Cooking with Coffee and Big Island giveaway!

It’s here, it’s here!!

cooking with coffee cookbook

I can’t believe it’s finally here – in print – and being delivered to my friends and family and all of you!

To help celebrate the cookbook, I’m partnering up with Barn2Door, to host a giveaway for a copy of the cookbook and a 3 month coffee subscription to Big Island Coffee Roasters. You don’t want to miss this!

big island coffee roasters

Have you heard of Barn2Door? It is the coolest thing. Barn2Door is a marketplace where you can buy sustainably grown meat, fish, fruits, vegetables & items like raw honey and real maple syrup directly from producers and growers. Farmers, fishers, ranchers and gardeners have their own store – like Etsy for farms –  where they showcase the food they have for sale, and manage direct communications, sales and fulfillment (local delivery, national shipping or both!). It’s a virtual farmer’s market, and I love it!

And one of the shops is Big Island Coffee Roasters, aka one of our new favorite things. Founded in 2010, Big Island Coffee Roaster was voted “Hawaii’s Favorite Artisan Beverage” in 2015 and won the 2013 Hawai’i Coffee Association’s statewide cupping competition. They are incredibly passionate about the craft of coffee, and make sure to focus on each step of the process.

They roast each shipment to order and send directly from their farm to your doorstep. Roasted coffee to order is like having your own coffee butler. And you can tell in the quality and flavor that they take great coffee seriously.

big island roasters

I think my favorite (so far) is this Maui Mokka – a medium roast with a toasty, caramelly flavor. It’s the perfect brew for fall and winter! And you can’t really go wrong with “layered chocolate, brown sugar, graham cracker” as the tasting notes on the bag.

pour over

Like most of our coffee, we’ve made these either in the french press or pour over, and after weeks of trying them, I think the pour over won! It made the perfect cup. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning to have another.

Want a chance to win your own 3 month coffee subscription and a copy of the cookbook? Enter here!

AND, just for you guys — Barn2Door created a special promo code just for you! Use BRANAPPETIT15 when checking out for $15 off a $50 purchase – good from now through November 7.

And make sure to sign up for the Barn2Door newsletter so you don’t miss out on news, updates, promotions, new farmers, and seasonal food.

For more info, follow Barn2Door and Big Island Coffee Roasters:


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October is Healthy Pasta Month – did you know this?

It’s my favorite month and a reason to celebrate healthy pasta dishes? Count me in. I am so ready for sweaters and boots and changing leaves and hearty, healthy meals on brisk nights.

So I’ve got a great pasta dish to share!

za'atar and chutney grilled chicken with zucchini and lemon pasta salad

I’m so happy to be a part of Healthy Pasta Month for Dreamfields Pasta, along with a bunch of great bloggers.

I’ve been working with Dreamfields for several years now, and since our first box, they’ve been our favorite. A great nutritional choice and such a good texture – it’s a no brainer.

And even though fall is coming in fast, you can still find zucchini here at the farmers market, so I thought this would be the perfect dish to ease our way out of summer and into the best season of the year.

za'atar and chutney grilled chicken with zucchini and lemon pasta salad

This grilled chicken and zucchini is spiced up with peach chutney and za’atar seasoning – a perfect mix of sweet and spicy. The za’atar is so well balanced and it pairs so perfectly with the chutney. This might be my new favorite combo! It would be delicious on pork, too.

After grilling the chicken and zucchini, serve it up on some Dreamfields rotini tossed with chickpeas and some fresh lemon zest, and you’re set!

za'atar and chutney grilled chicken with zucchini and lemon pasta salad

Za'atar and Chutney Grilled Chicken and Zucchini with Lemon Pasta Salad

30 minute meals make for even happier weeknights. There's no need to slave over the stove for hours each night for a good meal. Pasta is the answer! And making healthy pasta dishes is easier than you think. This mix uses spices and a great marinade to pack a punch in minimal time.


  • 6 ounces Dreamfields Rotini
  • 2 tablespoons peach chutney
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise in half
  • 1 can (about 15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Place pasta in large bowl; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine chutney, 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, za'atar, garlic, salt and pepper. Add half of lemon zest; stir to mix well. Place chicken and zucchini on separate plates. Drizzle with za’atar mixture coating well.
  3. Heat skillet over medium heat or grill on low-medium heat. Cook zucchini 3 to 5 minutes, turning once. Cook chicken 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, or until the juices run clear and chicken is completely cooked.
  4. Add remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, remaining lemon zest, lemon juice and chickpeas to pasta; toss to combine well.
  5. Cut zucchini and chicken into bite-size pieces; toss with pasta mixture.

Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 400 calories; 35 g protein; 51 g carbohydrates; 9 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 70 mg cholesterol; 810 mg sodium; 9 g total dietary fiber.

To spread the #HealthyPastaMonth love even more, I’ve got a sweet prize pack up for grabs! Courtesy of Dreamfields, one winner will get a family pack of their incredible pasta plus a $25 gift card to spend as you choose!

All you need to do to win is share a link to my post on Facebook or Twitter, and include the hashtag #HealthyPastaMonth. Then, return here and leave me a comment letting me know you did…and voila, you’re entered!

Want more healthy pasta recipes? It’s your lucky day! All month long, Dreamfields is featuring a different blogger every day and sharing their pasta recipes.  To make sure you don’t miss out, follow their tweets, posts, pins, pictures and videos for delicious recipes and helpful information.

I am part of the Dreamfields DreamTeam; this post was made possible by the Dreamfields team. As always, all opinions and recipes are my own – thank you for supporting brands that support us! Giveaway courtesy of and provided by Dreamfields. One Random Winner will be notified by email provided. US addresses only, ages 18 and up. Contest ends October 21, 2015.

stovetop tex-mex pasta

Are your weeks as crazy as ours? I feel like I can’t quite catch my breath some days.

Like tonight, for example. We don’t get home from work until between 6:15-6:30 most days, thanks to student traffic in town. Baby boy eats as soon as we get home, and we feed the dog and cats. Then we start working on our dinner and toss in a load of diapers or our laundry. Fill water bottles and pack lunches. Put baby boy in pjs and get him into bed (even though I just want to snuggle him all night long). Pay bills, write blog posts, or anything else on the computer.

Eat….at some point?

Our schedule has definitely changed – and it was for the BEST reason ever – but I’m still getting used to this new shift in our days, especially with work thrown back in the mix after being home for a while with the little guy.

stovetop tex-mex pasta

So a stovetop pasta made in 30 minutes? That’s something I need in my life.

And I don’t know about you, but pasta tends to get thrown into the same recipes, over and over again. I wanted to come up with a new mix for this fall – something perfect for football season – and I think we have a winner!

stovetop tex-mex pasta

I know I’ve said this before, but Dreamfields is now the only pasta we keep in the house. The texture is perfect, every time, and it’s got more fiber and protein than your typical pasta, giving each dish you make a little boost! And for busy weeks, it’s always nice to know that even quick meals can be healthy.

This is kind of like chili meets pasta. Or like your favorite taco filling tossed together with perfectly cooked pasta, and topped with your favorite toppings. And who doesn’t like tex-mex flavors?

On second thought, don’t tell me if you don’t. I don’t know if I could handle it. We live for scallions and cilantro in this house – you can never have enough!

stovetop tex-mex pasta

Stovetop Tex-Mex Pasta

Quick and easy stovetop pastas are one of my favorite things to make. The possibilities are endless! This version has great flavor from the mix of spices cooked into the meat and sauce, and then it's pumped up with some beans, Dreamfields rotini, and all your favorite tex-mex toppings.


  • 3 cups Dreamfields Rotini
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 to 15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (about 15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (see note)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions, divided
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add ground beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally and breaking beef into crumbles.

3. Add salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper and tomato paste to skillet. Cook 2 minutes or until spices are fragrant, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in tomatoes, water, beans and 1/4 cup of the green onions. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

5. Add pasta to beef mixture; toss to combine well. Divide mixture among serving dishes. Top each with remaining green onions, avocado, Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Note: Black, pinto or kidney beans can be substituted.

Nutrition information (1/6 of recipe): 430 calories; 28 g protein; 49 g carbohydrates; 16 g total fat; 6 g saturated fat; 60 mg cholesterol; 760 mg sodium; 12 g total dietary fiber.

I am part of the Dreamfields DreamTeam; this post was made possible by the Dreamfields team. As always, all opinions and recipes are my own – thank you for supporting brands that support us!

pizza hummus english muffin pizzas


You guys know we love pizza. I’m a sucker for a good homemade crust, and nothing beats a perfectly browned, cheesy pizza straight out of the oven.

pizza hummus english muffin pizzas

But sometimes, you want pizza just a little bit quicker. A 10 minute lunch or dinner. Easy to prep, easy to make, easy to eat.

Enter the english muffin (or even french bread) pizzas! The base is ready for you, just waiting for your favorite toppings.

And if quick, easy make-your-own pizzas aren’t good enough, enter Sabra, our all time favorite hummus makers.

They now have pizza flavored hummus. PIZZA flavored hummus. I know – why did no one think of this before?! This creamy mix has all the right spices to use as a base for your english muffin pizza.

pizza hummus english muffin pizzas

Now that I’m back at work, having quick + easy + healthy meals is even MORE important – not only our schedules, but also for my sanity. I need to know that we have some fast options in the fridge, just in case plans change or the leftovers I counted on don’t happen.

Nick and I made these mini pizzas last weekend for lunch after church, and I cannot wait to make them again! The topping options are endless! I’m pretty sure my next one will include more olives + feta + fresh garden tomatoes.

pizza hummus english muffin pizzas

The best part about these? It’s like pizza squared! Cheesy melty pizza on an english muffin, with a creamy base of pizza-flavored hummus. These are a great way to get hummus-lovers to try it out in a new way, too.

pizza hummus english muffin pizzas

Make sure to check your local stores for Sabra’s new Pizza Hummus, or any of their other new flavors!

pizza hummus english muffin pizzas

Looking for a new weeknight dinner or easy weekend lunch? Have picky eaters at home? English muffin pizzas are the way to go. Switch up your normal toppings with Sabra's new pizza-flavored hummus - more flavor, more veggies, more pizzazz!


  • 2 english muffins, split
  • 2 containers Sabra pizza flavored hummus
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 8 slices pepperoni
  • 3 green olives, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Divide the hummus between the english muffin halves.
  3. Top each with a slice of cheese, pepperoni, olives (optional) and oregano.
  4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted/beginning to brown. Serve immediately.

This post was created in partnership with Sabra – I am a Sabra Tastemaker and proud of it! We love their products and the company. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!