Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice French Toast

It seems that as soon as Starbucks starts selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes I begin to see the world through Pumpkin Spice binoculars, and according to my Instagram feed so does the rest of the world. Are you all as obsessed with Pumpkin Spice as I am? Well I hope you are because these French Toast are pretty darn delicious and healthy if I may add. It’s finally starting to cool off here in Southern California, looks like we might start getting a taste of fall before Christmas… Believe me when I say that I am not exaggerating!

Who is ready for fall? I am! I’m so ready. I’m looking forward to cooler weather, not drenching my clothes is sweat (tmi maybe?) , layers, crips air, not having to water my garden everyday, and most importantly not feeling like I am going to die of heat stroke every-time we shoot an outside wedding.

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Ingredients

2 slices of Udi’s Gluten Free Bread3 eggs1 cup of Almond Milk1 tbsp of Pumpkin Spice 1 tbsp of Pumpkin Puree1 tsp of good Vanilla extract Pomegranate Seeds (optional) Organic Pure Maple or Agave Syrup Coconut Oil for Cooking

Directions

Place the milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin spice seasoning in a bowl and whisk until all ingredients are well incorporated. Once the mixture is ready dip the bread in and allow it to soak some of the mixture, make sure you get both sides. Spray coconut oil on a hot griddle and place the bread. Allow it to cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Top the french toast with pomegranate seeds and sweeter of your choice. This is such a delicious way to enjoy french toast and is kinda guilt free!

Be Inspired

Anyone else looking forward to Fall as much as I am…I love Fall. It’s one of my favorite seasons. Everything about the season inspires me – the colors, textures, garden, and pumpkin spice lattes. I will be working on making some colorful and delicious meals inspired by my favorite season.

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Coffee Talk – Lift Coffee Roasters

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If you follow me on Instagram you probably know that I have an obsessions with coffee shops and great coffee. I have been cultivating this obsession for quite some time, I grew up in a home where coffee was a vital part of our existence. The kettle whistled every morning from the kitchen as my mother made “cafe con leche” to accompany breakfast. Now that I think about it that’s probably the reason why I couldn’t stop talking in class.

All celebrations in our home started or ended with a cup of coffee. Coffee is a drink of tradition in Latin America. It has both a humble and royal place in history. Today, there is a thriving coffee culture, sourcing, roasting, and brewing coffee in ways most of us would have never imagined. Lift Coffee Roasters open its doors a few weeks ago and the husband and I have already spent quite some time drinking, enjoying, and talking about their coffee like we know what we are doing.

It seems that Lift will be the place where the cool kids in Riverside will go when they are feeling tired and un-caffenaited. With its cool vintage industrial vibe and cool brewing methods, I know what you are thinking “intimidating!” but actually it was far from. Everyone seemed pretty chill and completely focuses in getting whatever it was that they where doing down to perfection. We waited in line and watched as people collected their foamy and perfectly designed lattes. But what I was interested in was the Black Coffee the Good Old Joe. First time around they were still brewing the “cold brew” so I was not able to get any disappointing I know! Then I decided to order the “iced pour over” and I was pleasantly surprised with my perfect cup of flavor, clarity, and balance. I said it on Instagram and I will say it again “best iced coffee I’ve had in a while.” Overall our experience was a positive one, the only complaint was the time we had to wait for our drinks. The hubs ordered a Mocha and I ordered Iced Coffee and a peanut butter cookie. We got the cookie when we paid, then about 10 minutes later I got my iced coffee (not bad) but my husband did not get his Mocha until way way later. I actually went to the bar twice to ask for it. There seemed to be a bit of confusion going on (I attribute this to them being new and getting use to it all) we ended up getting the Mocha 30 or so minutes after, the barista was kind enough to bring it to our table. Both drinks were delicious, no complaints there. This place is pretty great and I truly believe that the delay in drinks was due to them being new, no biggie.

Plus the store is absolutely gorgeous and the baked goods look great and I know for a fact that their peanut butter cookie is quite amazing!

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Lets all hope and pray that Lift does not become one of those place where you feel scared to order a cup of coffee…we have all been there and we all know what I am talking about. Dear Coffee Shops of the world you are never to cool or too good to acknowledge your patrons. After all their hard earned dollars add up…

Oven Roasted Chicken

The crispy, well-seasoned skin of a roast chicken is one of life’s finer things. And that smell…ohhh Lord, don’t even get me started on that smell. Who doesn’t love the smell of a roasting chicken?  Savory and sweet a smell that reminds me of my childhood and the time when my mother went through a “lets make roast chicken every night phase.” I know if you are in the local area you are probably wondering “what in the world possessed her to roast a chicken in this hellish weather…its been over 100 degrees out here people. The desire to drink a cold orange wheat beer from Hangar 24, that’s what got into me. Hangar 24 Orange Wheat beer taste exactly how you expect an orange beer to taste. It has the perfect blend of fresh natural oranges and beer.This beer is a perfect addition to a roasted chicken. While the chicken is dry roasting on the outside, the chicken is being bathed with steamy beer that is slightly tart and filled with crisp orange flavors. The beer keep the chicken meat fragrant and wonderfully moist. The result is tender, falling-off-the-bone meat, encased in salty, herby, crispy skin.

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Ingredients:
1 Medium-Sized Chicken, innards removed
Juice From 1 Orange
1 Yam, peeled & cut into roughly 2-inch chunks
1 Orange, cut into 8 slices
1 Bottle Hangar 24 Orange Wheat
2 Springs Fresh Rosemary, whole
1/4 Cup Butter (solid), plus 3 tablespoons (melted)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Orange Zest
Salt to Taste
Freshly Ground Pepper
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, and honey. Pour 1/2 the mixture in a chicken-sized roasting pan and toss with the yams, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash, orange slices, 1 teaspoon of the chopped rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix and set aside. Next rub down the chicken with the remaining olive oil mixture, inside and out. Then rub the remaining chopped rosemary, orange zest, salt, and pepper onto the chicken, rub it really well on the skin and the inside as well, this is key. Place the chicken in the roasting pan and arrange the yams (or whatever you are using) and orange slices around the chicken. Place the rest of the butter inside the chicken and under the skin. Place the leftover rosemary springs inside the chicken as well. Pour the Hangar 24 Orange Wheat and orange juice around the chicken, do not pour over the chicken since it would wash off the rub.

Style Me Pretty – Grandma’s Favorite Recipe Contest

Last week I received some great news! My Cherry Galette recipe made the top 10 finalist on the Style Me Pretty Living blog “Grandma’s Favorite Recipe Constest.” Say that 10 times… As a wedding photographer Style Me Pretty is kind of a rock-star! Knowing that my humble recipe inspired by the lessons and stories that my mom shared with me when I was a little girl is humbling and amazing! Please head on over to Style Me Pretty and vote for me! I promise that it will not take longer that half a second. All you have to do is leave the word V O T E. The person with the most votes wins!

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Zucchini Noodles

A few weeks ago the hubs and I road tripped it out to the beautiful Central Coast with open hearts and open minds. Friends if you have never been to the Central Coast you need to seriously start packing now! Its a beautiful area that we absolutely love!  We stayed in Shell Beach and spent a few days visiting Morro Bay, Montana de Oro, Pismo Beach, and Downtown San Luis Obispo. We headed out there to visit our dear friends Aaron and Sarah, they are serving with YWAM Pismo Beach and we were lucky enough to spend a few days with them in their new home. Unlike most of our trips we actually did a lot home cooking in this one and it was a welcome changed. Sarah and I made a delicious bowl of zucchini noodles with roasted veggies and tomato sauce. I was lucky enough to have my husband document the process while I was completely unaware, the joys of being married to a photographer. I have been living on variations of this recipe since starting the 21 Day Detox. It really is delicious and makes perfect use of the abundance of zucchini that’s in my garden!

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1 – medium Zucchini
1 – Yellow Squash
Assortment of veggies
Organic Marinara Sauce
Olive Oil
1 tbsp  fresh herbs
salt
pepper

Directions

Run a vegetable julienne peeler down the length of  the zucchini and squash , creating long strips (“noodles”). Add salt, pepper, herbs, and drizzle with Olive Oil. Steam or microwave for 2 minutes.

In a sheet pan place your favorite veggies, add salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. If you vegatables require more time leave them in the oven a little longer.

Toss the veggies and noodles with your favorite pasta sauce.

21 Day Detox – Gluten Free Pancakes

Well I am on day 7 of my 21 day detox. Let me tell you it hasn’t been easy the no coffee part has been killing me just a “bit” seriously caffeine withdrawals are serious folks! But that is not to say that I’ve been miserable throughout this journey it’s actually been pretty amazing, getting to know my body better and learning that there are foods that I can simply do without, is helping me become a better me, can I get an Amen! This journey is pushing me in so many many ways and I am excited to share it with you all! Remember this journey is being shared via images from my iPhone, my usual images will be back after the detox!

This week I made gluten – free pancakes two times and the first time I didn’t enjoy them as much because I really missed the agave sweeter that I usually drown them in. But this morning they tasted amazing!!! Could it be that my body and mind are starting to ween of sugar? Or was I just really hungry!

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Much of what I put in my body is out of habit and breaking the coffee habit hasn’t been easy. Yesterday I almost broke but instead I had an Evolution Fresh Carrot/Orange juice with Raw protein powder. The barista at my local Starbucks was awesome enough to blend it for me frappe style! Better yet I have been saving money since the husband and I have not been making coffee stops every day…

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Gluten Free Pancakes
– 2 cups Almond Flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tbsp of good vanilla or
– 1 tsp of pumpkin spice mix
– 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
– 2 eggs
– 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil
– 1 to 1 1/2 cups of almond milk or water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Then add in the already whisked and incorporated wet ingredients. Whisk dry and wet ingredients thoroughly, until batter is smooth. The batter should not be thick. If you feel that your batter is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water or almond milk at a time until the batter has smoothed out.

Heat skillet on medium-high heat and add organic coconut oil for greasing, enough to grease entire pan generously. I use a stainless steel skillet.

Test the skillet with drops of water. If it sizzles, your skillet is ready.

Pour about 3/4 cup of pancake batter on to the heated skillet Repeat.

Add some blueberries.

Once tiny bubbles form in your pancake, carefully flip with a thin metal spatula. Cook a minute or two. Do not over cook! Overcooking gluten-free pancakes will make them tough.

If the batter thickens as it stands, add a few more tablespoons of water to thin it out.

Serve with fresh blueberries and almond butter.

Make sure you eat these right off the skillet, gluten-free pancakes will get tough after awhile.

21 Day Detox – via iPhone

On Monday I started a 21 day detox with the guidance of Bobbi from nHershoes fitness and Amanda from RuntotheFinish. It’s no secret that I have been working on cleaning up my eating habits and really stepping up my fitness routine and I figured that this challenge would help me set and meet short term goals. I will be eating 100% clean, no alcohol, no sugar, no processed foods, and sadly no COFFEE! It won’t be easy I know that but thankfully August will be a slow month in comparison to July and September. Therefore I’ll have better control of what I put in my body! I will be sharing this journey through images captured via my iPhone. This will give me an opportunity to share some of my favorite editing apps with you all! Last night I made a Roasted Strawberry Chia Seed Jam that’s quite amazing! It’s also pretty easy to make. Clean and dice one pound of strawberries and place them in the over for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, you will know when they are ready because your home will smell amazing! The smell of roasted strawberries is sweetly intoxicating! Cool and blend the strawberries in your food processor. Add 1/4 of a cup of chia seeds and let the mixture sit in a mason jar over night. You can stop here or you can add wildflower honey to sweeten.  In the morning you will have fresh jam! Enjoy! I top brown rice cakes with the jam and organic almond butter, snack heaven!

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DIY Cold Brew

It’s Wednesday. And whether that is a good thing or the dreaded mid-week  I have an amazing iced coffee recipe that I know will make Wednesday skip right into Friday and the much awaited weekend, unless you are a wedding photographer and well we know how that goes…but I hope that it  brightens up your “case of the Wednesdays!” I am a coffee addict/snob/habitual drinker/etc and during the hot months I crave nothing more than an iced coffee, but lets face it they get expensive fast! My local shop sells them for 3-4 bucks a pop. Why can’t we all just be millionaires? I have been messing around with different combinations for the perfect cold brew and I think this one is kind of close! You can thank me later.

For this brew I used a large mason jar + 2 cups of coarse and freshly ground coffee, I prefer a Central American or African bean but feel free to use whatever you prefer. Place the coffee in the mason jar and fill with filtered water. Place the lid, shake, and let it steep over night – 24 hrs. Pour over ice and dress it up as you wish. If its too strong for you use less coffee. I used my chemex to filter my coffee, if you dont have a chemex you can use cheese cloth. I drink mine black or with almond milk.