Mango Two Ways [and a giveaway with Whole Foods!]

Mango 2 ways main image 3

Happy Monday! Tiffany and I are so excited about today’s post! We’ve teamed up with Whole Foods to bring you two delicious mango recipes - one savory, one sweet.

Mango has quickly become one of my favorite warm weather ingredients. It’s incredibly versatile and works well in everything from smoothies to cocktails to the recipes we’re sharing today. Nothing says summer like the flavor of mango - and Mango + Shrimp Skewers and Mango, Rosemary + Ginger Shortbread Cookies are the perfect way to kick off the season.

Keep reading!

Spinach, Herb + Parmesan Breakfast Casserole

Spinach, Herb + Parmesan Breakfast Casserole - offbeat + inspired-10

I debated about what to call this dish. I tried to come up with a different word than “casserole”, but to be honest it was really the most fitting term. When I was growing up, my mom made incredibly flavorful casseroles. Yet for many people, the word “casserole” conjures up an image of a pile of mushy, mystery ingredients you were forced to eat as a kid before you could leave the table. If the latter sounds familiar, I hope this recipe will help change your mind.

Keep reading!

Coffee-Maple Candied Bacon

Coffee-Maple Candied Bacon - offbeat + inspired-5

What’s better than bacon? Candied bacon with rich, earthy flavors of coffee, sweet maple syrup, caramelized sugar and spicy black pepper.

This recipe is dangerously easy to make, with only a few ingredients: bacon, freshly roasted coffee (I like using a full-bodied, dark roast such as FreshGround’s Sumatra Aceh), sugar, maple syrup and a touch of black pepper. Word of advice? Make this in small batches - or at least have friends over to share the results with. Otherwise before you know it, you’ll have consumed a shameful amount of bacon all by yourself. (Yup, I’m speaking from personal experience.)

Keep reading!

Coffee + Cardamom Zeppole

Coffee + Cardamom Zeppole - offbeat + inspired-4

In an effort to expand my cooking repertoire, I’ve been experimenting with new dishes, techniques and recipes. I don’t often make desserts, so I figured that would be a great (and tasty) area in which to step up my culinary game. The latest sweet treat? Italian fried doughnuts, also called zeppole. Yup - deep-fried, buttery, sweet dough covered in sugar. What’s not to love?

Keep reading!

Spiced Bourbon Coffee

Spiced Bourbon Coffee - offbeat + inspired-6

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 
-Edith Sitwell

In the fall when temperatures start to drop, I find myself looking forward to winter. There’s something romantic, serene and comforting about the season that forces me into hibernation. Outdoor activities give way to quiet evenings at home, and lively summer barbecues turn to intimate dinners. The first few snowfalls cover everything with a brilliant white blanket, and holiday festivities help me avoid the impending cabin fever.

Eventually, the enjoyment of winter fades away and is replaced by an eager anticipation of spring. It’s this time of year that I’m weary of the cold. The occasional sunlight teases as it warms me through my kitchen window - spring must be coming! And then I walk outside, only to turn back in my house to don a few more layers of clothing.

When everything in me craves the warmer season to come, it’s easy to forget the joys of winter. This year, however, I’m trying to be more intentional, taking advantage of what this season has to offer. Spring will come. But meanwhile, there’s still time for admiring snow-laden trees, bundling up under a cozy blanket and quietly sipping on Spiced Bourbon Coffee by the fire.

Keep reading!

Banana-Rum Scones

Banana-Rum Scones - offbeat + inspired-5

Years ago over one of my winter breaks in college, my mom and I spent a week together in New Hampshire. While some of my friends traveled to warmer climates, I opted for snowy mountains. I had the chance to snowboard, my mom and I snowshoed and we soaked in the beauty of the outdoors. To top it all off, we made sure to enjoy incredible food.

While wandering around the local area, we came across a quaint little bakery selling freshly baked muffins, scones and other pastries. The scones they had there remain the best ones I have ever tasted in my life. Maybe it was the beautiful evergreen trees layered with sparkling flakes and the blanket of crunching snow under my feet that made a warm scone and a cup of coffee taste so amazing. Or maybe those flaky, buttery treats were special because they were a culinary discovery I shared with my mom. Whatever it was, that experience turned me into a scone lover.

Keep reading!

Clean Eating | Broiled Grapefruit with Yogurt + Cinnamon

Broiled Grapefruit with Yogurt + Cinnamon - offbeat + inspired-9

I don’t mind the cold and snow during the beginning of winter, but around this time of year I start to get antsy. My love for cuddling up with comfort food in front of the fireplace gives way to a desire to eat on a restaurant patio, run along the riverfront path or head over to the neighbor’s for drinks and laughs around their fire pit.

Keep reading!

Mocha Bread Pudding + A Giveaway! [Featuring FreshGround Roasting]

Mocha Bread Pudding 4 - offbeat + inspired

Food isn’t always about what ends up on the plate. For me, it’s about the process of preparing that dish. It’s about the people I get to share it with, where the ingredients originated, who passed along that recipe to me or how it morphed and changed in my kitchen.

Keep reading!

Coffee + Dark Chocolate Bark

Coffee + Dark Chocolate Bark 2 - offbeat + inspired

I’m not sure why Christmas has declared itself the chocolate bark holiday. Yet for some reason around this time of year, you can find these decadent chunks of chocolate in nearly every grocery store or at almost any holiday party. While I personally vote for it being around all year long, I’ve officially jumped on the Christmastime chocolate bark bandwagon.

Keep reading!

Lexington Love | National Boulangerie & Patisserie

Lexington Love | National Boulangerie & Patisserie - offbeat + inspired

There’s a new cafe in town! National Boulangerie & Patisserie opened their doors on the corner of National and Walton yesterday, just outside downtown Lexington (KY). I’ve been very eagerly awaiting this opening for months because the owners, Krim Boughalem and Andrea Sims, also own/owned two of my absolute favorite local food spots: Wine + Market (now owned by Renee and Seth Brewer, who also own the wine and tapas bar, Enoteca) and Table 310. Table 310 has been a frequent stop for me with their outstanding seasonal menus, weekend brunches, killer cocktails and delicious French-inspired coffee bowls. The atmosphere and service consistently match the exceptional quality of the food and drink. And I have to say, National is going to continue Krim and Andrea’s tradition of knocking it out of the park with their must-visit Lexington eateries.

Keep reading!