Caramels! Get Your Caramels!

Hey party people! The holidays are right around the corner, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you more about my latest business venture. I touched on it briefly in my last post, but now that my online store is up and running (and killing it!), you should totally check it out!

If you haven't guessed from looking at the pics and my ever-so-subtle post title, I now make gourmet caramels - Sheep's Milk Caramels, to be exact! Why sheep's milk, you may ask? Well, it's naturally sweeter and slightly nuttier than cow's milk, that's why! 

These aren't your regular run-of-the-mill, rip-out-your-fillings, overly-processed caramels. No way! Each batch of buttery soft caramels is handcrafted using all-natural ingredients, while opting for brown rice syrup over gross high fructose corn syrup. And what about that sheep's milk? Well, it comes from the fluffiest, happiest sheep who live on a lush, picturesque farm right here in Colorado. Duh. 

Back to the holiday talk. Who wouldn't want to receive one of these cute little jars as a gift? I mean really! Check out my online store, like us on Facebook, eat some caramels, tell some friends, and then eat some more caramels! 

Thanks guys! And happy holidays!!!


Ciao for Now

With "ciao" meaning both hello and goodbye, it's the perfect title for this post. First of all, hello! It's been a while! My summer has been pretty exciting, filled with tons and tons of travel. Likely excuse, I know. But, but, but, I've also been super busy working on a new business venture. It seems that writing this blog has led me to discover what I actually want to do with my life, but more on that later! I'd like to thank everyone for your kind emails, tweets, and blog shout-outs during my hiatus. I sincerely hope that your summers have been full of excitement and exploration too! 

Second of all, goodbye! Yup, I'm leaving on a jet plane...again. Thomas and I are packing up and heading to Italy for our 5th anniversary. These have been the absolute BEST years of our lives, and what better place to celebrate than in paradiso Italiano? If anyone has recommendations for Venice or Lake Como, don't be shy and let me know! Hey, that rhymes! I hope to return teeming with fun stories, scenic pictures, and of course, new recipes! Ciao for now!


Authentic Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

I am from Maryland.

I know crab cakes.


Authentic Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

Makes 4 large crab cakes

1 pound lump crab meat
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 Saltines, crushed
Pinch of freshly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Pinch sea salt
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire, Old Bay, egg, lemon juice, Saltines, and parsley. Mix until combined. Gently stir in the crab meat. Be careful not to shred or break it up too much (that’s not the Maryland way). Spray a glass dish with cooking spray. Carefully spoon the crab mixture onto the dish, forming four crab cakes. Don’t use your hands and compact them (again, that’s not the Maryland way). Brush each crab cake with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, and then broil for an extra few minutes until golden brown. You can, of course, fry them in oil or pan-sear them if you'd prefer. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Butternut Squash Fries w/ Maple-Miso Mayo

I’m happy to say that eating French fries is not one of my vices – sweets are more my style. Making a healthy alternative for French fries may seem strange since I don’t even eat them, but I do happen to be totally addicted to butternut squash. Typically, when Thomas is away on business and I am left to my own devices, it is not uncommon for me to go to the market and grab the largest butternut squash I can find and lug it home for dinner. Yes, I’ve eaten a two-pound squash all on my own. So what? For this recipe, I turned my squash into fries and added a yummy maple-miso mayo to dip them in. Maybe I’ll make this recipe again when Thomas is actually around to enjoy it with me. Or, maybe not.

Butternut Squash Fries w/ Maple-Miso Mayo


1 butternut squash
½ teaspoon corn starch
Cooking spray
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayo
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon white miso paste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the round bottom off the squash and save it for another use like soup. Peel the long top part and dice into French fry shapes. Toss with corn starch until absorbed. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, lay out the fries in a single layer, and spray again with cooking spray. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Cooking time may vary based on the thickness of the fries.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, maple syrup, and miso paste. Serve the fries immediately with the mayo dipping sauce. Do not stack them on a plate because they will get soggy quickly. Enjoy!


Coconut Shrimp Gratin

It seems like the benefits of coconut oil are everywhere these days. After using it to care for my dry skin and hair for months, I decided to use it properly for once and cook with it. Go figure. This dish is a play on the ever-popular coconut fried shrimp, but I’ve side-stepped the pesky breading and frying process. And, contrary to its alternative, coconut shrimp gratin is über nutritious thanks to the healthy fats found in the coconut oil. Panko breadcrumbs and toasted coconut make a deliciously crunchy topping that certainly won’t have you missing the fried version. In fact, the only thing that’s missing is the moisture in my skin and hair. Go figure.

Coconut Shrimp Gratin
Serves 2


2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil (found in health stores)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
¼ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg white
½ pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Splash lemon juice
Parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a non-stick pan over medium heat, toast the shredded coconut until slightly golden and then set aside. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, lemon juice, parsley, breadcrumbs, salt, egg white, and shredded coconut. Stir until combined. (Note: coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you can soften it first with a spoon or quickly warm it in the microwave.)

Divide the shrimp between two 4 ½ inch ramekin dishes. Add a splash of lemon juice and then top with the breadcrumb topping. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Broil for a few extra minutes to brown the topping, if necessary. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

P.S. If you like this recipe, try my Coconut-Ginger Quinoa with Carrots and Shrimp. Click here for the recipe!


Roasted Haricots Verts Salad

Our recent trip to Paris had me thinking about bistro fare. We came across a very simple salade de haricots verts on pretty much every menu. Haricots verts are green beans. If you’re French, you say it that way – or if you’re fancy. This salad is fancy. It not only has haricots verts, but roasted haricots verts, along with goat cheese, walnuts, and shallots. I whipped up a simple salad dressing for it, but I’m going to call it a vinaigrette just to make it sound fancy too. Roasted Haricots Verts Salad makes a great starter or side dish and despite its fancy name, it’s incredibly easy to prepare. Bon appétit!
Roasted Haricots Verts Salad
Serves 2


Olive oil
½ pound French green beans
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Handful toasted walnuts

1 tablespoon champagne, white wine, or sherry vinegar
½ shallot, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt & cracked pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the beans. You can trim the ends if you’d like, but I like the rustic look with them whole. Toss beans in a bit of olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Meanwhile, pour vinegar into a mixing cup. Add the shallots and let them sit to pickle a bit. Add mustard after a few minutes and then whisk in the olive oil.

Toss the roasted beans with the vinaigrette and top with crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper and enjoy!


I love Paris in the winter...

And, we’re back! Paris was absolutely wonderful. Despite the record low temperatures, Thomas and I managed to stay warm in cozy cafes with plenty of French onion soup, spiced wine, and enough butter to make even Paula Deen gasp. Watching snow fall around the Eiffel Tower from inside an adorable bistro wasn’t too shabby either. It seemed as if we were looking into a Parisian snow globe. One of the benefits of visiting Paris in the winter is the absence of tourists. We were the only Americans for miles, apart from our time at Versailles or Père Lachaise Cemetery. Yes, I celebrated my birthday with a bunch of dead people (Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, etc). This trip had quite a different feel from our last time in Paris, which was during autumn, but like the song says, “I love Paris every moment – every moment of the year.”