How to Get the Most Out of Your First Farmers’ Market

Looking to check out your local farmers’ market but not sure where to start on buying etiquette? It’s from local family farms so it’s safe to assume it’s organic, right? Can you get a deal on buying in bulk? All of your questions answered here!

How to Get the Most Out of Your First Farmers' Market

Warm Spiced Pear Protein Smoothie

Warm Spiced Pear Protein Smoothie

Now I could go on about how busy things are these days and about how I’m sorry I haven’t checked or written any posts for a while, but let’s just skip all that- it’s nothing you haven’t heard before.

Warm Spiced Pear Protein Smoothie

With fall being unquestionably here, I’ve gone into full “pumpkin spice” mode (sorry, no lattes for me- not a coffee gal!). I feel that “pumpkin spice” is more about the scent than the actual taste itself -and let’s be real: most things labeled “pumpkin spice” flavor taste like chemicals. When I think of fall, I think of baking and spices and wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen, filling the whole house.

In my little apartment, I have cinnamon soaked brooms and smokey “wood fire” scented candles. And of course, there’s lots of baking. For me, fall is about comfort but without the indulgence of the winter holidays.

Warm Spiced Pear Protein Smoothie

These days I find myself with many things afoot. I recently found myself in the enviable -depending on who you are- position of having too many pears. During this time, I also found myself in the unenviable position of getting sick. Woo hoo- colds have been going around!

Warm Spiced Pear Protein Smoothie

With feeling ill and less on top of my game as usual, I’ve been craving warm, comforting foods. Fall Harvest Oatmeal with Pears has come to mind more than a few times.

These days I’m out of the door long before it’s time for breakfast so freshly prepared, warm meals have become a commodity. While I’ve continued making green protein smoothies almost daily, on days that I’ve been home later, I’ve been wanting to make some thing a little different…enter Garden of Life.

Longer ago that I wish to admit, Garden of Life sent me some samples of their newest RAW Protein powder. Back when I first started weight lifting, Garden of Life was the brand I used and I’ve kept tabs as they’ve continued to upgrade and make changes to their formula over the years- each more enjoyable and nutritious than the last.

This formula is most certainly the best to date and, as always, contain all eight essential amino acids and are raw, vegan and gluten free without unnecessary additives.

They not only make protein powders and meal replacement formulas, but also Perfect Food RAW formulas (for when you wanna up the ante on those daily greens!), vitamins (when I was a competing vegan, I relied heavily on their RAW B-12 Vitamin supplement), multivitamins– let’s be real: if it’s health or supplement related, they probably have it and I would absolutely recommend checking them out!

Warm Spiced Pear Protein Smoothie

So while this recipe took me much longer to prepare and post than I had intended, I do hope you’ll enjoy this comforting take on a “protein smoothie”.

Warm Spiced Pear Protein Smoothie

Serves 1

1 1/2 Cups Cashew Milk
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1 Cup Chopped Pears
1 TBSP Sorghum Molasses
1 Scoop Garden of Life Vanilla Protein Powder

In a small pot, heat the cashew milk, cinnamon and nutmeg on medium, stirring constantly, just long enough to warm it- you don’t want to boil it or let it get too hot!

In a blender, add the chopped pears, sorghum molasses, protein powder and cashew milk. Blend until smooth and serve in a small mug to cozy up and enjoy!

Cane Sorghum

Artsfest 2015 & Sorghum Molasses

Last weekend Mr. C and I took a trip back down to Maryland to visit my mom and to go to Artsfest down at Annmarie Garden. It’s an annual event with local artists from the area and I’ve gone the last few years- being a food blogger and all, I can’t pass up an opportunity to check out and buy unique, handmade pottery pieces!

Artsfest 2015

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Brooklyn Ice Cream Social- The 7 Best Ice Cream Shops In Brooklyn

Several weeks ago, for whatever reason (maybe I’ve lost my mind?) I decided I want to try out the “best of” ice cream places in the city. All at once.



I eventually came to my senses and decided to adjust the list slightly and start smaller- within my own borough.

And thus began the Brooklyn Ice Cream Social! Not a tour- as some of the friends who joined me – but more like a crawl. And that’s truly what it became. While we often shared ice cream within the group, we quickly became sugared out and had to search deep within ourselves to power through and persevere to visit all the places on the list.

Since doing the crawl several weeks ago, I’ve kind of become obsessed with ice cream (aka, I’m totally addicted to it now). Every time I see a shop, I feel the pull- the urge to go in and check it out. Even in the grocery store, I suddenly find myself straying into forbidden territory: the frozen isle. I keep my eyes out for local, small batch ice cream companies but then have to check myself. It really has become an obsession! Hopefully though, you’ll enjoy the list and appreciate the efforts.

Ample Hills Creamery

1. Ample Hills Creamery:

Let’s be honest- this place is my favorite ice cream shop I’ve ever been to. I’ve never been disappointed and I’ve certainly been there a lot! This shop has all your favorite classics and some really funky twists. During my most recent ice cream hunt I enjoyed their delicious Salted Crack Caramel and Ooey Gooey Ice Cream on a Chocolate Chip Cone! Ample Hills is family friendly but also a great date spot with seating available inside.

Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda

2. Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda:

Known for their classic-style ice cream parlor and egg creams, this place is all about the setting. You can sit at small round tables or at the counter and enjoy their fun sundaes by yourself or to share with another. Don’t miss out on their egg cream sodas though- that’s where it’s at! This place would make for a great date spot or a fun get-together with friends.


3. MilkMade:

Originally an ice cream subscription company, they only recently opened a small storefront (only a block away from Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda). The ice creams available are based on their most popular flavors from previous months. Some of these included flavors like “Amagansett Salted Caramel”, “Rock Rock Rockaway Road” and “Finger Lakes PBNJ” . My personal favorite was the fact that they offer a tasting flight option! Why buy one flavor with you can get 5 mini flavors + cones??

Blue Marble

4. Blue Marble:

Using only premium, certified organic dairy to make their ice cream, Blue Marble proved to be a deliciously safe bet. A particularly family friendly venue with a focus on the community, this shop also offered mini scoops making it friendly for all. You can also find their ice cream sold in various shops throughout the city!

Brooklyn Bell's The Local

5. Brooklyn Bell’s The Local:

A more recent addition to Crown Heights, this unassuming shop is a pleasant surprise full of exotic flavor- each absolutely astounding. With art pieces from local artists lining the walls of the shop, Brooklyn Bell’s hits up unique flavors like “Chocolate Jamaican Curry” to “Root Beer Chip”, but also serves up the classics with delicious “Oh So Chocolate” and “French Vanilla”- this is not the a spot skip!

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

6. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream:

Starting off as a food truck in 2008, Van Leeuwen eventually made Brooklyn their home base before opening other shops throughout the city and in L.A. They showcase “The Classic” scoops made from simple and traditional ingredients alongside “The Vegan” scoops which use creamy nut milks. With a relaxing coffee shop atmosphere (and yes, they serve coffee and tea) and spaced tables, they have creamy delicious regulars flavors and rotate specials weekly.

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

7. OddFellows Ice Cream Co:

The New York ice cream scene is full of funky flavors but let’s face it, when it comes to strange and bizarre combinations, OddFellows takes the cake. The Williamsburg-based shop is always packed and the moment you walk in, your nose is filled with the scent of cinnamon and freshly baked waffle cones-yup folks, they make ’em fresh daily! Their ice cream is made from scratch with hormone-free, additive-free dairy and they really play around with some crazy flavors like cedar vanilla, miso cherry, pink lemonade and Thai tea.

Do you have some favorite ice cream spots in NYC or around the country? Tell me about them- being a (now) recovering ice cream addict, I always want to know more!

Roasted Plum Dutch Baby

Roasted Plum Dutch Baby

I’ve recently become obsessed with Dutch Babies.  Mind you, I’ve never had one at a restaurant or an amazing diner specializing in them so I have no real experience with “true” dutch babies, but I sure have been fun cooking them!

Roasted Plum Dutch Baby

Massaged Raw Kale Salad

Raw Massaged Kale Salad

Kale. That fibrous beast that it is. Often an accompaniment to my smoothies or a delicious sautéed side to my meals.

Massaged Raw Kale Salad

This past weekend, I endeavored to organize an ice cream crawl (which I will be posting about in detail later) and well…a lot of ice cream was consumed. Cue a super sugar rush. I decided that the best cure for this was some very hearty roughage- in this case, some serious greens.

Oregano Infused Bloody Mary & Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp

Oregano Infused Bloody Mary & Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp

Oh, hi there everyone! It’s amazing to me that another summer has been survived and we are quickly moving our way to fall. Certainly doesn’t feel like it here though- still sweating away at my dining room table in Brooklyn, neglecting any sort of cleaning that the apartment so desperately needs.

I actually start fall classes this Friday, in fact. I’m kind of shocked and astounded that I’ve somehow (finally) made it to the last of my prerequisites. I have to take organic chemistry in the fall and then I’m all set to apply for graduate schools in the spring. Dear lordy! I’ve spent so much time over the years getting to this point, but now that I’m finally almost there, it makes me crazy nervous to think about it.

I had looked at schools way back when I started this whole process but now that it’s several years later, I need to do my research again to figure out where I want to apply. I also have to study for the GRE’s…I’m really not so keen on that part. Gotta get those math scores up to snuff though!

Oregano Infused Bloody Mary & Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp

The recipe that I’m sharing with you is one that’s been in my head for months now- actually since I got back from the Dominican Republic. When I when there, I made sure to get my usual “souvenirs”- lots of different culinary spices and foods. In this case, I came back with tons of oregano, cloves, vanilla beans, cocoa, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and Brugal rum.

Oregano Infused Bloody Mary & Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp

Chicken Tacos with Chipotle

Chicken Tacos with Chipotle

Happy Tuesday everyone! It’s certainly a rainy day out here- it’s been pouring since the early morning and doesn’t seem to want to plan on stopping anytime soon. I recently started a new job where I have to wear actual “adult” clothes (no more cut-off jeans and tank tops!) so I keep eyeing the window and the rain and hoping it’ll stop within the next hour before I have to leave. I feel like there’s nothing worse than being dressed up nice and having to deal with the rain and trying to stay dry!

Chicken Tacos with Chipotle

Vegan Cuts Snack Box

Product Review: Vegan Cuts Snack Box

Hey there everyone- Kelsey checking in again!

So recently Vegan Cuts asked me to try one of their snack boxes and review it. While I reviewed it last year, I haven’t been a customer for a while and was curious to see what the updates or changes might be a year later so I said yes.

But first, a little background on Vegan Cuts: Vegan Cuts is a company whose main goal and focus is- you guessed it- vegan products. They now have several subscription options including their Snack Box as well as their Beauty Box.