Some exciting things are happening around here! First, I started a new job this week. Yup. After almost 8 years of working in the same office, I officially moved to a new position / new office / new everything on Wednesday of this week. I am equally crazy excited and a little terrified. Change is always a little scary, isn’t it? But it’s a good change.
On top of having a new job and finishing up the garden and having football again (yay!!), I’ve got a fun giveaway for you guys!
Did you know that this coming Sunday, September 29th is National Coffee Day? Well, it is. And that just gives me one more reason to make a good cup of coffee at home.
Lucky for me (and for one of you!), Starbucks is celebrating National Coffee Day, too. They’ve got a new whole bean coffee, Ethiopia, a single-origin medium roast with notes of chocolate, citrus, and peppery spice. Believe me: it’s good. I’m a big sucker for coffees that have that mix of chocolate and citrus flavors. It makes for a balanced cup that’s perfect with whatever I’m having for breakfast.
If you’re a coffee snob like we are, you probably already know most of these, but if you’re just getting into making really good coffee at home, these tips will definitely come in handy. To make the best cup possible at home:
- Always, always use fresh coffee. Get coffee that has been freshly roasted, if you can. Buy it whole bean and grind it yourself right before brewing your morning cup. Store opened bags of coffee in air-tight containers, but don’t freeze it!
- Starbucks recommends using 2 Tbsp of coffee for each 6 oz of water, but that’s a little too strong for us. We normally do about 1 Tbsp for each cup that we’re making. This is just personal preference, so just try different amounts and see what you like the best.
- Our favorite methods of making coffee are the french press and the coffee siphon. But, honestly, if you’re using fresh coffee and have the right amount for you, you can still have a great cup of joe, no matter how you make it.
On Sunday, Starbucks stores across the U.S. and Canada will be joining in by offering free samples of Ethiopia. Also, customers who purchase a 1-lb. bag of Ethiopia that day will receive a free Ethiopian-inspired commemorative ceramic cup.
And to celebrate even more, Starbucks is letting me give one of you this prize pack so you can try Ethiopia for yourself! The winner will receive:
- 1-lb bag of Ethiopia
- Starbucks Siren mug
- $25 Starbucks gift card
Tell me your favorite place to have your morning cup of coffee.
For extra entries:
Tweet about the giveaway and let me know you did
Share your favorite recipe to have with your cup of coffee in the comments. Coffee cake? Homemade sweet rolls? I want to know!
Flowers I bought for the house, just because, thanks to the LMWL Challenge.
The reddest lips I could do (I need to buy an actual red lipstick – help?!) and my favorite StitchFix necklace. Are you in yet? It’s the most fun thing ever! I need to do a post with all the things I’ve kept so far.
This dinner was ridiculously good. While we actually have tomatoes coming in, we decided on a tomato and basil pie the other night, complete with fresh mozzarella, a homemade pie crust, and a homemade mayo + cheddar topping.
Have I shared my new obsession with homemade mayo? I can’t stop making it. It’s so easy! There’s a post coming soon about that, I promise.
Our first year growing butternut squash = success! These little babies were roasted and then frozen to have later, and we still have 4 or 5 on the back porch, just waiting to be used.
Best weekend lately, for sure. Nick and I took a long weekend trip to Montreal to see the city, see Shovels & Rope, see The Avett Brothers, and see some friends. I fell in love with the city and already miss it terribly.
Missing recipes? I know. Me too. I’ve got some great ones in the queue, just waiting on me to write them up and get them posted – they’re coming soon! I’ve been enjoying nights without the computer most of the summer, but these recipes just can’t wait any longer.
Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet the Sabra team – along with half of the Sabra Tastemakers for this year – and spend some time learning all about hummus in my own state of Virginia! Apparently, Virginia is for Hummus Lovers, too.
First of all, did you know that Sabra is making all kinds of things now? They’ve got salsas, salads, guacamole, and these veggie dips that are my new favorite. They even make the yogurt base for the dips – you can’t get any better than that.
A big part of trip to Richmond was to see their offices and to take a tour of the factory to see exactly how our favorite hummus is made. Being able to see how food gets from the farm to my kitchen is really exciting to me – I mean, the first show I got hooked on The Food Network was Unwrapped, so I’m always interested to see the process of how things are made and packaged.
After walking into the Sabra building, the first thing I noticed was how light and airy and beautiful the space was. The offices and kitchen area were separated by a little courtyard where sunlight was streaming in and there were seats for employees to sit and enjoy the space. I think all offices need an area like this! It felt so open and inviting – I was ready to just move in. Especially once I saw the kitchen.
On top of seeing the workspace and taking a tour of the factory, we had a hummus-based/inspired lunch, made the Sabra chef herself. All 16(!) flavors of hummus were out to sample, along with all their other salsas and dips, and we certainly made a meal out of it.
But the highlight of lunch was this spice cake made with – you guessed it – hummus! And a tahini glaze that was out of this world. I can’t wait to make this at home this fall.
And did I mention they were filming all this? I’m still not sure exactly how this footage is going to be used, but if I find out, I’ll let you guys know! The entire crew was so fun to spend time with.
While we were touring the actual factory, we weren’t allowed to take our cameras, but I will say this: everything was super efficient, insanely clean, and it smelled like chickpeas. And we got to wear hairnets! Not a bad place to spend the afternoon.
After lunch and our factory tour, we had the chance to visit a farm outside the city where they’re testing chickpea growth right here in Virginia. Chickpeas aren’t normally grown here, so part of this trial is testing different varieties of chickpeas to see which ones (if any) grow well enough to begin growing them close to the factory. It was a beautiful day to visit the farm.
See the chickpea? I had never seen one like this, pulled straight out of the ground. Maybe we should grow chickpeas next year?! J/k. I’ll save that for the experts. It’s hard enough for me to keep up with tomatoes.
I’m so happy to be a part of the Sabra Tastemakers for this year – make sure to check out the other Tastemakers for more information and hummus recipes. The trip was one of the best parts my year so far, and I’m happy I was able to visit and learn more about our favorite hummus and the company.
Want more hummus recipes? Here’s a few of my favorites:
Z’atar Spiced Chicken and Pasta Salad
Hummus and Olive Flatbread Pizza
Hashbrown Crusted Ham, Hummus and Feta Quiche
I am part of the Sabra Tastemakers for 2013. My trip and post was sponsored by Sabra – all opinions are my own.
1. blueberry picking after work 2. frozen for the winter 3. our first good year of corn! 4. watching Newport Folk Festival on a rainy Saturday afternoon – if you haven’t heard Shovels & Rope, you now have homework 5. glimpse of a weeknight 6. Maggie as a puppy
I was a caffeine newbie until I hit college. That’s when it all started.
Sure, I had sodas every now and then growing up, but I wasn’t really a tea or coffee drinker until I was in the middle of finals, cram sessions and late nights at the library. Suddenly, chai lattes and white chocolate mochas became a regular in my daily routine.
I still remember the first time I ever had a chai latte. I didn’t even know what it was when I ordered it. I had no idea if it was tea or coffee! But as soon as I had the first sip, I was hooked. From that spring break trip in California all the way back to school in Arkansas and home in Virginia, chai tea became one of my favorites, no matter where I was.
On most days, I’m a coffee purist – just a little bit of milk in my coffee, and I’m set. But when I want chai tea, I want it one of two ways. Either steaming hot with lots of milk or iced, kicked up with extra spices, and a couple glugs of milk to make it just a bit creamier.
I’ve done hot chai tea at home lots of times, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to make my own iced chai. And this certainly won’t be the last time. You can buy chai tea that’s ready to brew or you can make your own spiced tea mix, making it as spicy (or non-spicy) as you like!
I like a little extra kick in mine, so I added a bit more cayenne. This is also delicious if you steep some fresh orange peel in with the tea bags, too.
Basically – brew some black tea. Add your favorite spices. Pour into a large glass with ice and add some ice cold low-fat or fat-free milk or lactose-free milk for a spicy way to start (or end!) your day.
Why buy chai tea when you can make your own mix? Add as much (or as little) spice as you like and make it exactly how you like it.
- 4 black tea bags (I like Oolong)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cayenne or black pepper
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup water
- low-fat or fat-free milk or lactose-free milk, for serving
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then pour over the 4 tea bags and let the tea steep for 5 minutes.
- Stir the cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, cayenne (or black pepper) and salt into the tea.
- Pour this mixture into a large container/pitcher and fill with ice. Add water to the tea and refrigerate until chilled.
- To serve, pour tea into a glass with ice, then add milk. Stir and enjoy!
Whether you’re talking about a cold glass of milk, creamy yogurt or flavorful cheese, dairy foods taste great and offer a powerful nutritional punch. But those who are lactose intolerant or showing lactose intolerance symptoms don’t have to miss out on the great taste and health benefits of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.
Different people can handle different amounts of lactose, and there’s a solution to meet most needs in the dairy case – from lactose-free milk to dairy foods that are typically easier to digest. If you’re lactose intolerant, lactose-free milk is a great choice in this spicy iced chai tea –creamy, cold, and delicious, just like it should be.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by NDC – all recipes and opinions are my own, as always.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved this time of year. This end of summer / start of fall / back to school season is one of my favorites, and it always has been.
Maybe because I was (and still am) a little bit of a nerd. Maybe because fall is my favorite season and I’m ready for sweaters and boots and football.
I think what I love most about this time of year is that, more than anything, it always feels like a fresh start. I know most people think of New Years as the time to “start over” and make resolutions, but September has always felt more like a reset button than any other time of year.
It’s a time to reinvent yourself for the coming year, to meet new people, to make new habits.
Maybe your new habits will be studying more – or better – in school this year. Maybe it’ll be to step up at work and get a promotion. Maybe it’s to take better care of yourself. Maybe, like me, it’s a little bit of all of this (except the studying part….I am glad that’s over!).
My goal every year is to cook more at home and to find ways to make our favorite dishes just a little bit healthier, so I couldn’t be more excited about this recipe and this campaign!
Partnership for a Healthier America, All-Clad and a great group of bloggers have gotten together to spread childhood obesity awareness with some great (and healthier!) back to school recipes and fantastic giveaways.
Did you know?
- Approximately 12.5 million U.S. youth are obese and about 11 million more are overweight
- 1 in 3 children and adolescents in this country are overweight or obese
- More than 25% 17-24 year olds in the United States are now too heavy to serve in the military
- Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity in the U.S. has doubled among ages 2-5 and more than tripled among ages 6-11 and 12-19.
- Children with low neighborhood amenities or those lacking neighborhood access to side-walks or walking paths, parks or playgrounds, or recreation or community centers had 20-45% higher odds of becoming obese or overweight compared to children who had access to these amenities
I don’t know about you, but those stats aren’t very encouraging. What happened in the last 30 years that has changed the lives of the children in this country so much?
I don’t think there’s one answer to the problem, but I do know that being more active and eating at home – and healthier dishes – is a great way to start solving the issue. Eating healthy and offering more balanced and tasty options definitely starts with the family.
For more healthy back to school recipes, make sure to check out all of these great options:
And to help spread the word (and give more families the chance to cook more at home and make healthier dishes), we’ve got some great giveaways!
Each of us are giving away this 11″ skillet, and one grand prize winner will get this incredible 7 piece All Clad set to spruce up your kitchen!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders
An update on your usual chicken tenders, this is a healthier option that uses finely ground almonds as the base of the breading. A little sweet from the almonds, a little kick from the spices, and even more flavor than any frozen chicken tender you can buy.
- about 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the eggs on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
- In a separate, shallow bowl or plate, mix the almond meal with the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper.
- Slice the chicken breast pieces into 1-2" wide strips, cutting them evenly as possible. You'll want a total of 12-16 pieces so each person gets 3-4 tenders.
- Place a medium skillet on the stove top and heat 1 Tbsp of oil in the pan.
- Dip each chicken tender into the egg, coating each side and then coat evenly with the almond meal mixture.
- Cook in the skillet 4-5 minutes on each side, letting the almond meal brown. Once the first batch of chicken is done, add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the remaining chicken tenders.
- When the tenders are evenly browned, remove from the pan and place on a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the tenders are cooked through.
This giveaway has been sponsored by Partnership for A Healthier America and All-Clad. I did not receive any compensation for this post.