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!!)

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.

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 | 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.

Keep reading!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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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.

Keep reading!