Clean Eating | Cantaloupe Gazpacho + Heirloom Tomato Relish

Clean Eating | Cantaloupe Gazpacho - offbeat + inspired-3

This summer has been a season of getting healthy. Sure, I’ve enjoyed my share of baked goods and decadent treats, but for the most part I’ve been trying to get my eating habits back on track. As Tiffany shared a couple weeks ago, we’ve both taken the Whole30 challenge, which has brought my idea of clean eating to a whole new level.

Developing recipes while avoiding any added sugars, dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol and processed foods has taken me outside my culinary comfort zone. While I do enjoy healthy recipes, most of my cooking has included at least a hint of one of those non-Whole30 ingredients, even if it’s been just a tablespoon of honey or cream. Needless to say, over the last month my cooking repertoire has vastly expanded.

Clean Eating | Cantaloupe Gazpacho - offbeat + inspired-5

Variety is essential for me. I get tired of the same foods pretty quickly – especially when I’m trying to eat clean. More than once during my Whole30, I’ve found myself wandering the aisles of Whole Foods picking up anything from passion fruit to plantains to melons to whatever else happens to strike my fancy that day. The “an apple a day” mantra just sounds boring. Why not an apple one day, cherries the next, blackberries after that and then kiwi?

Clean Eating | Cantaloupe Gazpacho - offbeat + inspired-2

Not only has variety of the actual ingredients been important, but variety in the preparation has also been key. Fresh mango salsa, spiced stone fruit over pork chops, grilled romaine salad and chilled soups have made eating fruits and vegetables much more fun than the boring dishes I had grown accustomed to…and eating should be fun, shouldn’t it?

Clean Eating | Cantaloupe Gazpacho - offbeat + inspired-7

This recipe for Cantaloupe Gazpacho hits all the important points – it’s simple, clean, chock-full of seasonal produce and differs from my normal preparation of fruits and veggies. Gazpacho is typically made with a tomato base, but I couldn’t resist featuring fresh, juicy cantaloupe. Of course, I didn’t want to leave the tomatoes out entirely so they’ve found their place in a relish served on top for added flavor and texture. (I chose heirloom tomatoes for added variety, but you can use any type you like.)

Clean Eating | Cantaloupe Gazpacho - offbeat + inspired-6

Do you crave variety like I do? What are your favorite ways to enjoy fresh produce? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Want to know the results of my Whole30 journey? Click here

Cantaloupe Gazpacho
Yields 4-6 servings
Adapted from Savory Simple

1 ripe cantaloupe
1 large cucumber, peeled and halved (so it can fit in the blender easily)
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice off the outer rind. Cut the rest of the cantaloupe into pieces small enough to fit in a blender.

2. Add the cantaloupe and cucumber to the blender, along with the garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and blend until fully incorporated.

3. Transfer soup to a container with a tight lid and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, and up to overnight. (This allows the flavors to really develop, so don’t skip this step!)

4. Gently stir the soup in case any ingredients slightly separated. Pour into bowls and top with Heirloom Tomato Relish. Serve and enjoy!

Quick Tip: Enjoy this dish as a refreshing first course or serve it in shot glasses at a cocktail party for “Gazpacho Shooters.”

Heirloom Tomato Relish

1/4 cup chopped heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir. Let the relish sit for about 15 minutes before using so the flavors can marry.

2. Spoon relish over Cantaloupe Gazpacho and enjoy!

This post was sponsored by Whole Foods. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.

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.

[Recipe at the bottom!]

Lemon + Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake

Lemon + Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake-2

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Lemon + Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake-6

Lemon + Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake-5

Lemon + Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake-7

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake
Adapted from Food Network

¾ cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
5 tablespoons room temperature butter

In a medium bowl, whisk all the ingredients together except butter. Cut butter into small pieces and add to the mixture. Mix with your fingers until the ingredients are incorporated and have a crumbly texture. Set aside.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature (plus a little butter for greasing the pan)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 cup prepared lemon curd

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9-inch round cake pan (or similar sized baking dish) with tin foil and grease the foil with butter.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the stick of butter and the sugar for about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add in the vanilla and then reduce the mixer speed to low. Pour in the flour mixture and the yogurt, a little bit at a time, alternating between the flour and yogurt. Turn the mixer off and fold in the lemon zest and basil with a spatula. The batter will be thick.

Spread half the batter in the prepared baking dish. Spread the prepared lemon curd over it. Then evenly spread the second half of the batter over the lemon curd. Sprinkle the cake batter with the prepared topping. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about an hour. Let cool 15-20 minutes in the pan and then lift out by holding the edges of the foil. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack. Peel away the tinfoil and top with a bit more fresh basil, if desired. Slice and serve with tea or coffee.

This post was originally featured by East Coast Creative.

Cookbooking: Joy The Baker | Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

Cookbooking: Joy The Baker | Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread - offbeat + inspired

For the longest time, I didn’t consider myself much of a baker – the idea of having to measure turned me off. I generally have more of a “let’s throw in a little of this and a little of that until it tastes good” mentality.

Enter Joy The Baker. Joy has been sharing her kitchen creations for a while, but I just started following her regularly several months ago (what the heck was I waiting for?). Her witty, endearing writing makes you feel like you’re chatting over a cup of coffee and a plate of Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes, while her recipes have the power to induce spontaneous salivation. Coffee Bacon Sandwiches will be happening very soon in my kitchen, and Dark Chocolate, Pistachio + Smoked Sea Salt Cookies inspired my own cupcake version.

Keep reading!

Clean Eating | GF Spiced Sweet Potato Baked Donuts

Clean Eating | GF Spiced Sweet Potato Baked Donuts - offbeat + inspired

I’ve been Whole30-ing for the last week now, and I’m currently straddling the line between “what was I thinking” and “I can’t believe how obscenely necessary this was”. I’m smack-dab in the middle of the hangry phase, as detailed in the official Whole30 Timeline, and a new beast has recently reared its ugly head. The giant brownie hallucination. They don’t talk about this particular monster in the W30 description, but it’s very, very real. I’m restricted from having wheat, grains, legumes (including peanuts), added sugars (including agave and honey), all dairy and any kind of baked dessert (even if it’s made with W30-compliant ingredients!). This leaves that giant, wonderful, horrifying brownie as an amalgam of absolutely everything I’m not allowed to eat right now — which is probably why it’s attacking me in my sleep.

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Nashville Trip With Free People + A Magical Backyard Dinner

Nashville Trip With Free People + A Magical Backyard Dinner - offbeat + inspired

So I went to Nashville again! There was a #FPme shoot with Free People, a backyard dinner at my sweet friend Ruthie‘s, and of course, lots of catching up, laughing, dancing, friend-making and photographing — basically the norm on my Tennessee adventures! If you haven’t heard of #FPme, it’s Free People‘s own little social hub where girls from all over the world can upload style pics of themselves, tag the outfits with whatever FP goodies they have on and share it in their gallery. (Here’s a link to mine.) It’s great for outfit inspiration and I love that you can click a photo and it brings you directly to the item listing (because, you know…anything to fill that cart as fast as humanly possible). You can also search the hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to find all kinds of boho style ideas. (I’ve been posting a ton on my Instagram lately!) Anyway! Free People was heading to Nashville and reached out to a few local #FPme contributors about doing a shoot downtown. I’m clearly not a Nashville local, but Dee, the darling gal I’ve been in contact with about FP styling, knew Lexington was nearby and asked if I’d join in for the day. Um, that’s a huge yes! Ruthie had told me Free People was coming down for a dinner at her place, so I was already attending that which made hopping in on the #FPme shoot even more of a no brainer.

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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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Lexington Love | National Provisions Beer Hall

Lexington Love | National Provisions Beer Hall - offbeat + inspired

Krim Boughalem, Andrea Sims, and the rest of their crazy talented crew have outdone themselves yet again. National Provisions launched with the Boulangerie, and now there’s a Beer Hall. In typical Krim & Andrea fashion, the place is flawless. The industrial-style interior is wide open with a ton of natural light. Basically, a photographer’s dream. It has a front room with bright picnic tables, an inner room with a giant community table and of course, all the beer you could possibly imagine — both bottled and on tap. The lunch menu has moved from the Boulangerie over to the Beer Hall, so for bread, pastries, coffee and tea, you’ll still want to use the bakery entrance on Walton — but for soups, sandwiches, salads, beer and other deliciousness, enter on National. I’ll let the new menu speak for itself…(you have got to try that Reuben Tartine):

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Samsung Living Atelier Recap + “Risotto Style” Pasta Inspired By Chef Eric Frechon

Samsung Living Atelier Recap + "Risotto Style" Pasta Inspired By Chef Eric Frechon - offbeat + inspired

The NYC trip last week was a huge success. I had so much fun at the #SamsungLivingAtelier event with the Club Des Chefs and walked away truly inspired. The highlights of the trip for me were so many, but I’ll focus on my top 3:

1. Meeting the Samsung family and getting to experience their creativity up close. When I was invited to attend the launch of Samsung’s “Chef Collection” range of kitchen appliances at their NYC showroom (aka, the Samsung Living Atelier), I was a little intimidated. That’s a massive company. I didn’t know what to expect at all. To my pleasant surprise, I arrived at the Atelier last Wednesday and was instantly blown away by how welcome I felt. The space was big and light with kitchen setups everywhere. I wanted to drop everything and start cooking. The people were all smiles and excitement. The room was buzzing with anticipatory chatter. We couldn’t wait for the chefs to appear and for the new collection to be unveiled.

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NYC, Club Des Chefs + A *Really* Cool Oven

Wow. So much has been going on, I don’t even know where to begin! I’m thinking I’ll have to do a proper recap post photo-documented with Instagram pics (because I can’t get enough of that Instagram) to fill you guys in on everything — and then I’ve got a pile of recipes in the blog queue with stashes of photos that still need editing. I’m really excited to get those posted because…cookies. Flatbread. GF/Dairy-free brownies. Vegan ice cream. Yes. For now though, I’ll share the most recent, most exciting thing that will be unfolding over the next few days.

Samsung's Club De Chefs in action - offbeat + inspired

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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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