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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A Weekday Brunch, Vintage Inspiration & Mini Quiche Lorraine + Pancake Skewers with Warm Maple Butter

A Weekday Brunch, Vintage Inspiration & Mini Quiche Lorraine + Pancake Skewers with Warm Maple Butter - offbeat + inspired #VintageCharm

Thrifting for kitchen stuff is my favorite. I love that I can give myself a $10-$15 budget and an afternoon at the flea market, and walk away with a pile of treasures. I’ll go straight to the section with tables full of vintage dishes as far as the eye can see, and daydream about swimming through a sea of them cartoon-style — remember the duck in the vault with the gold coins? Yeah, that.

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Hard Lemonade Bonfire Chicken

Hard Lemonade Bonfire Chicken - offbeat + inspired

The house I’m renting in Nashville is amazing. It’s a little 2-bedroom cottage in a charming neighborhood and the backyard is HUGE. There are big old trees, lots of shade, even a little lattice & ivy covered swing! But my FAVORITE thing about the yard is how perfect it is for bonfires.

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Hard Lemonade Glazed Cupcakes

Hard Lemonade Glazed Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired

I’ve spent the last week hopping around New Jersey, taking moto adventures through the northwestern hills and lakes, visiting with family and friends, and remembering all the things I love so dearly about my home state. I got to stay at my aunt’s house on Lake Wawayanda, and it is the epitome of a perfect summer retreat. The backyard is unreal. Hammock naps, reading on the dock, storytelling around the fire pit…SO perfect for hot days in mid-August.

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Dreaming of Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes in Tulum!

Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired

I’m in Tulum right now and I can’t even begin to describe how surreal it is. Mexico, for most of my life, had been this intangible exotic thing that I celebrated subtly with a love for taco trucks and simple margaritas. Now I’m in a city where there’s a mezcal bar every ten feet and the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life are being slung on every corner for about 40 cents a pop. I’ve also learned that swimming pools, lakes and oceans do not hold a CANDLE to cenotes when it comes to a day of swimming.

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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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Boston Cream Pancakes + iPhoneography

Boston Cream Pancakes + iPhoneography - offbeat + inspired

It’s been forever since I last posted, so I’m long overdue for some life updates and serious recipes. I’ll start with a recipe because pancakes. (Life stuff soon though because soo much exciting stuff has been going on!!)

Anyhoo, if you follow me on Steller or Instagram, you may have seen these decadent little things already. If not, I hope you’re in the mood for some intense spring brunching and a recipe that takes pancakes to a WHOLE new level.

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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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GF + Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

GF + Vegan Cinnamon Rolls - offbeat + inspired

I love making friends that share my gluten/dairy intolerances. I hate that they have intolerances because of how fun intolerances aren’t (wouldn’t wish them on anybody), but it’s just awesome to be able to feed my crazy ingredient-ly (??) acrobatic recipes to people who will appreciate them for their health benefits as well as their flavors, and say things like, “WHAT?! I don’t have to stop eating ACTUAL cinnamon rolls?!” No, dear friend. No…you don’t!

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Pomegranate, Lime + Ginger Mocktail

Pomegranate + Ginger Mocktail - offbeat + inspired-2

A few weeks ago, I co-hosted a baby shower for a friend. Pre-pregnancy, the guest of honor and I often enjoyed hanging out and talking over a bottle of wine, but considering it was her baby shower (and I’m also pregnant), wine had to take a backseat.

Celebrations like baby showers deserve a festive drink, so I came up with a simple mocktail recipe that can be scaled down for 1 person or made for a crowd. And with Christmas and New Year’s Eve around the corner, I don’t have to settle for sipping a boring beverage when everyone else is toasting with a glass of champagne or a cocktail. I will be celebrating with a tasty mocktail in hand!

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