Dill Chicken Salad

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I’m all for recipes that sustain my family throughout the week or quick grab and go options made in advance. Chicken salad is definitely one of those recipes – and this one is an adaptation given to me from a co-worker. It’s incredibly simple and packed with so much flavor. The dressing is a combination of real mayo, sour cream and couple tablespoons of room temp butter which provides it a richness without being heavy. The carrots and onions are roasted with the chicken, giving it incredible flavor and depth – but the celery, green onions and cashews provide the crunch.

Fresh herbs are one of my go to staples to change up every day dishes flavor-wise and dill is one of my favorite options. Use your favorite herb in lieu of the dill if you don’t prefer the flavor – the first time I made this recipe I used chives and it turned out just as delicious. The joy of cooking is the personalization you bring to the dish. Use recipes as your diving board – but make the art of the dive your own.

I love using mason jars to store this salad in the fridge. That way when early morning rush hour occurs in our home during the week, I can grab one to go on my way out the door to work. I hope you enjoy this recipe – thanks for stopping by!

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Ingredients:

  • 4-5  boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced cashews
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 5 stalks of celery sticks, diced
  • 3 tbsp. fresh dill
  • 1 cup real mayo (I used Hampton Creek’s Vegan Mayo )
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp room temp organic butter
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • garlic salt + pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan and season with garlic salt + pepper. Add the diced onions and carrots atop the chicken, cover pan with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together the mayo, sour cream, butter, dill and lemon juice – stir until combined. Add the diced green onions, cashews and celery.
  4. Shred the chicken on the pan with two forks (the chicken will absorb back some of the juices from the cooking process, which is so much goodness.)
  5. Add the shredded chicken and cooked carrots/onions into the bowl with the dressing. Stir until combined and season if necessary.
  6. Chill. Devour. Enjoy!

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Spicy Maple Glazed Rumaki

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I love how social media connects people. It’s a gathering space where people from all different walks of life can connect and share; come together. This is very much akin to my philosophy on meeting at the dinner table – we gather not only to feed our bodies, but also our minds, relationships and foster emotional connections that nurture our emotional well being.

Social media is my cyber dinner table. I’ve met some incredibly talented, kind and interesting individuals that have both challenged and inspired me – both related and unrelated to food.

I love collaborating, and when Nicole over at Uniquely Women asked to do so, I enthusiastically embraced the opportunity. Head over to her site and check her out, you won’t be disappointed!

While you’re there, check out the recipe I created for this Spicy Maple Glazed Rumaki. It’s a great little unique and quirky appetizer. You can find the recipe link below. Cheers, friends – and continue the gatherings that feed both your bodies and souls.

Spicy Maple Glazed Rumaki

-Julia

Cheesy Skillet Onion + Bacon Dip

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As back to school creeps closer and pre-season football games are in full swing, I find the comforts of heavier appetizers to munch in lieu of dinner more appealing. This one will become a new staple on weekends and holiday gatherings in our kitchen. It’s creamy and loaded with flavor from a variety of cheeses, onions and bacon.

BACON. I could just stop writing here, because let’s be honest…bacon is a love language in and of itself. Unless you’re a vegetarian, I suppose. In which case – remove the bacon from the recipe. I promise, it will still be great.

This recipe is really simple and packed with some of my family’s favorite things. One of which was a semi recent discovery of a shallot + chive flavored Boursin cheese. Caramelized onions and bacon round out the flavors perfectly, and the options for dippers are endless. I used toasted baguettes, gluten free crackers, carrots and sugar snap peas. Slice some chicken breast on the side, or top this on a cooked meat of choice to make dinner more exciting.

However you eat it, invite over some friends or huddle over the skillet with your loved ones. The food comes first, the memories that follow are the blessings. Thanks for stopping by & enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in half then thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 bunch green onions diced (reserving some for garnish)
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked + diced (I used some leftover from brunch the day prior. Use the whole pound if you choose!)
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1.5 cups Italian blend shredded cheese
  • 2 – 5oz. packages of Shallot + Chive Boursin cheese
  • 1 cup organic Mayonnaise (I used the Hampton Creek Just Mayo brand)
  • 3 tbsp. EVOO

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Method:

  1. Cook the bacon and let cool. Then heat oven to 350.
  2. Pour the EVOO in the a 10″ skillet + use a rubber brush to evenly distribute across the base and sides of the skillet. I love my Lodge Cast Iron and it’s available at Target!
  3. Sauté both the sliced yellow and green onions over medium low heat until caramelized, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Once caramelized, add all cheeses and mayo to the skillet and stir until combined.
  5. Bake the dip 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  6. While dip is cooking, dice the bacon into small pieces.
  7. Remove the skillet dip from the oven + top with the bacon pieces + remaining green onions. Serve with your favorite dipping items + enjoy!

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Simple Strawberry Ice Cream

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Summertime brings me fond memories of summers spent with my grandma, climbing the giant tree in her front yard and baking sweets in her kitchen. Warm evenings at her house were magical. While the sun was setting and the day drew to a close, we’d sit on her front porch swing eating ice cream that dripped down our hands while chatting away about anything and everything.

These are the memories I cherish and want to make with my little girls today. Life is a blur most days. I seek so strongly to capture moments, slow down our lives, walk away from technology and just listen to the world from their point of view. In all honesty, this is chaotic and often filled with a combination of tender moments interjected with whining or fighting – but all too soon our girls will become young women and our conversations will change.

Part of my love for food is that it draws people together. We engage with one another over meals someone has lovingly prepared – be it prepackaged or homemade.

I will remember making this ice cream with my oldest for the rest of my life. On a muggy summer day while our youngest napped, I was begged to make strawberry ice cream. Her version, be it sweet and well-intended was mushed strawberries mixed with water, then frozen. Instead, we made this version which couldn’t be simpler. Pure ingredients + an eager five-year-old made the best combo, and I loved watching my family enjoying the spoils of her hard work that evening. It brought me back to my childhood nights at grandma’s. May it do the same for you.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 1 cup organic half + half
  • ¾ pint of organic strawberries, lightly pureed
  • 1/3 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Wash + hull the strawberries, then pulse them a few times in your food processor. The main point for us was to remove any large chunks to ensure the little ones didn’t chomp into a sizeable frozen strawberry. The benefit also was a beautiful coloring to the ice cream.
  2. Combine all ingredients into a large mixing cup or bowl + stir.
  3. Add the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Transfer to the freezer to harden slightly + enjoy!

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Bizzy Espresso Granitas

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Little known fact about me (that isn’t necessarily going to win me popularity votes…) – I really don’t care for ice cream. There. I said it. Any time I admit it out loud, I get a look suggesting I ought to be confined to an island far, far away. That idea is sort of appealing to me, though – so I’m okay admitting it aloud.  I know I am part of the minority, but the ice cream truck didn’t invoke the same sort of emotion in me as a child that it does for 98% of the population.

Enter the granita. By definition, a granita is is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. This version is kind of ice cream’s cousin because the two main components are whole milk and Bizzy cold brew coffee. I mean – it’s basically a cold brew coffee in a frozen form. Lightly + naturally sweetened and velvety smooth, this dessert makes me insanely happy.

If you’re invited to a dinner party, bring this to the table for dessert. It’s the definition of simple and a great way to cap off the night amongst friends. 5 ingredients + the bold, smooth flavor of the Bizzy coffee really shines in this dish.

This may be my new morning routine. Then again, I’m a sucker for cold brew.
Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups organic whole milk (don’t go less fat, friends. Use the whole milk.)
  • 1 cup Bizzy cold brew concentrate
  • 1/2 cup Wholesome Sweet organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate covered espresso beans

Method:

  1. Combine the whole milk, Bizzy cold brew + cane sugar in a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop, whisking constantly for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Refrigerate the liquid 12-24 hours.
  4. Pour the mixture and roughly chopped chocolate espresso beans into an ice cream maker and follow the directions per the manufacturer manual. I used a Cuisinart and let churn 20 minutes to thicken.
  5. Transfer the churned granita mixture to the freezer to harden another 12 hours. Serve + enjoy.

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Dark Mocha Donuts {Gluten Free}

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Their’s is a classic pairing, donuts + coffee; it’s only natural they joined to form a union, really. Adding chocolate to that union creates a trifecta made for mornings. I threw in sprinkles for good measure, and because my little ones love them. Who am I trying to kid? I love sprinkles just as much as every child alive.

These donuts are decadently rich, soft and airy as a cloud with just the right hint of coffee. Bizzy’s organic cold brew boasts a super smooth flavor profile and is the perfect addition to the recipe. I didn’t dilute the concentrate in the recipe, simply used it straight from the bottle.

Kid friendly, neighbor approved — I’m adding these lovelies to the routine for weekends, or just any time I need a chocolate + coffee union made in heaven. And no one will be the wiser that they are gluten free! Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

Recipe yields 12 donuts.

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Ingredients:

For the donuts:

  • 1 cup Almond Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (same brand)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar (I used Wholesome Sweet)
  • 3/4 tsp xantham Gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup Bizzy’s cold brew concentrate
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 organic eggs, room temperature + beaten
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

For the glaze:

  • 1.5 cup powdered sugar (I used Wholesome Sweet)
  • 3/4 cup Bizzy’s cold brew concentrate
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • Sprinkles should you be so inclined

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and whisk until just incorporated. Do not overmix; the batter will be thick.
  4. Spray your donut pan (I used Nordic Ware) lightly with cooking spray + spoon the batter into each well, about 3/4 to the top.
  5. Bake 8-9 minutes. Remove + let cool 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Mix the glaze and top while the donuts are still warm. Add sprinkles. Enjoy!

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Mocha Mint BIZZY Martini

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If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ll know two small fun facts:

1) Iced coffee is my jam. I drink it year round, even in the dead of winter in the state of Minnesota. My husband and I share many moments over iced coffee every morning in the midst of syrup laden toddlers and diaper changes before heading to work. Speed dating for parents – it works!

2)  Quality of ingredients is my number one focal point (as often as possible) in the kitchen. Flavor shouldn’t be compromised, but I’m of the belief that real ingredients belong in the kitchen and play a huge role in our mental and physical well-being.

One day last week, BIZZY coffee sampled their cold brew concentrate in my office space and naturally, I was inclined to sample the goods. I heard the words cold brew, followed by organic and it was a Jerry McGuire moment in the making; they had me at hello. They sent me some samples and asked if I’d like to collaborate. A partnership built to last!

The cold brew is incredibly smooth and all things I look for in an iced coffee, but I was also pleasantly surprised with the amount of thought that went into creating the product. Their goal is simple and admirable, resonating with the very same principals I follow in the kitchen: to produce the healthiest and most convenient products on the market.”  I completely agree that flavor and convenience shouldn’t forgo health. Do yourself a favor and head to their site, order a box of liquid gold + enjoy.

This recipe is the first of a few I have made using BIZZY coffee –  and it’s the first for good reason. The smooth flavors and zip of the caffeine in the concentrate are perfect for a modified version of an espresso martini. This recipe is two in one; keep it classic (without the Chocolate Mint Bailey’s) or follow the recipe in it’s entirety for the mint mocha version.

Take this recipe to another level and add a scoop of ice cream. Cold brew affogato with a boozy BIZZY addition is delicious.

Recipe yields 2 martinis.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. of your favorite vodka (I used Ciroc, which is a celiac friendly choice)
  • 4 oz. BIZZY’s coffee concentrate
  • 1.5 oz. Chocolate Mint Bailey’s
  • Mint leaves to garnish

Method:

  1. Fill two martini glasses with ice and sparkling water to chill the glass while mixing the ingredients.
  2. Fill a shaker with ice and pour the measured ingredients into the shaker. Shake well for 30 seconds. Note: If you are seeking a classic espresso martini, omit the Bailey’s from the recipe. 
  3. Empty the ice and sparkling water from the martini glasses and dispense the shaken ingredients between the two glasses.

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Peach Vodka Mojito

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There is something both calming + invigorating about a warm summer night on the porch with friends or family. Good conversation, a gentle breeze & a cocktail in hand, those are the moments I allow myself to just be. Hundreds of singers have lyrically spoken about these very same sentiments, so I know I’m not alone; chances are you enjoy the simplicity of this scenario as well.

If so, this cocktail is for you to enjoy in similar fashion.

I’m not overly excited about sugary libations and typically alter recipes I find where I can enjoy the natural flavors. This recipe is just that. Lightly sweetened by the pureed peaches, and all things lime + minty fresh, as a good mojito should be. You can certainly add more peaches, or even a peach simple syrup if you require a bit more sweetness. Either way, sip with those of whose company you enjoy most!

Recipe yields 2 cocktails. Note: in lieu of the usual muddling, this recipe purees the ingredients. Muddle if you prefer a more chunky consistency. Cheers!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe peaches, pits removed
  • the juice of 1 medium size lime, plus wedges for garnish
  • 8 large mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Lime sparkling water (I used H2Oh!)
  • 5 oz. your favorite vodka
  • 2 collins glasses

Method:

  1. Remove both pits from the peaches + cut into slices. In a blender, combine the peaches, lime juice, 8 mint leaves and vodka and puree until smooth.
  2. Fill the 2 glasses halfway with ice cubes + divide the mixture between the two glasses.
  3. Pour the lime sparkling water to fill each glass, garnish with a lime & peach wedge and a few mint leaves. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower + Dill Spaghetti

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Week night meals can vary from a well planned, calm menu to a frenzied episode of Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ in our home. If you work, have children, volunteer, travel often or any combination of the above, you get where I’m coming from in terms of this scenario.

Not all are successful, and ironically the biggest hits are usually the frantic sort where careful planning hasn’t occurred. Perhaps it’s not all that ironic, as in my opinion good food speaks for itself. Fresh ingredients prepared in simple ways have always spoken love to me, so it’s no surprise that this specific frenzied dish resonated with both my family & a number of others who requested the recipe.

Throw it together for a meatless Monday option or on a night you’re short of time or energy. Pair it with a glass of sauvignon blanc to fully allow yourself to decompress from the long day, but most importantly – share it with someone you love. Cheers, friends – from my kitchen to yours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, removed from the stalk + cut into florets
  • 5 tbsp. EVOO, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped + divided
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb thin spaghetti
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I love Trader Joe’s organic brand for full flavor)
  • 1/2 yellow onion sliced + sautéed
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Garlic salt + pepper to season

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper + arrange the cauliflower florets + garlic cloves evenly across the pan. Drizzle lightly with 2 tbsp. EVOO, garlic salt, pepper, red pepper flakes + 2 tbsp. fresh dill. Bake approximately 30 minutes until golden brown and soft enough to pierce with a fork without resistance.
  2. Cook the pasta to al dente. While the pasta cooks, halve the cherry tomatoes + slice the onion into quarter inch half moon slices.
  3. Place remaining 3 tbsp. of EVOO in a large pan or skillet on medium heat and cook the onions until translucent. Add the cherry tomatoes + stock to the pan, followed by the cooked pasta and roasted cauliflower. Sauté 30 seconds to combine then add the fresh dill + Parmesan cheese. Season with garlic salt + pepper per your liking.
  4. Remove from heat and toss all the ingredients together. Add more fresh dill for garnish + serve.

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Strawberry Cupcakes

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Minnesota springs have the tendency to reflect Jeckyl + Hyde personality traits. One day brings sunshine & temps in the mid 60’s, the next a foot of snow. It’s recipes like this one that remind me of those mid 60, sunshine-filled days and keeps the mentality of spring alive and well.

Berries are one of my favorite food group, and the change in seasons is definitely reflected by the recent bounty. I love the brightness of ripe strawberries in almost any dish, be it paired with cheese, salads, desserts or drinks alike.

Often times I find recipes for strawberry cake laden with items I typically aim to avoid (like jello or food coloring.) As often is the case in such situations, I aim to recreate a recipe using pure ingredients that showcase the natural flavors; in this case — strawberries. I’m not certain why strawberry cakes need to be an insane shade of dark red to denote strawberry cake, but these are perfectly shaded pink cakes, without all the overly sugary flavors.

Real ingredients like butter from grass fed cows, a pound of strawberries and pure cane sugar make these delightfully sweet, perfectly moist and a welcomed completion to any party. Frost with your favorite recipe, I used my go-to vanilla buttercream. A fresh whip cream would be lovely and lighter on the sugar front. Enjoy + happy baking!

Yields 18 muffins

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Directions:

For the cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup room temp organic butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups pure cane sugar (I used Wholesome Sweet brand)
  • 1.5 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 room temp organic eggs
  • 2.5 cups unbleached AP flour 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled + puréed, plus more for garnish (optional)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup room temp organic butter
  • 2 lb confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup whole milk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line cupcake pan with paper liners + set aside.
  2. In kitchen aid mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter, canola oil +  sugar, 2 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and baking powder until incorporated. Do not overmix.
  4. Purée the hulled strawberries and fold into the cake batter with a spatula. Using an ice cream scoop, transfer the batter to each muffin liner and bake 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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To make the frosting:

  1. Using your kitchen aid mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract + 1/4 cup whole milk on medium speed for 5 minutes. If the frosting is too thick, gradually add more milk one tablespoon at a time until your desired consistency is reached.
  2. Frost each cupcake + garnish with a sliced strawberry. Enjoy!
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