lately

Lately (the Summer Edition)

Every once in awhile I love writing a "lately" style post that features a whole bunch of random favorites at the current moment. It's fun to read these on other blogs because I always learn a few new things. Make sure to leave me a comment with some of your favorite summer finds!

The Perfect Beach Read

 the rules do not apply

In terms of personal goals for this year, reading more was one of the big ones for me! So far I've read nine books this year and The Rules Do Not Apply is one of my favorites! It's a memoir written by a reporter from The New Yorker and it's raw and heartbreaking, and I could not put it down. Here's the first paragraph of the inside cover that lured me in:

When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. 

I would highly recommend this for a beach read because it's quick (I finished it in two days) and compelling. 

Road Trip Podcast

There are a few new podcasts I have recently added to my rotation but my current favorite is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. First of all, I was totally obsessed with Parenthood and he interviews several people from the cast. Secondly, I just love that he's married to Kristen Bell.

Armchair Expert is essentially a recorded conversation between Dax and one of his friends and it's really funny, lighthearted and genuine - kind of like you are getting a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. Some of my favorite episodes that I would recommend starting with are Kristen Bell, Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Kimmel and Zach Braff (hilarious). If you have a longer road trip coming up, definitely save some of these because the episodes are usually around two hours long. 

 armchair expert podcast with Dax Shephard

Seasonal Eats

I've been feeling really inspired lately with all of the new summer produce, which has been great! Most notable are these chickpea salad radicchio cups that we'll be serving at my Summer Entertaining Made Simple event this Wednesday. P.S. All attendees will get access to the recipes that we showcase. This one is so good!

Two other recipes on my radar that I'm making ASAP: Walnut Chorizo Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Grilled Carrots with Avocado and Mint

 chickpea salad in radicchio cups

Summer Beverages

Besides water I am loving all of these mocktails... and usually an actual cocktail if it's the weekend. My go-to adult beverages of the summer are been Infinite Monkey Theorem canned rosé (the cans are so fun!), Stem Ciders Salted Cucumber (so unique and amazing), and Epic Los Locos Mexican Lager. All of these are local to Colorado so you may or may not be able to find them if you live elsewhere. 

 Infinite Monkey Theorem canned rose

Warm Weather Movement

On the exercise front I'm still loving ClassPass (affiliate link) for the flexibility it offers. Especially in the summer, since I don't like being tied to a membership at one place (I would much rather get outside to walk or run). I am currently on the lowest membership level which equates to about one class per week and it's been perfect! I use it most often to go to my favorite Barre3 studio but love that I can pop in to a new place with friends once in awhile too.

Also worth noting, ClassPass just added wellness services like facials, massage and acupuncture to their schedule in select markets. I tried out my very first facial over the weekend for the same amount of credits as a class (a total steal) and had a fantastic experience at Glow Facial Bar in Cherry Creek. It was super relaxing and my skin was all dewy and glowing afterwards. Definitely a fun treat!

What are you reading, listening to, eating, moving to? 

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3 Recipes, 2 Kitchen Hacks, 1 Cookbook

It's been a minute since I last published a lately post so I thought it would be a good time to change things up. In case you missed it, I declared March recipe month around here (in honor of National Nutrition Month) and put up a new recipe every week to celebrate with some tasty plant-powered eats. I'm really wanting to get more consistent with recipe development and photography so hopefully you found those fun. 

Today is all about the behind-the-scenes of some favorite meals and snacks of late. If anything, I hope this gives you some inspiration or new ideas in the kitchen. Make sure you read all the way to the end and leave me a comment with some of your recent favorites!

BA's Best Buttermilk Pancakes

 buttermilk pancakes with butter

You guys. I have been meaning to try these for ages and I finally remembered that I had extra buttermilk from when we made Irish soda bread on St. Patrick's Day. The Food Director of BA (who is frequently on their podcast) swears by these as the magazine recipe that she makes consistently, and that's coming from a chef. I made them on Saturday and they were fluffy and perfect. I still love Kodiak Cakes for the heartiness and staying power, but these are the perfect once in awhile weekend breakfast. You must make them! Find the recipe here.

Buffalo Chicken Naan Pizzas

 buffalo chicken naan pizza with chickpeas

Here's a kitchen hack for you to try. We had some leftover naan to use up so Jacob had the idea to turn them into pizzas. Conveniently enough, we already had most of the stuff on hand to do the buffalo chicken thing with one small issue - we only had enough chicken for one. To bulk it up, I opened up a can of garbanzo beans and mixed them in with the chicken and sauce. And it was actually really delicious! Also, I need more naan pizza in my life. 

Butternut Squash & Jalapeno Tacos 

 butternut squash tacos from the pretty dish
 butternut squash and black bean taco

I pre-ordered Jessica Merchant's The Pretty Dish cookbook and MAN is it a good one. As a huge fan of the How Sweet Eats blog I'm probably biased and would love anything she does, but there are so many recipes in there that I want to make. This was the first one that really stood out to me when I was flipping through the pages so we had them last week and they turned out so well. Such an interesting flavor combination with the chipotle crema and caramelized squash. We will definitely be making them again. As a bonus, the ingredients made for a legit lunch salad the next day too (I turn pretty much everything into a salad at some point). Tacos are so versatile!

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink

 hibiscus lime wheat chain reaction brewery

Have you ever met a beer with a more interesting name? Whether that's the reason I ended up choosing it is beside the point. One of our neighborhood breweries has really interesting beers and a great patio, so J and I met there for an impromptu happy hour one night after having a gorgeous 70 degree day. This was a hibiscus lime wheat and so perfect for what I was wanting. At first I was hesitant because I always worry that anything with lavender or hibiscus is going to taste like floral perfume but it was awesome. Anyone else notice these floral flavors are super trendy right now in beer and cocktails? 

Morning Glory Breakfast Cookies 

 morning glory breakfast cookies with kodiak cakes mix

I shared this breakfast cookie recipe last week and it seemed to be a hit! I started with Kodiak Cakes pancake/waffle mix and bulked it up for a quick grab and go breakfast with oats, walnuts, raisins and carrots. I love stuff like this to pair with coffee in the morning and it's a bonus if they actually have staying power. Find the recipe here if you missed it.

Quick Pickled Shallots

 quick pickled shallots

Another find from The Pretty Dish - these were for a kale salad that we made on Saturday night. A "quick pickle" basically entails soaking something in a vinegar/sugar/salt solution (I think these only took like half an hour?). I found them to be incredibly simple and now I want to start pickling all the things. Plus could they BE any prettier?

Spring Roll Bowls 

 pinch of yum spring roll bowls 

Lastly, these gorgeous Spring Roll Bowls by Pinch of Yum that are basically loaded with all of the flavors I like best.  I've been super into these really thin brown rice noodles because I find that they don't stick together as much as the larger/flat ones and it's easier to toss them with all of the other add-ins. This recipe had a tip for avoiding the dreaded stickiness - to soak in cold water, then drop into a pot of boiling water for just a minute before draining. That seemed like a lot of work to me but I did it anyway and it worked! OH, and the best part about having made this recipe was that the Pinch of Yum folks shared my photo in their Insta story and it pretty much made my day (#bloggeridol). 

What have you been eating lately? Share in the comments along with your all-time favorite cookbook (as if I need any more). Have a great week!

6 Current Food Favorites that You Should Try ASAP

sumo-citrus.JPG

citrus of all types // It seems like this is prime time for all of the best citrus - the flavor is just amazing! I've been buying Cara Cara oranges, Sumo mandarins, ruby red grapefruit, blood oranges, and of course cuties (because they are so easy to grab and peel and make for the best mid-afternoon snack). If peeling citrus is a barrier for you to eating it, I would recommend slicing with a knife versus peeling if you have the option. I personally hate getting all of that white pith under my finger nails and being left with sticky hands so this method works a lot better. 

kale caesar kits // This a new find at Whole Foods that makes the perfect quick dinner side dish. I'll preface this by saying that I'm kind of caesar salad obsessed. I always order one when I go to an Italian or pizza restaurant and have attempted to make my own dressing at home, although it's not easy! To me, a kale caesar is like the perfect happy medium between nutritious and satisfying. This kit makes it super simple to make at home. Top it with some protein for a quick lunch!

fresh ginger in smoothies // I made this green smoothie a couple of times when I was fighting a nasty cold a couple of weeks ago. It has fresh ginger which gives it such a wonderful bite! I already buy ginger for dinner recipes often so now I try to buy extra so I can add it to at least one smoothie throughout the week too. I've tried it in different combinations since and it always adds so much depth. I would highly recommend! 

pumpkin Kodiak Cakes // I just recently got set-up with Kodiak Cakes to be a brand ambassador since I love their products so much (shocking right?). They sent me a fun welcome package including a pumpkin pancake mix that I hadn't ever tried. It is so delicious! I'm not sure you can find it in stores all year around or if it's seasonal, but if you can get your hands on some, definitely go for it. I'm thinking about developing some recipes with it so hopefully more to come on this!

savory oats // Lately I've been all about savory oats in the morning. I cook the oats with milk like usual, but then instead of topping it with fruit and nut butter I use avocado, TJ's Everything But the Bagel seasoning, Sriracha and nutritional yeast. I also love topping it with a runny fried egg, shredded cheese, and sautéed greens & mushrooms. This a great way to mix up your normal breakfast routine!

Health-Ade kombucha // I love kombucha for an alternative to alcohol when I want something fun to sip and I recently read an article that recommended this brand. It's pricey, so I put it off for awhile but when I saw it on sale I picked some up. The flavor is unreal! I tried the Lemon Ginger and it's super spicy with just a hint of sweetness. I just picked up a Pomegranate one to try next, but they also have other fun flavors like Pink Lady Apple and a Cayenne one. 

Lately posts are a round-up of food finds that I'm currently loving! What is something you've recently discovered and would recommend?