Blogging Break

Hi friends, I'm popping in to say hi before I take a bit of a blogging break. 

At the moment, I need to do a little more internal work--self reflection, job applications, inspirational reading--and a little less external work--writing blogs, browsing blogs, jealously scrolling through social media.  (I'll also be taking a break from instagram and facebook.)

I'm not sure how long the blogging break will last. Knowing my love of cooking and sharing recipes, probably not long. Pretty soon I'll be tempted by butternut squash and chili and pumpkin and all the goodness of fall food. 

So, I'll be back. As always, thanks for reading along. :)

The tacos above are from the amazing White Duck Taco in Asheville. 


Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Snickerdoodles

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you may have noticed a pattern to my posts in mid-August, which usually feature nerves about the school year starting or dreading the busyness to come.

My feelings are much the same this year.

However, I'm working really hard to focus on some Oprah wisdom: "The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change her future by merely changing her attitude."

I'm also trying to follow my own tips for getting out of a funk/maintaining a positive attitude.

Finally, I'm giving myself some grace when I fail, or when things don't work out like I want, and I'm making cookies. Sometimes that helps, you know?

These cookies came about sort of by accident.

I made them for the first time when I was in D.C. this summer.  I didn't have my car in the city, so I always had to walk several blocks with my groceries.  One day, I needed flour for a recipe but didn't want to buy a big heavy bag of regular flour, so I bought a small bag of coconut flour instead.  A week or so later, I had a very intense weeknight cookie craving. I started researching coconut flour chocolate chip cookies and stumbled upon this recipe.

I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand, but the cookies still turned out really well.  I also realized that the flavor and texture would be perfect for coconut flour snickerdoodles.

And I was right!  These cookies have a soft chewy texture that is just meant to be covered in cinnamon sugar.

They're gluten free and naturally sweetened if you use coconut sugar.  What are you waiting for?

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Snickerdoodles

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 regular eggs (see notes below if using large or jumbo eggs)
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons sugar (regular, coconut sugar, or any other kind you like)
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper or spraying with non-stick spray.

Whisk together the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and eggs.  Add coconut flour and stir to combine. Set aside for a moment.*

In a shallow bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar.  Form dough into tablespoon sized balls and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Flatten cookies with your hands and place on cookie sheet. (The cookies will not spread out much when they bake, so you'll want to form them into their desired size now.)

Bake cookies at 350 for 12-14 minutes.  For best results, let cookies cool completely before eating.

*The first time I made these cookies, I used regular eggs, and the cookie dough texture was perfect. The second time I made them, I used large eggs, and the dough was a little too runny. I added an extra tablespoon of coconut flour to firm up the dough. You may need to experiment based on what kind of eggs you have. The dough to be firm enough to be able to shape into round balls to roll in the cinnamon/sugar.

Adapted from Detoxinista.


B.A.L.T. Panzanella Salad

One of my very favorite meals EVER, in the history of the world, is a bacon, avocado, tomato sandwich with garlic mayo and balsamic reduction on crusty, thick-sliced country bread

This salad, however, is a close second.  It takes most of those ingredients (minus the mayo) and puts them in salad form. Homemade toasted bread croutons, sliced garden cherry tomatoes, chopped crispy bacon, and creamy avocado, all topped with ultra thick and flavorful balsamic reduction. This is summer lunch at its finest. 

When I was two years old, we lived in a small house in Richmond, Virginia, and we had a cherry tomato plant in our backyard. I LOVED those cherry tomatoes and would grab as many as my chubby little fingers could reach.  

My taste for tomatoes hasn't changed much since then. 

Earlier in the week I bragged about all the amazing food I ate this summer in D.C.

I've been home in N.C. for almost a week now, and I have to say that the food here is just as good. I didn't realize how much I missed it--cooking at home that is.

Since I've been home, I've made a Mexican quinoa casserole with fresh corn, red and yellow peppers, and jalapeƱos, and orange blossom brioche french toast. I've eaten peaches and blueberries with yogurt,  big summer salads with tomatoes, freshly picked garlicky green beans, and Maple View ice cream

It's all been so fresh and so delicious, and I don't want it to end. 

I think that's one of the things I love most about summer--how accessible and delicious the food is. Whether its picking tomatoes and mint from my garden or buying okra and peaches at the farmer's market, there's an abundance of fresh, good food that just doesn't exist for most of us in the colder months of the year.

My goal is to enjoy as much of it as I can in the next few weeks, starting with this B.A.L.T panzanella salad…….

B.A.L.T. Panzanella Salad

3-4 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
half an avocado, cubed
half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 slices thick country bread, toasted and cut into cubes
2 cups each arugula and spinach, or salad greens of your choice. 
balsamic reduction (recipe here)

Toss together the bacon, avocado, tomatoes, bread cubes, and arugula and spinach. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Dig in!

*This recipe serves two, but can be easily doubled.


What to eat in D.C.

Hey, D.C.! You were pretty great. 

I'll miss your restaurants and your rooftops, but most of all I'll miss your people.  Specifically, my awesome roommates, my super smart inspiring co-workers, and the dear friends and family that call you home. 

I had mixed feelings about being away from N.C., but it turned out to be a total blessing on lots of different levels. 

And the FOOD. The food was a highlight, for sure.  Though I was living on a budget, I was still able to try a lot of phenomenal food. Overall, the culinary highlights of the summer were the palak chat and chicken tiki masala from Rasika, the Elvis Impersonator cupcake from Baked & Wired, and the caramelized banana pancakes from TICO.  

Here are some more of my favorites. Please share any other D.C. spots that you love!


Teasim--cute tea and lunch spot
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter, Dupont, Layfayette Park, Old Town
What to try: Moroccan mint iced tea, sea salt chocolate oat cookies, fried chicken or salmon bento box

& Pizza--delicious make-your-own-pizza, Chipotle style. The ingredients are quality too--They make their own mozzarella!
Neighborhood: Multiple Locations--usually by metro stations
What to try: Everything. I like broccoli, spinach & feta pizza with sun-dried tomatoes

Daikaya--Delicious, authentic ramen
Neighborhood: Chinatown
What to try: Shio Ramen with extra veggies

Chop't--chopped salads, made to order in front of you
Neighborhood: Multiple locations
What to try: Santa Fe, Kale Cesar

Sweet Green--fresh, seasonal salads with fun ingredients like spicy broccoli
Neighborhood: U Street, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom
What to try: Harvest Salad with sweet potatoes, wild rice, apples, kale, goat cheese, and almonds (my favorite!) Also the watermelon, feta, and arugula salad with spicy sunflower seeds.

Taylor Gourmet--great sandwiches and salads (apparently one of Obama's favorite D.C. spots!)
Neighborhood: Multiple Locations
What to try: Diamond salad, polenta fries, any of the sandwiches


Paul--cute French coffee spot
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter
What to try: coffee or latte, macaroons, almond croissants

Zombie Donuts--fantastic, warm, made-to-order donuts. I'm not even really a donut person, but I am obsessed with these!
Neighborhood: Columbia Heights
What to try: everything

Baked & Wired--well-known cupcake and coffee shop. Totally lives up to the hype!
Neighborhood: Georgetown
What to try: German chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, Elvis Impersonator (banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting)


Tabard Inn--traditional brunch restaurant in a historic inn
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle
What to try: the homemade donuts! Also the eggs benedict

TICO-upbeat & elegant Latin inspired food
Neighborhood: U Street
What to try: caramelized banana pancakes with crunchy hazelnuts & orange zest (TO DIE FOR!!!), breakfast burrito

Bus Boys and Poets--super fun brunch & literary spot
Neighborhood: Multiple Locations
What to try: sweet potato pancakes, omelette

Le Diplomate-upscale french bistro
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle
What to try: omelette, french toast


Oyamel--elegant, creative Mexican 
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter
What to try: Guacamole, any of their tacos

Lincoln--delicious small plates and happy hour specials 
Neighborhood: Mount Vernon
What to try: macaroni and cheese, kale salad, roasted brussel sprouts

Rasika--Fancy Indian food--maybe the best in D.C.!
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter
What to try: palak chaat, chicken tiki masala

Founding Farmers--Well known farm to table restaurant with a Southern American vibe
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom
What to try: cornbread, short rib, pickled veggies, any of their cocktails

Other City Restaurant Reviews:
Charlotte, North Carolina
Savannah, Georgia 
Florence, Italy