It's apple season and I need to put a remix on it.

I am not alone in my apple obsession this time of year. I mean, it's the all american fruit , right?  I am also not alone in wanting to maximize flavor and nutrition without compromising my waistline. 

While an apple is delcious on its own sometimes a girl just wants a dip.  Apples pair beautifully with so many things including, caramel, cinnanamon, and even a schmear of cream cheese. Peanut butter is my favorite apple pairing.  It's also easy to overdo the calories with a straight nut butter on a big juicy apple sliced up for devouring. Never one to back away from a culinary challenge I am about solutions, not avoidance! 

Georgia Grinders makes a  Cinnamon vanilla pecan-peanut nut butter and it perfectly inspired me to make a guilt free tasty apple dip (it's nice with celery too!). None of their products have oils or sweetners added (including the peanut butter powders) You still get the lovely visual of creamy nut butter with specks of cinnamon but more fiber and protein and a lot less fat! It is also much easier to dip than a sticky caramel is or a thick straight nut butter is. It's a win-win win-win.

You can adjust how much you need to make based on a simple formula of 2,2,1.  I make it in large batches and snack on it all week. I did try it with regular peanut butter and flavoring it myself and it wasn't anywhere nearly as good or replicated using the real deal.  Use whatever bean brand and pineapple brand you like but do not substitute the Cinnamon vanilla pecan-peanut nut butter.  I recommend weighing your component parts and not measuring with cups. I use grams.

  • 2 parts by weight drained great northern beans - save a bit of the liquid for consistency 
  • 2 parts by weight Cinnamon vanilla pecan-peanut nut butter
  • 1 part by weight drained canned pineapple tidbits in juice (not syrup)

Put everything into a food processor, nutribullet, immersion blender container or vitamix. You do need a high powered blender to get this silky smooth.  After blending to  smooth consistency taste to see if you need more pineapple or to thin out with reserved bean juice.  Transfer to sealable container or serving bowl if eating same day and cover. Chill very well, at least 2-4 hours. Will keep 5 days. The pineapple starts to ferment the dish if it's not kept cold-it's not a good thing.

Bandora. A review.

Super fresh and vegetarian options are why I often seek out mediterranean style food.  What makes Bandora different is how they do business as well as a few menu options unique to them.  They pay a living wage to their staff members, have a commitment to helping local non-profits through food donations and revenue sharing as well as all fresh (never frozen ingredients).

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Brooklyn Cafe. A review.

The menu is what I describe as white bread Americana.  It is limited but still has something for everyone.  Roasted artichokes and lobster bisque are both great to see on a limited menu but I was in the mood for good ol american red meat.

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il Giallo Osteria & Bar. A review.

The interior is a large open space carefully sectioned into a proper bar and bar seating, kitchen and pasta making area and main dining room. It's a bit loud because of the open  layout but it's also beautiful and quite frankly, it works.  It's a Friday night and it is packed.  I am feeling like many are regulars here.  I could be wrong but if I were a betting woman I wouldn't bet that I am wrong on this.

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Drift. A review.

The hushpuppies have vibrant green chives minced into the batter and are served with a sweet butter. I have no shame in saying I ate the whole basket myself. This made the rest of my dinner go into a take away container.  

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Health benefit of mushrooms

Similar to penicillin, mushrooms contain natural antibiotics that inhibit the growth of fungal infections.  Including them in your diet regularly will boost your body’s natural immune system and ward off common ailments. Ergothioneine is a powerful antioxidant unique to mushrooms. Ergothioneine is suggested to have the ability to provide relief from chronic inflammatory diseases as well. When left unchecked, inflammation can escalate into some forms of cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, periodontitis, COPD and hardening of the arteries.

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Oak Steakhouse. A review

The waiters have on leather aprons to give a butcher feel.  It's pretty fab.  The menu is fairly steakhouse standard but don't limit yourself to beef.  The truffle parmeasan fries put me in heaven at first bite. 

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Sushi Making Class at Bottle Rocket

There is a trick to seasoning, cooking and handling that special sushi rice. You will learn it.  If you make a mess in the process that's ok.  You will have plenty of supervision to make sure you are understanding what is being taught and correct you before your slight error turns into sushi disaster!

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Grouchy's Deli. A review.

Clean and modern inside but not kosher. I figured that out with one bite of really fantastic potato salad. It's got bacon.  May I say it is absolutely delicious and that is a big reason why.  Lobster bisque is on the menu and making me glad I am not kosher more and more each minute as I read the menu. Fear not gluten free, kosher and vegetarians. There is plenty here for you to eat.

You will see the usual suspects for you deli menu traditionalists and then a few items for your perhaps, more adventurous companion/group.  BBQ chopped salad (chicken in this one), crispy chicken salad and buffalo chicken panini.  In fact the menu was so overwhelmingly tempting I had to hang back a bit to narrow it down to 3 contenders and crown one of them my winner of the day. Today's winner is the Californian sandwich.  Deli Oven-roasted turkey, avocado, provolone cheese, lettuce, cucumbers and ranch dressing.  Rye, duh. 

I can't say that they are making their own bagels. I am gonna go out on a limb and make this assumption when a bagel delivery driver wheels boxes of bagels past me while I am enjoying my potato salad outside. You will have to hit Goldberg's if you want house made bagels and bread but my rye was just fine, house made or not.

The newfangled coke machine where you can make 1000 combinations of drinks is in Grouchy's. If you're into that sort of thing.

See you next time, Grouchy's. I will have potato salad with it.


Grouchy's Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Alpine Bakery and Trattoria. A review.

 They are all over the top in size and appearance but inside the taste is pure gold.  No sticky sweet butter creams, but rather pastry creams and whipped creams are the basis for fillings and frostings. 

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I<3 Pho. A review.

 I ordered up some Chicken Rolls. They are plus size in the most sexy possible way. Big and full of goodness.

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2015 Gift Guide for (almost) everyone

It’s the holiday season AGAIN.  Do you get filled with excitement for all the special moments coming or are you filled with dread because it is one more year you have to come up with a gift for (fill in the blank here).

I am here to help. My gift guide guidelines must meet some criteria:

1.       Unique but not too “out there”

2.       Appealing to the eye or the palette or have a highly useful place in recipients life

3.       Won’t drain a bank account

4.       Is suitable for a man or a woman (or baby)

5.       Likelihood of being used on a scale of 1-10: 8+ 


Salt of the Earth

Salt makes everything taste good. Some of your friends and loved ones may not venture out to buy specialty salt with some flavor that is more than just salty, but complex.  Jacobsen Salt in Oregon has an incredible array to choose from. If you can’t find them locally buy directly from their website.  Varieties like basil, ghost chili, pinot blanc and white truffle and even a salty black licorice should get your gifts in order.

For the Winter Outdoor Sports Lover

Windburn and sunburn from the snow is the unfortunate side effect of wintertime sports and activities.  I am a huge supporter of companies that make effective non toxic skin care products and this Apres surf and slope lotion from Subtle Green has been spotted on a few sites I frequent for clean skin care with lots of praise. It comes in formulas for both men and women. No more chapped cheeks!

Buttery Goodness

If you’re more of the do it yourself type how about making some cultured butter?  I make my own kefir at home and use the grains to culture the cream before turning it into butter but this link shows a variety of ways. These reusable beeswrap papers are a pretty way to give them. Let your recipients know the butter should be kept frozen until use. It’s great to put on cooked vegetables and all your holiday breads.


Nuts and Sweet Treats are a Classic Welcomed Gift

I visited Pearson Farm recently and got to enjoy their pecans in a variety of ways. This pecan and peach farm is in Fort Valley, GA and the Pearson family has 100+ years experience in growing these orchards to optimal harvest results.  Mrs. Pearson has come up with some fantastic baked good recipes you can have shipped but also painstakingly sourced a chocolatier that had Belgian chocolate worthy of their nuts. They are triple enrobed and it is the perfect ratio of super creamy chocolate against the crunch of their delicious fresh nuts.  Gorgeous fruit condiments are on offer if you’re indecisive (I always have some on hand to put on yogurt or to spread on black bread). If you’re baking this season their nuts are available natural as well as seasoned for gift giving. Select Krogers in the Southeast will be stocking the nuts as well.

For Baby

Got some new parents or parents to be on your list?  This is a darling gift even for the most eco minded of parents. The Lifestyle in Green warm buddy gift set.  Baby will love the push toy with or without the warmable insert and mom and baby will enjoy the eco bath products.

Tea for Two...or a Few

Tea is always in fashion and with more varieties every year it seems I think it's safe to say in our lifetimes it will always be in style to give it as a gift.  Cozy winter favs fit nicely into a stocking, work well as a hostess or teacher gift and even for colleagues. I don't mind gifting myself some tea now and then too.  How about the harvest stackable tin  or some comfort and joy in the holiday stackable tin.