Raspberry Nectarine Oatmeal

I heart oatmeal (along with every other health nut, I'm sure). It's hearty and nourishing, stick-to-your-ribs food. It's chewy, creamy, warming, and most importantly, very easy to adapt into a morning dessert - which I'm a huge fan of. The flavor combinations are pretty much endless, and for someone who is big into combining textures, oatmeal is the perfect vehicle. A good formula to follow when making your favorite breakfast cereal...

oats + something fresh + something dried + something creamy + something crunchy

Not that you need a formula when making oatmeal or anything, I mean this isn't rocket science, but I like to stick with what works. In fact I think this is my basic meal formula. Salads are always better with some fresh and dried fruits, and a sprinkling of nuts. Top with a creamy dressing and you're good to go. Pasta with roasted vegetables, fresh greens, creamy cheese, and roasted nuts - ugh, now I'm hungry. 

This oatmeal specifically was a combination of the seasonal fruits I had in my fridge, combined with my hands-down favorite granola, Purely Elizabeth. Have you ever tried this perfectly sweetened and toasted, magical superfood? It's crunchy yet somehow melts in my mouth - I really can't explain it. Made with ancient grains like millet, quinoa, and amaranth, and omega-3 seeds like chia, flax, and hemp, it's the most nutritious granola I've come across. Organic coconut oil and coconut palm sugar provide a filling energy boost, without the blood sugar spike of more processed sweeteners. And to please most every palate out there, Purely Elizabeth is also vegan and gluten-free. Buy it. Try it. Buy it again. Another good kitchen formula. 

Raspberry Nectarine Oatmeal

1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
a few chopped apricots
1 nectarine, chopped
1/2 cup raspberries, mashed

almond milk
maple syrup or honey
shredded coconut or coconut butter

Cook your oats according to package instructions (buckwheat, farro, or brown rice make great alternatives). When oats begin to thicken, add cinnamon, vanilla, shredded coconut, and apricots. Continue cooking until desired consistency. Add the chopped nectarine and raspberry mash and give it a stir. Use whatever toppings are up your alley. Here I went with granola, almond milk, maple syrup, and a few pieces of leftover fruit. I poured the almond milk and honey over top after the photo session to ensure a clear view of that wonderful granola


Avocado Hummus

So I guess it's avocado month here on the blog. I hope you love them as much as I do, otherwise, sorry about that. I mentioned before that come summer the amount of guacamole I make must quadruple, and although I could never get sick of it, sometimes I don't always have a number of ripe avocados, nor do I feel like chopping, or consuming an entire bag of tortilla chips for that matter. And if you know me the slightest, you know I'm lost without hummus. Just like avocados, it's really great at bumping up the volume of most meals. Whether it's served on the side of a plate of grilled vegetables and garlicky grains, or thrown right into the mix, you're guaranteed some creamy deliciousness. It's nice to switch things up every once in a while, and instead of tossing your plate with some beans or lentils, why not make some gourmet hummus. The flavor profiles are endless, and a mix of textures is always a good thing in my book. 

I spotted avocado hummus a few years ago at Trader Joe's, and was pretty floored by such an ingenious creation. I've consumed numerous tubs of the stuff, but had never made my own - why is that always the case with me? I always have been one to come around at my own slow pace, but blending a can of chickpeas with an avocado is a no brainer. Hummus is creamy on its own, but throw in a buttery avocado, and you have real food magic on your hands. I'm somewhat addicted to lemon juice, so that's what I used here, but I know lime juice would also be wonderful. I also tend to add cumin to most avocado and/or Mexican based recipes, but I've left it out, and it's still just as tasty. A good amount of sea salt is essential here, but the spinach I might skip next time. I was going for a bright green color, and some added nutrients, but it sort of took away from the simple deliciousness of the avocado. 

Avocado Hummus
lemon or lime juice would work well here

15 oz can of chickpeas, drained + rinsed
1 ripe avocado
juice of 1 lemon (I used 1 1/2)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
handful of spinach

Peel the skins off of the chickpeas before beginning. I sometimes boil them for about 10 minutes to get them really soft, but it's not a must (warm hummus is pretty phenomenal though). Add all of your ingredients to a blender (I used my Nutri-Bullet), and give it a whirl. Taste for seasoning, and scoop away. If you want more of the avocado flavor to come through, I'd leave out the spinach. As I mentioned above, I was going for color and nutrition, but I've made it both with and without spinach, and I think I prefer it without. I've also left out the olive oil without any problems, and the chia seeds are just a superfood bonus, totally not necessary.  


Mint Chip Smoothie

Another 90° day, another smoothie. Does anyone else feel entitled to frozen treats in the warmer months? I mean especially here in New England. We shiver through almost half of the year, and when June rolls around, we deserve some ice cream. In my case it's endless variations of fruit and vegetable combinations in my Nutri-Bullet. I've already shared my go-to morning super smoothie, but here it's less about packing in the vegetables, and more about superfood-ing (definitely not a word) a popular ice cream flavor. I've always been a vanilla girl. Since childhood, I've rarely strayed from my vanilla-in-a-cup-with-rainbow-sprinkles ice cream order. That being said, I don't think I've ever tried actual mint chocolate chip ice cream. Maybe a taste or two before realizing it's no where near as good as straight vanilla (in my opinion). You should also know that as a kid, I did not have the healthiest or most adventurous of taste buds. You would be quite astounded when comparing the way I eat now to the way I ate then. Sweets ruled my world. Vegetables did not. I had an aversion to salad. Not that they didn't look delicious, I really just didn't like crunchy vegetables. I used to dream of being a salad eater (true story). Salad eaters seemed to be apart of this exclusive foodie club that I wanted membership to. And somewhere along my journey to adulthood (and addiction to the Food Network), I learned a thing or two about food, and really fell in love with cooking. My diet has been cleaning itself up since college, and I think I'm at a really good place now. When I eat food, I think of what it can do for me. I rarely, if ever, put something in my body that isn't going to benefit me in some way. I'm far from perfect, but when it comes to nutrition, I try my very hardest to stay on track. You only get one body, and I want mine to be its best version long into my old age - looking great in a bikini when I'm 50 won't hurt either. 

Back to the situation at hand: I can't really be a judge to the comparison of this smoothie to mint chocolate chip ice cream. But I think with a little common sense, I can take a guess as to what I'm working with here (mint flavored ice cream + chocolate chips?). I think my combination is pretty spot on. Has anyone else tried adding frozen watermelon to their smoothies? You'd be quite pleased with the outcome. It imparts a very subtle sweetness, but what it does to the texture is magical, turning any smoothie combination into more of an ice cream. I usually enjoy my smoothies through a straw, but if you're looking for something thicker and spoonable, I'd say decrease your almond milk amount, and maybe use a whole frozen banana. Play around with it, and see what works for you. I almost always add protein powder to my smoothies, but it definitely alters the taste and texture. Leave it out if you're going the ice cream route. I also topped mine with this raw, chocolate granola, mostly because it's addicting, and also because I was heading to the gym after and some extra calories couldn't hurt - not that I'm in any way an animal at the gym. I just love excuses to eat more.

Mint Chip Smoothie
Inspired by The Chalkboard Mag

3/4-1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 banana, frozen
1 cup watermelon chunks, frozen
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons cacao nibs, divided
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups spinach, packed (I squeeze in as much as possible)
1 scoop protein powder (optional)
2 tablespoons chocolate granola (optional, I use this one)

Add all the ingredients, except for 1 tablespoon of the cacao nibs and the granola, to your blender and give it a whirl. I usually blend everything but the spinach, then pack in as much spinach as possible for round two of blending - I find I can fit more in this way (the Nutri-Bullet isn't all that big). Stir in the remaining tablespoon of cacao nibs, top with some granola, and enjoy your frozen treat, guilt-free. 


Sunday á la Mode

Images via Pinterest


Avocado Toasts

Here's a quick, healthy, and delicious snack or lunch option if you're looking for either. Not so much a recipe, as what you see is what you get here, but it's a favorite of mine, so I thought I'd share. And, if you read my previous guacamole post, you would know all about my unconditional love for avocados. I'm sure you've all eaten toast this way anyways, so I'm not sitting here thinking I've discovered smeared avocado on some sort of carb or anything, mostly I've never eaten it so plainly before. I usually add beans, cheese, and tomatoes, and make some sort of Mexican fiesta when I get my hands on these ripe beauties. But as is typically the case, keeping things simple is a good idea in life. So if you find yourself the proud owner of some perfectly soft avocados, add some lime and salt, and call it a day. 

Avocado Toasts
also pictured is toast with tomato basil hummus and diced tomatoes

toasted bread or crispbread
1/2 an avocado
sea salt
1/2 lime, juiced

Mash up the avocado with some salt and lime juice and spread on some bread (I use GG Bran Crispbread). Dice up some cucumber and tomato to scoop up any extra avocado mash. 

I promise a more substantial recipe soon.



Guacamole could be my most requested dish. Whether I'm going to a cookout, a hangout, flopping with some friends, or throwing a party, I'm usually asked to make guacamole. And not to toot my horn or anything, but (toot toot) it's good. I'm actually not sure why I can't find great guacamole anywhere except my own kitchen, and I'm sure everyone else here on the east coast has had similar experiences. I'm always so jealous of the Mexican food that must be served closer to the border (and in the country itself) . The one and only time I visited California, I couldn't get enough of San Francisco's Chinatown, and basically survived on sushi. I need to go back to the west coast dreamland to give my food consumption another shot. I seriously have had maybe one successful experience with ordering this creamy dip at a restaurant. It's always the same...avocados, onion, and the tiniest amounts of lime and garlic, if any. My favorite part, tons of cilantro, is usually left out. For some reason, restaurants aren't into adding fresh herbs and spices. It's always so bland, and usually more like an avocado hummus, than a chunky guacamole. 

How good are avocados, by the way? I mean basically a butter substitute, right? Pretty much any dish can be escalated with the addition of some sliced avocado - stir-fry, curry, eggs, toast, chili, soups in general, salad, smoothies, pasta, and my most recent experience, chocolate mousse. A good rule to follow in the kitchen might be this: always add avocado. I'm trying to think of something that would be totally gross with avocado added to it. I was going to say maybe oatmeal, but scratch that. I used to eat my oatmeal (and yogurt) every morning with some mashed up banana, avocado, and cinnamon mixed in. I think I might get back into that like right now. Or maybe I'll make some avocado banana bread. That sounds incredible. Add chocolate? I mean I guess. And while you're dreaming up all the different things you can add this creamy, green superfood to, make some guacamole to feed your brain...


4 ripe and ready avocados, pits removed
1/4-1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (or more) chopped cilantro
2 limes, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon cumin
sea salt, to taste

Mix and mash everything in a medium size bowl. Taste for seasoning (my favorite part). It's better when the flavors have a chance to meld, so I'd recommend letting it sit in the fridge for an hour or so - room temp is fine too. I add a good amount of lime juice, so if I put some plastic wrap directly onto the guacamole before sticking it in the fridge, it usually lasts me a couple days. Just give it a good mix, and any brown spots should go away. 

We  Guacamole!


Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
  •    make friends with someone who has a pool
  •    go to Martha's Vineyard
  •    go to a concert 
  •    read more, preferably on a hammock
  •    make more homemade ice-cream
  •    make popsicles, add booze
  •    go to the Wellfleet drive-in theatre
  •    pack in as many fire pit nights as possible (at my brother's)
  •    visit a pick-your-own blueberry farm, then make this
  •    go to the sandbar, a lot
  •    have a girls weekend in Portland, ME 
  •    eat outside whenever possible 

And most importantly...STOP PINNING, START DOING!!
(Above photos found on Pinterest, ugh)

I hope this inspires some bucket list creation of your own. If anything, it helps with the constant need to make a list of something, then cross things off. BTW, I promise some food in my next post!


Happy 4th of July!

In the wise words of Lana Del Rey... Be young. Be dope. Be proud. Like an American. 
Happy 4th of July!!


My Month in Rewind: June

While June no longer wraps up a long school year with three months of solid vacationing, it still brings lots of great things, most notably, warmer weather. And this June, we had wedding bells to ring in the summer. On June 1st, my brother, Luke, said "I do" to the love of his life, and one of my great friends, Caitlin. With a few straight weekends of gray clouds and thunder showers, Mother Nature was on our side as the wedding weekend approached. And although it could have been a little cooler (first heat wave of the season), the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and besides tears of joy, not a drop of water was felt. Their day was perfectly blissful, and like most weddings, not long enough. I can't wait until Cait gets the photographer's pictures so I can relive their day. I'd say a family dinner and slideshow are in order! Until then, here's a little summer fun...

Wedding Shower Q + A..."What are you most excited for?!"  #mamasboy

Cait + The Bridesmaids

Shower + Bachelorette Party + Rehearsal Dinner

Their photographer was AMAZING! If you don't know Nikki Lanoue of NEW[by Nikki], check her out! I absolutely adore the vintage feel of her photos...the colors, the lighting, the softness, it all works for me. And I love this giant balloon Cait made. She nailed the DIY stuff. 

Cait has the biggest + best laugh


And because nobody ever wants the wedding weekend to end, Cait's parents generously hosted a BBQ the following Sunday afternoon, for the bridal party to heal their hangovers with some summertime fare, and of course, more alcohol. Speaking of BBQ's, my absolute favorite part of summer would have to be the food. While I could pick my favorite foods of just about any season, nothing beats the fresh and local produce offered at this seasons farmer's markets. 

Fresh picked strawberries, please! 

We also celebrated this guy in June - for Father's Day of course! Not that I'm partial or anything, but my dad is the ultimate. He seriously can do it all. If there was ever a Renaissance man, this is the one you want, especially when you need new shelves, some cork flooring, and a complete rebuild of your computer. I don't think the man ever stops reading - which is not a bad way to live. Cheers to you Dad! I love you so much, I made you shrimp scampi (even though it really grossed me out). And you love me so much, I knew you wouldn't mind one of my "healthy" desserts to finish things off. More about the chocolate avocado mousse to come...

Ina Garten's Baked Shrimp Scampi over angel hair pasta - a hit! 

It's a good thing the food selection lightens up a bit come summertime, because beach days are in full swing in my neck of the woods. The neighborhood that I'm lucky enough to call home to is filled with all of my favorite people, and surrounded by the sand and sun. The beach is just a quick roll down my hill and as long as I've piled on the SPF and tucked an umbrella under my arms, that is where you will find all of us...kayaking, sandbar-ing, and grilling our days away. It's the best. 

And just as we opened June with my brother, he closed it out as well, as we celebrated his 28th birthday! We filled our night with lots of delicious cookout food - burgers, dogs, various salads, Mexican street corn, grilled veggies, sliced watermelon, and of course cake! Food is big around here. 

I hope you find your summer off to a great start as well. And it's only just begun! Woohoo!! 

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