salads.

chimichurri white bean hummus

My only problem with hummus is that I tend to get in ruts with the flavors. I keep buying or making the same ones, over and over, instead of adding new spices each time. So this is my new goal – to make all kinds of hummus, whatever I can think of, so I don’t get bored. Because life without hummus is just sad.

Starting with this one.

The first time I had chimichurri was on one of our Honduras trips. I had NO idea what it was. We went to dinner at a place called El Gordo’s (seriously), which basically serves all meat, plus some chimichurri and tortillas. Not a bad meal after you’ve been working outside all day. Especially when you cover your entire plate with the oil-and-herb sauce they brought out in little bowls, one at each person’s seat.

greek gazpacho

Add this to the list of things I thought I would never make at home.

Let’s talk cold soups.

Are you a fan? Do you love them, year round? Or are they just a summer dish? Do you like all cold soups, or just a few?

greek gazpacho

Until a few weeks ago, I never even thought I would attempt to make one at home. I’ve tried a few at restaurants before, but with cold liquids like this, I always expect them to be like smoothies….not cold, savory soups. I didn’t grow up eating them – even gazpacho (which, come on, it’s basically just a way to eat salsa without the chips) – so this is a stretch for me.

But! I have tried a few that I’ve loved (I remember a curried grape one from a few years ago), and I knew I could whip something up using all our summer produce and my favorite Stonyfield greek yogurt.

chocolate and wine pairing party

A chocolate and wine pairing party is such a fantastic way to try something new with friends and family, all while enjoying great food and drink!

Until a few weeks ago, I had never hosted a pairing party before, but it was so much fun! This will definitely not be my last.

chocolate wine tasting 1

Lindt’s Master Swiss Chocolatier’s unmatched expertise to perfectly combine the most refined intense dark chocolate and the finest ingredients into thin shapes, made for perfect melt-in-your-mouth bites during the pairing party.

chocolate wine tasting

Together, Lindt and J. Lohr created amazing pairings that push you to the ultimate chocolate experience. Lindt really has mastered the art of refinement with their chocolate. They even sent us a few new flavors, like coconut, caramel with sea salt,  lemon and pineapple!

Pineapple! I know. I wasn’t sure about it….but it’s officially my new favorite. I thought it would be in white chocolate, but nope! And it’s insanely good.

For the tasting party, we had several bottles of wine to pair with the dark chocolates, including some of their most popular varieties and the newest – the pineapple.

lindt jlohr wine pairings

And since this was my first “official” chocolate + wine tasting get together, I was really happy that Lindt sent some detailed fliers and place mats to guide us through the tastings.

My family and I had such a great time trying everything! The pairings really do bring out the flavors of both the chocolates and wine, and it seemed to be the perfect progression from light and sweet to the more robust and bittersweet.

Here’s how to do proper tasting of the pairings:

  • First, taste both the chocolate and wine individually.
  • Next, take another piece of chocolate and let it slowly melt in your mouth.
  • When the last bit of chocolate are all that remain in your mouth, take a sip of wine. Hold the wine in your mouth, coating your palate.
  • Finally, notice the complex changes in taste as the wine compliments the chocolate flavor. The pairing will intensify and elevate the taste experience.

Let’s get started with the pairings!