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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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