Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

I’ve had to get creative with my coffee lately. I’ve done pretty well avoiding dairy ever since my Whole30 detox, probably because it wasn’t one of my main vices to begin with — but when I’m not in the mood for black coffee, I go straight for the half and half. I’ve tried substitutions like almond milk, and made bold efforts to convince myself that the flavor was similar enough…but it just plain wasn’t.

Now it’s confession time. I recently went on a trip to Virginia Beach with Dave, and where there’s an east coast beach, there’s a Wawa. There’s a lotta Wawa. Wawa is my favorite gas station stop in the entire universe to get quick, cheap, roasted-sometime-last-century, drip coffee. I love it. Their hazelnut is the best. I usually mix it with a little bit of their decaf, and (here it comes) a big ‘ol splash of their hazelnut flavored Wawa-brand coffee creamer. Oh my word, it’s so delicious. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. Basically, I had it every night for the 4 nights we were there. Needless to say, when we got back home, the cravings were in full swing. That’s pretty much what inspired this here recipe. I was needing more than just the richness of dairy in my coffee, I needed sweetness too…and something a little extra like hazelnut or vanilla!

Well, I’m finally satisfied. This coconut milk-based, date-sweetened, fresh vanilla bean-infused creamer combined with my favorite FRESHLY-roasted beans from Fresh Ground Roasting puts my Wawa fantasies to shame. And that is saying a LOT! So I hope you try this, and I hope you love it. And for those of you sneaking a 16 oz. drip coffee from the local gas station at 11PM, I get it. Enjoy it, then go home, order some real beans and make this!

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco
Yields about 6 servings

1 (14 oz.) can of full fat coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
the seeds and pods of 2 vanilla beans
2 Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 pot of fresh coffee, about 16 oz. or more (I used Fresh Ground Roasting’s Papua New Guinea Madan Estate, and brewed in a Chemex. Learn how to use a Chemex here!)

Bring the coconut milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Remove from heat and add the vanilla seeds and pods. Cover and steep for 1 hour.

Strain the vanilla-infused coconut milk into a food processor (being sure that the bean pods are removed) and add the chopped dates. Process until smooth. The mixture will be flecked with bits of the date skin and vanilla bean seeds.

Add about 1/4 cup of the sweetened cream to each mug or glass, and top with hot coffee. Stir and serve!

The goodies I used in this post:

- Chemex from Fresh Ground Roasting
- Kobenstyle Butter Warmer (which I use as a mini sauce pan) from Amazon
- Tumblers from Anthropologie
(they don’t carry the white-rimmed ones anymore, but the silver-rimmed are adorable!!)

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Visiting Paris has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Seeing Julie & Julia for the first time dug the well a little deeper, but the thing that pushed me over the edge into trip planning mode was moving to Lexington, Kentucky. It’s not a coincidence that two of the three “Lexington Love” posts I’ve done so far have been about French/European-inspired eateries. There’s an atmosphere and an old-world charm built into a French crafted experience that just can’t be matched. Dozens of restaurants in this city have phenomenal food, trendy interior design, friendly hosts and personality that instantly turns first-timers into regulars — but Le Deauville French Bistro at 199 North Limestone makes you believe you’re actually in France.

From the beautifully aged signage on the trademark green and yellow exterior, to old tile, exposed brick and ornate ceiling panels, you can feel the rich history of the building itself. In combination with truly authentic French food, open air seating during the warmer months and soft French music drifting out into the streets, it’s like being in an enchanted bubble that transports you to a quaint bistro in the heart of Paris. I’m a seriously lucky girl to be living in the apartment above this magical thing.

I can go on for hours about the captivating ambience of this place, but that’s only part of the allure. The food…it’s mind-blowing. I’ve dined here a dozen times, I always try something new and I’ve never been dissatisfied in the least. My first meal at Le Deauville was the Duck Leg Confit with Potatoes Lyonnaise and Baby Spinach in a Creamy Mustard Sauce. Everything was cooked to perfection. It set the bar high for my subsequent visits and every expectation has been met (or exceeded) consistently. I’ve also had the Poached Chicken with Creamy Truffle Sauce, Vegetable Stew and Mushroom Risotto, the Grilled Chilean Seabass with Braised Potato, Tomatoes Confit and Beurre Blanc, the Salmon Crusted with Herbs, Celery Purée, and Mixed Garden Vegetables with Tarragon Sauce, and a smattering of other mouth-watering menu offerings. In a nutshell, you can’t go wrong no matter what you order. Pair a glass of wine or a cocktail with your dinner, finish with an espresso and the Banana Mille Feuille and you’ll likely be inspired enough to finally learn French.

Now I’ll let the photos do the talking!

Marc Puil, owner of Le Deauville and our wonderful landlord!

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

The space.

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

The food.

Pan-Seared Scallops topped with Mango Salsa and Beet Risotto

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Duck Leg Confit with Potatoes Lyonnaise and Baby Spinach in a Creamy Mustard Sauce

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Beef Carpaccio with Truffle Port Wine Vinaigrette

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Escargot in Garlic Butter

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

French Onion Soup

The dessert.

Banana Mille Feuille, Decadent Chocolate Cake, Creme Brulee, Cappuccino and Espresso

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Lexington Love | A Taste of France at Le Deauville - offbeat + inspired

Le Deauville also serves All You Can Eat Crepes (both sweet & savory!) every Monday and All You Can Eat Mussels & Fries every Tuesday. I’ve had both and they are a MUST.

Follow Le Deauville on Facebook, Instagram, and check out their website here!

Have you eaten here before? What did you think? What was your favorite dish? If you’re going to be visiting Lexington anytime soon, definitely plan a meal here and be sure to leave a comment on this post sharing about your experience! I would also love to hear from people who have been to France! Does Le Deauville take you back? Let’s discuss!

And stay tuned for an upcoming post highlighting a special gathering sponsored by Le Deauville and other Lexington gems. SO excited to share this one with you guys!!

Ruche x tifforelie “Ruchette” Fashion Illustration Prints!

Ruche x tifforelie "Ruchette" Fashion Illustration Prints! - offbeat + inspired

I have really exciting news that I’ve been holding in for what feels like a decade! I’ll skip to the end because I’m too antsy to drag it out! The lovely team over at Ruche reached out to me a few months ago about creating a small series of exclusive “Ruchette” fashion illustrations that they could sell as prints in their online shop. Obviously I said yes and those prints are now for sale!! To celebrate, we’re doing an Instagram giveaway where you can win one of the prints! Entry is easy. Just read through the caption on this IG post! You can also check out my feature on the Ruche blog here!

Keep reading!

Clean Eating | Spiced Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Clean Eating | Spiced Sweet Potato Oven Fries - offbeat + inspired

I’ve got a Whole30 update for you! It’s been a little over a month since I “started” the detox. I put that in quotes because I kinda sorta maybe cheated for the first week straight. Oops. But after that, I dove headfirst into it. I started cooking every night, stopped having frozen margaritas every time we went out for dinner (my weakness, especially at Pepe’s and Le Deauville…), and basically followed every rule I was aware of consistently for the last month. Here are my most notable results, 3 solid weeks in:

Fatigue – I had been having regular fatigue and a really hard time getting to sleep at night prior to W30, but now I have energy all day and I’m sleeping much better. I first noticed the change when I didn’t have my usual late-morning crash — the one after the coffee and breakfast wear off and all I want to do is crawl back into bed and pass out for 3 hours. There’s also much less tossing and turning at night which makes a world of difference.

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.

Keep reading!

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.

Keep reading!

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):

Keep reading!

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.

Keep reading!

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

Keep reading!

Lexington Love | Adventuring With Ruthie

Lexington Love | Adventuring With Ruthie - offbeat + inspired

This is the most exciting time of year for me. Especially this year. I’m settled in to the downtown apartment — a gorgeous, old 3-story building on North Limestone. Our little nook is on the third floor above Le Deauville French Bistro, across the street from a blooming school courtyard. The city is popping with color now, which means it’s time to break out the list of springtime shenanigans and start hacking away. One of them was to have my dear friend Ruthie Lindsey come up from Nashville for a visit! If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love this girl. Goofing, laughing, heart-to-hearts, dance parties, music listening and exploring — all part of the typical, wonderful craziness.

When she pulled into town, we only had a vague idea of what the next 3 days were going to look like, but knew we were going to spend one of them shooting everything we possibly could. Ruthie’s personal style is just one of the hugely inspiring things about her, so we decided to show a few of her favorite looks in a few of my favorite Lexington locales. The rest of this post will serve as a photo journal of that day with outfit and location credits. I just love showing off this little city, especially alongside one of my favorite gals!

Keep reading!