Coffee + Maple Spiced Nuts

Coffee + Maple Spiced Nuts - offbeat + inspired-2

In our house, we always have a dish of mixed nuts set out. I guess I figure that if I have that out as a snack, I’ll be less likely to head towards the pantry for a handful of chocolate chips. (Although, truth be told, it doesn’t always work.)

In anticipation of the holidays, I opted to spice (and sweeten) things up a bit. These mixed nuts are sweetened with maple syrup and tossed with a few of my favorite fall spices. Of course, I add coffee to pretty much anything I can, so there’s also a hint of freshly ground coffee that takes the flavor to the next level.

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The Coffee Ice Cube Latte + My Steller Obsession

The Coffee Ice Cube Latte + My Steller Obsession - offbeat + inspired

First, Steller. It’s an app I started using recently, and I’m completely hooked. It’s the most visually stunning, sleek and intuitive storytelling app I’ve ever seen. The idea is to create stories with photos, video, sound and text. There are different fonts and layout options that have the look and feel of an uber-stylish coffee table magazine, flipping pages and all.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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.)

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