Almond Date Latte

Almond Date Latte

 

Almond Date Latte featuring Wicked Joe Coffee

This almond date latte is a recipe my husband created a few months ago while on the Whole 30 diet and we have been making and drinking it every morning since.

Sugar and sweeteners are omitted on this diet so those who like their coffee a little sweet need to get a little creative.

The Whole 30 diet is based on specific whole foods. When we saw dates were acceptable that was the answer to adding some sweetness to the coffee.

When I was offered a sample of the Sumatra blend coffee from Wicked Joe, I thought it would be great to try it in this recipe.

The Sumatra blend is a delicious coffee with notes of dense chocolate and spices which pair perfectly with the cinnamon and coconut oil that goes into the recipe.

Wicked Joe is a family-owned coffee company based in Maine serving up 100% certified organic, fair trade and non-GMO verified coffees.

They roast their beans in a state of the art energy efficient facility using sustainable business practices from crop-to-cup. To complement their sustainable business practices all of Wicked Joe coffee beans are purchased directly from farmers and cooperatives across the globe.

Wicked Joe offers a variety of blends and single origin coffees which include Sumatra, Honduras, Bali, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and more. The Wicked Joe single origin varietals are imported directly from the country from which they are grown and are not blended with other coffees.

This latte recipe is super easy and delicious. We like to use almond milk but you can use any milk you like. If you are trying to keep it Whole 30 compliant though, you will need to skip any milk with dairy in it.

Print
Almond Date Latte
Servings: 2 16 oz Cups
Author: Sharm
Ingredients
  • 6 Pitted Whole Dates
  • 2 Cups Almond Milk
  • 3 Cups Brewed Coffee
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Brew your favorite coffee

  2. Pour milk into microwave safe mug or dish and add dates. Be sure to remove any pits in the dates. Even if you buy pre pitted dates, a pit can be hiding every now and then so double check them carefully.
  3. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until milk is warm and dates are soft. You can also do this on the stove top. Just combine milk and dates in saucepan and heat until milk is warm and dates are soft.
  4. Add coffee, date and milk mixture, cinnamon and coconut oil into blender. I recommend a Vita Mix.

    Place a towel over the top lid in case the coffee leaks out the top when blending.

    Start blender on low speed to get it going and then increase to high. Blend until smooth.

  5. Using a large spoon, block the foam while pouring into mugs. Pour coffee about an inch from the top of the mug. Then top with desired amount of foam.
  6. If your mixture seem a little grainy and it bothers you blend a little longer. You can also place a fine mesh strainer over the mug while pouring in coffee.

    Enjoy!

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The Fat Burning Margarita

The Fat Burning Margarita

This fat burning mocktail with apple cider vinegar will get your morning off to a great start and make your digestion system happy too.

I have been hearing a lot lately about apple cider vinegar and how it can help boost your metabolism. I was just shooting it strait in a shot glass, until I went on Tosca Reno’s Wellness Retreat. That is where I learned about Wetter Water. The addition of salt adds electrolytes and the lemon or lime juice makes it quite a bit more palatable and helps add some vitamin C into your diet.

I have been trying to drink this consistently for the past month along with eating pretty clean and it has help me shed about 5 pounds. My girlfriend and I are following a plan we are calling the Slow 30.  It is a program we made up that follows the Whole 30 way of eating with the addition of having a cocktail or wine on the weekend. I have also been lifting heavier weights using a program by Pancakes and Pushups.

I have finally got my husband drinking it and he is dropping weight as well. He loves cocktails so I have named this drink the Wetter Water Margarita. Fresh lemons or limes are best when available but you could certainly use bottled juice. Just make sure there is no sugar in it.  I have a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge and throw a shot of that in the concotion when I am out of fruit. Be sure and buy the apple cider vinegar that says “with the mother” on the label. The amount of water in the recipe is just a recommended amount. I can drink it pretty strong and like to get down so I only use about a half cup of water. If that seems to strong for you, feel free to dilute it your liking by adding more water.

If you want to shed a few pounds adding a Wetter Water Margarita to your daily regimen of healthy eating and exercise will help.

Print
Wetter Water Margarita
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
Servings: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 whole fresh lemon or lime, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp course sea salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with the mother
  • 1/2-1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in glass of choice. Mix well and drink.

 

Giveaway from Larkburger ~ A Fast Casual Concept Perfect for the Whole Family

Giveaway from Larkburger ~ A Fast Casual Concept Perfect for the Whole Family

When Chef Thomas Salamunovch of the fine-dining restaurant Larkspur in Vail, Colorado had a desire to bring fine dining to the masses, the fast-casual concept of Larkburger was born.

Larkburger is a Colorado based fast-casual gourmet burger chain that is quickly expanding beyond it’s borders. Overland Park, Kansas is the first city outside of Colorado to score this restaurant which opened in early 2017.  Another location is in the works for the Missouri side just off of the County Club Plaza in Kansas City.

I recently had the chance to try it out thanks to a couple of “free burger” cards they sent me.

Guess what? They want to give you some too along with some other Larkburger swag. Two winners are eligible for that and details are below, but first here are the details on the menu and some really cool things you should know about Larkbrger.

The menu is diverse and a perfect place to take the whole family. From burgers to kale and a few things in between everyone can get something they like. I think one of my favorite options is the steamed edamame.

Larkburger Edamame. Chicken and Tuna burgers

Although, I am a sucker for fries, which are hand-cut in-house and are amazing, it is nice to have an unfired option when I am trying to cut back on calories.

The day I visited I had to grab a to go order for my son and I. The sweet girl taking my order was so patient with me as I could not decide what salad to get. I finally decided on the kale salad.

I knew my son would go for a burger but being the picky eater he is I knew I had to order it plain. I got him the traditional Larkburger with meat, cheese and bun which means he missed out on the special sauce which is made from scratch and what I think is the best part! All burgers are cooked to order at your desired temperature and of course served however you want it. All of Larkburgers sauces and dressings that accompany their array of burgers, sandwiches and salads are made in-house using only the freshest ingredients.

Although, I scored a bite of the burger which was tasty even without the sauce, I really enjoyed the kale salad and appreciate the diversity of the menu items Larkburger offers. It makes it super easy for carnivores and vegetarians alike to both order something that will satisfy their appetite. As I mentioned before it is great place to take the whole family. Not only do kids under 12 eat free on Monday’s with an adult purchase, it allows mom who may be watching what she eats get something satisfying when the rest of the family is craving burgers and fries.

I do need to mention that although a burger is going to have more calories then kale, you don’t need to feel as guilty if you indulge in one at Larkburger. The burgers are fresh and made from local Black Angus beef. That in itself is already going to be lower in calories than the average processed fast food burger that is shipped frozen from who know where.

Everything is fresh at Larkburger including the tomatoes which ripen in an in-house cabinet until they are at peak flavor and the house-cut fries are cooked in a trans free canola oil.

The Larkburger with Hand-Cut Fries

 

I recently attend a blogger event they had and got a little swag myself along with some tasty samples.

Larkburger Swag

 

Larkburger Chili

Larkburger Rocket Power Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larkburger Salted Caramel Shake

Apart from having great food, Larkburger is also kind to the environment and takes sustainability seriously.  Outside of the condiment packets and juice and milk cartons, everything is compostable. Every napkin, utensil, wrap, cup, bag, box and straw! The size of the restaurant trash can is no larger than a 9×13 baking dish. The space and decor is sleek and clean with the chairs made from recycled materials and the walls are reclaimed cypress wood. In addition, their fry oil is recycled and converted into alternative fuel and 100% of the electricity usage is offset by purchased wind credits.

Larkburger Decor

Larkburger also is committed to supporting local and will source beer and soda from the region the restaurant is in to serve at that location. For a list of all Larkburger location visit their website.

Now in order to get free burgers and swag from Larkburger all you have to do is comment below on how you top your burger!

Two winners will be drawn using random. org from the number of entries. Example first commenter is number on and so on. Contest ends midnight Monday, June 12.  Winners will be notified via email so be sure to leave a valid email with your comment. Good Luck!

 

 

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie with Sea Salt

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie with Sea Salt

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adding a sprinkle of Fleur de sel or French sea salt on top just before baking elevates the flavor of these already perfect chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

The original recipe comes from a Betty Crocker Cookbook I received as a wedding gift back in 1991. As my cooking skills increased and passion for elevating flavors in dishes developed, I took the liberty of making up my own version of this cookie recipe and it has been a hit ever since. These cookies are my families favorites and as you can tell by the recipe it has been tweaked to my standards of perfection and used often.

I promise after one bite you will know what makes them so special. You’re friends will be in awe of how delicious they are but not quite being able to put their finger on what makes them so delicious.

The secret is the sprinkling of sea salt on the cookies before baking. Here is a quick video on how I made them.  I have revised the recipe since this video was made and although they come out okay with two eggs, I find that using just one egg makes the dough a little stiffer and the cookies are not as flat. The recipe you will be using below calls for only one egg.


I hope you try out the recipe. Comment below if you did!  I promise they will become your families favorite as well!

Print
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
Prep Time
11 mins
Cook Time
11 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 12 ounce chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp French sea salt (Fleur de sel)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Cream together butter, sugars, vanilla and egg until thoroughly mixed.

  3. In separate bowl mix together baking soda, salt and flour.
  4. Add flour mixture 1 cup at a time to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Stir until well combined.

  5. Add in chocolate chips and stir until chips are evenly distributed throughout dough.
  6. Scoop dough onto parchment lined or lightly spray cookie sheet or baking stone. Sprinkle a pinch of the French sea salt over tops. Bake 11 -12 minutes

  7. Remove from oven and let set a minute or two on cookie sheet before removing to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Using a 2" cookie scoop will yield 2 1/2 dozen cookies and 1" scoop will yield 5 dozen.

 

 

Almond Butter Protein Smoothie

Almond Butter Protein Smoothie

This protein packed smoothie is delicious and will give you energy all day. I drink this one a lot after a workout and it is my daughters favorite.

Videos seem to be the way of the future but I do not have time to make those fancy ones with all of the editing! What you see is what you get! There will be no double takes and this is the real me. My goal is to keep them under 2 minutes so you can get the jest of the recipe without a lot of rambling.

You could certainly use any nut butter and milk you prefer. If you like cashews try this Cashew and Banana Smoothie or swap out the almond butter here for cashew butter.

I use Orgain  brand protein powder. It is taste great and is about the purest I have found. I love Costco and get everything from there. If you don’t have one near by you can still order online. The almond milk, almond butter and Orgain protein powder can be ordered from costco.com  or you can get them in the warehouse along with the greens and bananas.  I don’t have any affiliation any of the highlighted links, it is just my way of getting you the info on what I like.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
2 tablespoons almond butter or nut butter of choice
2 handful mixed greens
1 banana
1 serving protein powder of choice
1/2 cup ice cubes

Place milk in blender first, then add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Makes 1 serving

Chicago Dining Guide for Local Fare

Chicago Dining Guide for Local Fare

This Chicago dining guide for local fare just highlights some of my favorite spots. If you are serious foodie like me and are spending the day in Chicago, I recommend adding these to your list to check out while visiting. Most of these places fill up quickly so it is best to get your reservation in at least a few days ahead of time if not weeks before dining.

Click on the restaurants link for directions, hours and menu information

Breakfast/Brunch: Farmhouse

The Farmhouse Chicago, Stuffed French Toast

The Farmhouse Chicago, Stuffed French Toast

This locally owned cafe is located a few minutes from downtown but feels like an old rustic small town cafe you might find in the middle of Iowa. The decor will take you back to your Grandma’s childhood kitchen with antique furnishings and appliances placed throughout the space. Dishes are prepared using local and seasonal ingredients from area producers as well as the restaurants owners farm.

Must try: Stuffed French Toast with extra syrup

Lunch: Fronterra Grill

Frontera Grill Sopecitos Rancheros

Fronterra Grill owned by Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, is always on my list when visiting the windy city. The elevated Mexican fare is like non other. Rick is passionate about using produce and meats from local farms. The flavor combinations he uses in his dishes set Fronterra Grill apart from any other Mexican restaurants I have tried.

Must try: Sopecitos Rancheros

Snack: Garret’s Popcorn Shop

A visit to Chicago is not complete without a visit to the iconic Garrett’s Popcorn Shop. Once in the door the caramel corn aroma will have your mouth watering. I prefer the Almond Caramel Crisp, but the Garrett Mix that combines sweet Caramel Crisp with savory Cheese Corn is the most popular.

Must try: Garret’s Mix

Dinner: The Girl and The Goat

The Girl and The Goat

Get your reservation in early for The Girl and The Goat owned by celebrity chef Stephanie Izzard.  The dishes are served family style, which make them ideal for sharing. Most come in the “small plate” format so it is ideal to go with a group to try a variety of things. The restaurant serves only dinner and opens at 4:30 pm. This makes a great spot if you are need of dining late as it does not close until 11 pm Sunday – Thursday and 12 am Friday and Saturday.

Must try: Chickpea Fritter

The Girl and The Goat, Chickpea Fritter

The Girl and The Goat, Chickpea Fritter