Coffee Shop Inspo

When we were galavanting around town enjoying some delish coffee, I had two delish concoctions that I NEEDED to try at home. I decided to put a NuNaturals spin on this, though honestly both required syrup and I only have NuNaturals syrup, so my tastebuds decided for me. πŸ™‚

Mint Julep- Houndstooth Coffee

As much as I love a coffee shot, I knew immediately whilst taking this that my version would not look as cute. First off, this Cerci Lannister goblet is EVERYTHING. Second, they clearly purchased mint in that level of Mario 3 where everything is gargantuan.

Now Houndstooth doesn’t make this recipe a mystery, they shared it online for the Kentucky Derby:


  • Generous dash simple syrup (10 grams) (I used NuNaturals vanilla syrup)
  • 2.5 ounces cold brew concentrate
  • 1.5 ounce club soda (I used Topo)
  • Top with crushed ice (I did not have crushed ice. So I used geometric ice shapes)

Garnish with agitated fresh mint. 

Now I believe my mint was already agitated because it knew it was Joe Pesci compared to the mint at Houndstooth, but for those new on the agitate mint scene, Imbibe Magazine has you covered:

A mint garnish is all about adding aroma to the final cocktail, so it’s important to know about the oil on the underside of the leaf. Ever seen a bartender slap mint in their hands before adding it to the drink? This movement is the quickest and easiest way to express those oils. β€œWe’re allowing the oils to release and make the general environment around the top of the drink great,” Voisey says.

I ordered this the last time I was living in Austin and I thought the barista was making this up when he slapped the mint in his hand. I was like “alright, bro. You do you.” Turns out he reads Imbibe Magazine, I guess…

Here’s my version:

I asked Jon to try it and he liked it so much that I made him one as well. I consider that a job well done. The only thing agitated in this house was the mint. Last agitation, joke. Promise.

Throwback Matcha Cooler- Manana

This drink was the special on the day we went to Manana (part of the South Congress Hotel). I took a picture of just the tea and it came out terribly. Luckily their Instagram had this picture and now I want that reusable straw.

The Throwback Matcha Cooler had:

  • Unsweetened matcha powder (in a water concentrate made in-house)
  • Lavender Syrup
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sparkling Water (they had their own on tap, pics below)

I asked for the ratios of this drink because it was freakin delightful. They said 3oz of the matcha concentrate, 1 oz of lemon juice, a splash of syrup, then the rest was sparkling water. I am not sure why it is a throwback. They had a version with Strawberry lemonade and I imagine some curmudgeonly hipster was all “boooo! play the classics!” so they included the throwback as an option.

Anyways, here is a picture of us enjoying this concoction:

Eerily, my nail polish is almost identical to the George Costanza, er hand model, for Manana.

I had a leg up on the drink lewk because they did not have the goblets and fresh mint like Houndstooth (but what they lacked in those areas they made up for with a TAP OF SPARKLING WATER THAT YOU COULD USE TO HAVE AS MUCH AS YOU WANTED). I want one in my house when I grow up. Here is my version of this tasty beverage:

I used the recipe above, but replaced the lavender syrup with NuNaturals vanilla syrup. Jon said this one was even better than the one we had at the coffee shop. This feels a bit unfair because I served it to him right after he worked out and any cold beverage post-workout tastes like heaven. Here’s a picture of my ingredients:

Since the baristas told me they put the water in last, so I poured the lemon juice and matcha over ice, then finished it with sparkling water. And I don’t know if you noticed, but I used a metal straw like their instagram account. Ballin.

Let me know if you try either of these! πŸ™‚


Michigan Food Tour

Every trip to Michigan feels too short. This one DEFINITELY did because we haven’t been there since 2019 (thanks, Covid…). So I didn’t get to see everyone I normally see OR eat all the staples I normally eat, but I did eat some delish food and wanted to share. I’ll make another similar post over the Holidays when we return.

Sister Pie Grey Ghost

OBSESSED with Grey Ghost. During Covid I kept receiving emails that they were selling burger kits and all I kept thinking was “one day I’ll get that burger.” That day happened in July! We went to Grey Ghost with my bestie Jason (he’s also the person who chooses food pics when I am stuck, so this dinner was actually a meeting of the FULL PhD and Patisserie media team). πŸ™‚

Mocktail: I had the Rock n’ Rye mocktail and it was SO. GOOD. I love when a restaurant has a dedicated mocktail menu because you know they thought things through. I also wasn’t mad about that bendy straw.

The cheeseburger was delightful and melty and the flavor was fantastic. The carrot tartar was so interesting and delightful. The scallion pancake has the best little pals hanging out- bok choy, a spicy sauce, and carrot.

I basically ONLY ate this meal for that day. Not on purpose- but it was probably for the best. Holy cow.

La Pita

For those people reading who are not from/in the Metro-Detroit area, there are THE BEST Mediterranean restaurants in the Dearborn area. At La Pita they have a lunch plate, which you can get all day. Due to this all-day availability, I think it should be called an “Awesome Plate.”

This meal has fattoush salad, a shish tawook (chicken kabob with chicken breast), rice, hummus, and toum (garlic paste). Not pictured: the EXTRA plate of garlic paste and baskets of fresh bread. The REALLY good Mediterranean restaurants have a special oven for bread. Look at this:

Delightful. πŸ™‚

Mexican Gardens Camino Real

We were planning to go to Mexican Gardens to see my cousin, but they were closed for the week. As if there wasn’t a damn parade when people heard we were coming to town. πŸ™‚

The good news was I got to try this place for the first time AND THEY HAD TOPO CHICO. When people drink margaritas I feel like a Topo is the best option to still feel fancy. Here’s my meal and my super cute cousin. She taught me how to braid hair, curl my bangs, play Contra and Super Mario 3, and other important skills.

Kate’s Kitchen

Oh, Kate. She makes pies with lard (and a secret recipe). She makes homemade cinnamon swirl toast that is grilled and topped with icing. GOOD LORD. I also asked for the “Bob Klein eggs.” That’s not what they call them. But my dad used to melt American cheese on eggs and I know they do this at Kate’s.

Sadly, they closed their dining room so we had to get it to go. I am happy to report that the food was just as good when I placed it on my mom’s adorbs dishes (which are the same design I grew up eating off of). πŸ™‚

Candlelight Dinner Powered Dinner with String Lights

My friends Matt and Aya are the most AMAZING people. They are thoughtful, hilarious, great hosts, and were willing to STILL host us when their power went out. We ended up noshing on the delish medditeranean spread you see above. The dessert was amazing matcha pudding made by THEIR 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER who makes macarons that are better than mine. It’s cool. She fed me and I’m not mad about it. πŸ™‚

This pic sums us up pretty well:

TV Diner Red Olive

We met up with UJ and A2 for breakfast. It was supposed to be TV Diner, but by this point you realize that we were really struggling with the locations for planned meals out. Ha! TV diner wasn’t going to open until 9 (we met at 8) so we met down the road at Red Olive. It was a great reason to get a breakfast plate with gyro meat.

Mom’s House

As usual, my mom stocked the fridge with more food than we could ever consume. We even had apples and carrots for the road. We wanted to have a chill last evening in Michigan, so my mom made a delish dinner using the grill: red skin potatoes, baked beans, brats, and grilled veggies.

I also wanted to share a few snacks. I enjoyed my mom’s chips and dip (the sour cream and onion soup mix dip), a TON of fruit salad, and even some little bebe muffins from Meijer.

Fun Fact: my mom ate a lot of ice cream when she was pregnant because she didn’t like milk. My favorite food is ice cream.

We finished the trip with a delightful breakfast (seen above) before heading to Pennsylvania. You’ll see the PA “Food Tour” next Thursday.

Bonus Fun Facts:

  • My mom has several “fake food” items in her house. These were purchased when I was in high school, I believe. The OJ carafe and glasses pictured made me afraid something terrible happened because it was displayed on the counter when I got home from work. I thought “something TERRIBLE must have happened for mom to leave this OJ on the counter!” This was pre-cell phone so I just sat at home hoping for the best.
  • My mom put one of the earliest pictures of me and Jon in a frame that said LOL. She still insists this means “lots of love.”

Thanks for “visiting Michigan,” friends!

Watermelon Collagen Refresher

Hello, Friends!

It is HOT right now. And my favorite thing to eat in the summer when I am warm is watermelon. So I decided to make a refresher using NuNaturals Collagen! πŸ™‚

The ingredients are SO simple, this is barely a recipe. The only thing you need to remember to do is freeze some watermelon and banana.

First, I blended the watermelon and banana with a splash of coconut milk. I continued to add the coconut milk until it was a smooth almost daiquiri-like texture. Then I added the collagen and blended it a little more so it would be evenly incorporated. Enjoy!

Stay hydrated, dudes!

Cold Brew Taste Test (part 2)

How do we like our coffee in Texas summers? ICE COLD! Alright-alright-alright-alright… (I enjoy Outkast as much as iced coffee).

Today’s Iced Coffee Adventure was STRAIGHT UP cold brew. No flavor, no milk. But Naturally I had to spruce up the coffee (seen after our vote). We have four contenders:

Since these were SO similar (no milk or flavors to rank), we decided to just rank them from 1-4. This was the easiest way to separate them. And in true cold brew couple fashion, my fave was the only one Jon would not purchase again. πŸ™‚


  • Jon: 1st place, would buy again
  • Me: 3rd place, would drink if milk sub and stevia was added

Civil Goat

  • Jon: 4th place, would not buy again
  • Me: First place- hells yeah I’d drink this again.

(opposites attract, folks)

Giddy Up!

  • Jon: 3rd place, would buy again
  • Me: 2nd place, would buy/drink again
  • Kirkland

  • Jon: 2nd place, would buy again
  • Me: 4th place, would drink if milk sub and stevia was added
  • My issue with the Kirkland is just that it is SOOOOO strong. I always add milk and stevia to those. Well, I did. Jon hasn’t purchased them in a while. I think it was fun to put this “‘ol standard” with the new dawgs.

    When we ranked the coffees we split them to finish drinking. I was given the Giddy Up and Civil Goat remainders, which were used to make these iced coffee bevs:

    Blue Cowgirl

    I love a blue milk. This was done with spirulina and also some NuNaturals stevia. I whisked them together then poured over the leftover coffee and ice.

    Butters the G.O.A.T.

    This was also coconut milk, but I added some chai syrup and an adorbs pineapple slice because it looks so tropical in that fancy lil bebe coupe glass.

    Thanks for reading! FYI coffee fans: we will be sharing some local coffee shops in August.


    Summer Fruit Chutneys

    Hello, friends!

    While I enjoy summer fruits and a good chutney, I have never actually MADE a chutney. That changed last week when I made the most amazing chutneys using recipes I found online (and modding them slightly to incorporate NuNaturals products and save me some calories.

    White Peach Chutney

    I modified this recipe by using NuNaturals 1:1 sugar and added some chai syrup.

    I happened to make a delicious zucchini bread using Bon Appetite’s recipe in their newest magazine. It had cardamom and turmeric, so I thought this chutney would be an excellent accompaniment.

    I opted to pan-fry a slice of zucchini bread, then smear some plain whipped cream cheese on top. Finally, I added the peach chutney to the top. It was delightful. I do think the onion overpowered the peach here, which was fine in the finished product because I was serving it on a sweet bread. Next time I make this, I may add more 1:1 stevia blend and reduce the amount of red onion. This was my favorite combo and I think those edits would make it next level.

    Strawberry Mint Chutney

    I used this recipe and added some vanilla ginger syrup to it. This was a tart chutney and not overly sweet. I toasted a crostini then smeared some blueberry-vanilla goat cheese on top. I then added the strawberry chutney on top. After taste testing this, Jon and I decided I should drizzle honey on this next time so there’s more of a balance to the mix.

    Taste Test Results

    Because I’m extra, I had to make cute plates for the taste test. Since there were three items, I split them in half. Here is the overall feedback on these treats:

    White Peach Chutney: I needed to lessen the onion amount and add a bit more sugar. Even so, the contrast of the chutney with the sweet bread and the tang of the whipped cream cheese was my favorite combo.

    Strawberry Mint Chutney: Even though I split the onion in half for the two chutneys, the onion was hiding in this mix. It was no match for balsamic and strawberries. I also included some of the greener tops of the strawberry since it was going to be savory anyways.

    Fast App Friday: You can read about this amazinness here. Jon said he’d like to try the honey from this option on the Strawberry Mint Crostini. This and the Strawberry Mint were a tie for me. I loved the textures in this option, but man is a toasted crostini amazing. πŸ™‚

    Epilogue: We ended up eating the rest of the strawberry chutney the next day for a snack, as seen below. The oniony white peach chutney was even stronger on day two so I did not use it for these crostinis. I am thinking of a way to use this and will keep you posted.

    Thanks for reading!


    Fast App Friday Returns!

    When summer hits I have a simultaneous urge to eat LOTS of produce and LOTS of ice cream. Today, I am going to talk about produce.

    The fastest app ever is our friend the crudites.

    If you have veggies and hummus (or ranch or tadziki or any dip you love) then you have this app. You don’t need to cook anything… AND if you’re really feelin super chill you can buy pre-cut veggies. I generally cut my own because for some reason I feel like carrot sticks taste better when I peel and cut the carrots myself. Maybe it is just because they are from Farmhouse and the carrots just taste better anyways? A true mystery.

    There’s so many ways to serve this:

    Netflix Snackie

    This is the most chillaxed version because it is a little bebe party just for you! Throw some produce on a plate or in a tiny bowl, then put some hummus or other dip in the corner. You can also “elevate” this by putting the dip in the bottom and serving in aesthetically pleasing vessels. Which brings us to option 2…

    Fancy Mini Servings for Parties

    Remember when everyone was DELIGHTED that mini cupcakes were a thing? Everyone loves things when they are tiny. While charcuterie has been making the Instagram rounds big time, the pandemic invented jar-cuterie (or individual cups if you do not have a dozen little mason jars sitting around). I mean… these little cups were big during covid for obvious reasons.

    I am always nervous about double-dippers when there’s a veggie assortment and no plates or spoon for the dip. And while I loathe when I am pulling a George Costanza, I often am (as noted below):

    Double dipping is gross- full stop. I won’t with strangers or even family. I also will not share ice cream cones. Get your own, bro.

    These individual cups prevent double-dipping from being gross because the dip is in the bottom of your own cup! So fun and so cute and SO sanitary. πŸ™‚

    Veggie Board

    I would recommend having a little spoon and plates for serving these so the aforementioned double dip grossness does not occur. Speaking of George, if you do not see enough veggies on the menu of the restaurant you’re headed, just pack your own:

    That’s it! That’s the post. Fast app and fast post. Thanks for coming to my second round of:


    Rainbow Cheesecake Bars

    Hello, friends!

    I have made quite a few delights for Pride Month but wanted to make sure I ended the last week pride month with a NuNaturals recipe! This is a modified version of these cheesecake bars. I made them for Jon’s birthday and he enjoyed them immensely. I replaced the sugar with NuNaturals Monk Fruit 1:1 sweetener. This would have been keto, but I decided to use leftover mint girl scout cookies for the crust. πŸ™‚

    I pulsed the cookies in my food processor and added melted butter. Then I smushed it onto a parchment paper-lined square pan and baked it for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. The rest of the ingredients in the first picture made the filling (I only used the egg whites in this recipe and used the yolks for brunch later).

    I have seen rainbow cheesecakes where there’s a layer of white cheesecake and then a layer of swirled rainbow cheesecake on top as a second layer. This recipe is lighter in part because they are cheesecake BARS, not a full cheesecake. So I did not use a white layer below and split all of the cheesecake batter into 6 cups to color.

    One trick to lifting cheesecake bars is to have parchment paper to pull up. I have seen people bake with metal clips on and I plan to eventually. I don’t have any so these adorable chip clips from my mom helped keep things in place while I added the colors. I have seen people do blobs and swirl them. I wanted to make the rainbow colors stripes, but not in ROYGBIV order (they are in order, but they don’t start with red. Which is pretty pink. I digress…). Then I used a knife to swirl the edges of the colors to make it sort of tie-dyed. I think it looked pretty dope:

    See that top piece of parchment that wants to fold in? It did while baking and ruined (what would have been) the perfect shot of the baked cheesecake. Here’s the full pic (followed by a cropped pic to soothe my ego):

    You know what fixes blemishes like that? Whipped cream. And I just happened to have some leftover whipping cream in the fridge. I painted the inside of a pastry bag with rainbow colors then filled it with the whipped cream. Boom. Magic.

    I should also add that this painting technique for piping also is shown off in this Instagram reel when I made these adorbs meringues. I used this recipe and once again subbed sugar for NuNaturals Monk Fruit 1:1 sweetener. You might say this post is full of monk fruit, food coloring, and merriment.

    Happy Pride, y’all! I hope you enjoyed these recipes. I also wanted to share a little highlight of some of the treats I made this month (I didn’t share the Transgender pride flag cookies because I assembled them wrong for the picture. I did make sure to use the flag colors in the unicorns seen on the bottom left though):

    As NuNaturals often inquires, Isn’t Life Sweet?


    Peach Cobbler

    I have to admit something: I have never purchased, cut, or baked a peach. I have eaten peach pie and I am pretty sure I’ve had those peaches in syrup that sometimes get served with school lunches. But that is it. End of line. So when I saw peaches were in my weekly Farmhouse Delivery CSA box, I started to dig around for ideas. This cobbler was the one that was the most intriguing. Next week I’ll be sharing some chutney I made using white peaches.

    This recipe is pretty straight forward. I followed it exactly, other than subbing NuNaturals 1:1 stevia for the sugar. Here are the IKEA assembly pictures:

    Basically, you mix the sugar in with the peaches, add the crumble, and bake. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool for 20 minutes so it can thicken.

    We ate ours with vanilla ice cream and Busy Bee granola on top. 10/10 would make again!

    Thanks for reading!


    Fast App Friday

    I am not going to make Fast App Friday a weekly thing because I have commitment issues, but I DO want to share a fast app or snack when I find one (or in this case make one up in my mind palace).

    I enjoy a cheese board, but I also do not love making a lot of cheese decisions. Like, give me a plate for one with exactly as much charcuterie as I need or I am overwhelmed. And by the end, I am also overeating.

    I really enjoy the “jarcruterie” trend where mini jars were used in an effort to serve people in covid times. I made something similar over the holidays:

    I also made a mini-board during the holidays which covered my need for adorable meats and cheeses in a larger snack (aka mini meal type of way):

    I think that these types of apps are super fun and a great way to play with textures. One texture I am digging right now is granola because Hunt & Gather Foods sent me several to try and I just keep topping all the dang foods with it! πŸ™‚ I was working on some chutney recipes for Me and Jon to taste test (that intel arrives Monday). I had some blueberry goat cheese for that blog post and thought “this flavor combo would be awesome with Busy Bee granola.”

    So, I took 5 crackers out of the freezer (I am frugal like an adorable grandma who lived through the depression- you can store these in the freezer). Then I smeared some spicy pepper jelly on them and topped that with some blueberry-vanilla goat cheese. Then I topped these aborbs treats with granola and drizzled some local honey on top. Behold!

    The textures, salty sweet elements, crunch from the cracker, softness of the cheese…. good lord. These were amazing. And I am OBSESSED with how beautiful the busy bee granola is with the flowers in the mix. Look at the pops of blue! πŸ™‚

    Jon and I both really enjoyed these, even though they weren’t an official part of the chutney taste test. Jon wants to try this combo on a toasted crostini next because I’ve created a monster. Ha!

    No oven needed. No heat at all (other than that amazing pepper jelly). Deliciousness with minimum assembly required. Fast App Friday, y’all.

    (drops mic)


    Granola ain’t just for parfaits, y’all.

    Okay, before I start I must admit that granola is EXCELLENT for it’s general uses like parfaits. Here are some shots of me using Hunt & Gather Granola on parfaits, yogurt bowls, smoothie bowls, or as cereal:

    First off- all of these treats were freaking delightful. When I was recently talking with the mastermind behind H&G we discussed different ways to use granola (other than the perfectly delightful pictures seen above). Here are three uses for granola that aren’t a parfait, smoothie bowl, yogurt bowl, or cereal:

    Fruit and Kale Salad

    I don’t know about y’all, but I am OBSESSED with the Panera Strawberry Poppyseed salad. It is my jam. I wanted to make something similar to that with ingredients I had on hand. The final product was AMAAAAZING! Here are the ingredients:

    • 2 cups of kale, chopped
    • 1/2 cup diced mango
    • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
    • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
    • 1/2 cup Hunt & Gather’s Banana Bread Granola
    • 1/4 cup dried pineapple slices
    • Dressing: 1/3 cup maple syrup, splash of apple cider vinegar, splash of lemon juice, tbsp of olive oil

    To assemble salad, make dressing in a jar so you can shake it to emulsify. Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl (other than H&G granola and pineapple slices). Let the salad sit for about 5 minutes, then top with the H&G amazingness and serve. πŸ™‚

    Banana Pancakes

    This recipe came about because we had some WICKED ripe bananas and I had no interest in turning on the oven to make banana bread (Texas summer, y’all). So I mashed a very ripe banana, then added a bit of kodiak cake mix, water, and cinnamon. I kept playing with the ratios until it was a pancake consistency. This made two servings of two pancakes. Then I pan-fried another ripe banana with a drizzle of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon. The pancakes were topped with the fried banana slices and Hunt & Gather’s Banana Bread Granola.

    Recipe Ingredients:

    • 2 ripe bananas (one for mashing one for slicing and frying)
    • 1/3 cup Kodiak cake mix (add more if consistency is too watery)
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1 tsp cinnamon (half for pancake batter and half for frying banana slices)
    • 1 tbsp Honey
    • 1/3 cup Hunt & Gather’s Banana Bread Granola

    To assemble: I put two pancakes on each plate. Then I topped them with the fried banana slices and granola. You can add cool whip or whipped cream on top of you wish. The ripe bananas were so sweet that we didn’t need to add syrup to these.

    SO good!!!

    Peach Cobbler

    I wanted to use the busy bee granola on my peach cobbler. Initially I thought about using the granola as part of the crumble I baked in the oven, but I was worried that the BEAUTIFUL flower petals would lose their vibrant color when heated up. Instead, I spooned the warm peach cobbler into bowls, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and put the busy bee granola on top. Delightful!

    Thanks for reading. If you haven’t tried Hunt and Gather’s granola yet, here’s where to find it. My favorites right now are the rainbow granola and the red velvet. But even while typing that I’m not sure I can leave out busy bee or Mexican hot chocolate or banana bread… maybe collect them all like Pokemon cards?