Salted Bourbon Brownies + Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream! #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

I happen to love the fact that Christmas season starts at 12:01 AM on November 1st. I love that I went to the mall the other day to get my shattered phone screen fixed (again), and was met with the comforting warble of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and a jolly See’s Candies employee handing out free chocolate lollipops. I love that as abruptly as the holiday magic begins, my kitchen turns into a buttery, chocolatey, flour-y wonderland where I retreat regularly to create and let the inspiration (and sugar) fly.

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Mocha Sorbet

Mocha Sorbet-6

Warm weather is finally here! (At least it was for a few days until it promptly disappeared from the Chicago area in favor of the more familiar cold, gray days.) But regardless of the current temperature, there’s always a reason for frozen treats - especially ones that combine my two favorite ingredients: coffee and chocolate. I’m not sure there exists a better flavor pairing (but I welcome your ideas in case I’m missing something epic!). They’re a match made in recipe heaven…especially when the chocolate is dark and earthy the coffee bold and rich.

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A Fruit & Veggie Hashtag Takeover

A Fruit & Veggie Hashtag Takeover - offbeat + inspired

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram soaking up the visuals like a sponge. My feeds are loaded primarily with food. A few things happen when I stare at beautiful food photography for hours on end — I want to cook, I want to shoot, and I want to eat. The eating thing is usually what happens first. When all I’ve been looking at are rainbow cakes, brownies loaded with candy and every flavor of French macaron known to mankind, I’m most likely to pig out on sugar and butter. Less than ideal, I know…so instead of fighting the urges (and cavities) on will-power alone, I decided it would be wise to follow more health-focused foodie accounts. Not so surprisingly, it became MUCH easier to eat well when I was taking in all that fresh, green goodness instead of just “junk”. The link between what I was looking at and what I was eating was so obvious that when I learned about the campaign Bolthouse Farms was doing to get people hashtagging more health foods and less junk foods, I flipped. Loved it. So let me explain cause it’s SUCH a cool project.

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Life + Waffles

Pumpkin Spice Belgian Waffles + Toasted Pecans - offbeat + inspired

Life happens in phases. They can be marked by jobs, boyfriends, schools, hair colors, diets — anything and everything. I was recently reflecting on my own phases, and noticed that no matter how chaotic or calm, easy or hard, routine or ridiculous a time in my life was, there was always a constant. I could chronologically organize my phases according to what I was baking.

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Cider, Thyme + Tonic Mocktail

Cider, Thyme + Tonic Mocktail - offbeat + inspired-2

It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything on the blog, but I have to say it’s good to be back! Life has been a little crazy lately…and it’s about to get a whole lot crazier!

My husband and I are soooo excited to announce that we’re expecting twins in March! To add to our excitement, we just found out the genders (I’m very impatient and too much of a planner to not know). We’re having a little boy and a little girl! During the ultrasound, we could see Baby Boy already attempting to punch his sister. Apparently, sibling rivalry starts way earlier than I realized.

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Lavender-Honey Iced Latte

Lavender-Honey Iced Latte - offbeat + inspired-7

I’m a little obsessed with making flavor infused simple syrups (as evidenced by the excessive number of my recipes that include them in some form). The flavor combinations are endless and, in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest and most fun ways to add variety to drinks like iced tea, lemonade, cocktails and of course, coffee.

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Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake

Lemon + Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake-3

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Luckily, many breakfast foods are basically cake. Ergo, the most important meal of the day is cake. Flawless logic, right? I’m not quite sure how muffins, pancakes and coffee cake made the cut when it came to deciding which foods were socially acceptable to eat first thing in the morning, but hey, I’m not arguing.

This Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake has all the fixings of a decadent treat, but you can get away with enjoying it any time of day. It’s topped with buttery, sugary crumbles and has a layer of creamy and tart lemon curd. Fresh basil and lemon zest give it a bright pop of flavor that’s perfect for the summer months. It’s also made with whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt, so you can feel even better about eating cake for breakfast.

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Japanese Method Iced Coffee

Japanese Method Iced Coffee

Summer is officially here! That calls for fresh farmers’ market produce, backyard barbecues and, of course, cold drinks. I’ve shared before how to make smooth, full-flavored, cold-brew coffee for drinks like a caramel iced latte or coffee cocktail. While I love that method, it takes about 8-12 hours for the coffee to steep - and let’s face it…sometimes a craving for iced coffee hits when you don’t want to wait that long.

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Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade

Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade - offbeat + inspired-3

I used to think I didn’t really like lemonade - until I made it last summer for the first time with actual lemons. I should have started making the real stuff a long time ago, because now I’m completely hooked. There’s simply no substitute for the crisp, tart and sweet flavor of real, homemade lemonade.

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Cardamom + Vanilla Coffee Cocktail

Cardamom + Vanilla Coffee Cocktail

The weekend has officially arrived, which means it’s time to kick back, relax and shake up a cocktail. Cardamom and vanilla are two of my absolute favorite spices - and luckily, those flavors pair incredibly well with my most beloved beverage - coffee.

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