Wander to your hearts content…

June 29, 2014 by  
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Courtesy of: SnapKnot I yearn to travel. I am always baffled by those around me that prefer to stay put, living their lives out in their little cocoons. The promise of adventure, excitement and the unknown is reward enough itself for me. It’s amazing how a small plane ride can put you in a different world. [...]


June 5, 2014 by  
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[Metromode] Bustin’ Up the Boy’s Club: Metro Detroit’s Female Mixologists

May 15, 2014 by  
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Jackie Foucha at The Oakland. Photo by David Lewinski Photography for Metromode.

Last week we ran a story about the rise of craft cocktail culture in metro Detroit and some of the key players who have pushed it forward. While forward-drinking female bartenders Lola Gegovic, Jacqueline Foucha, and Adrianne Martin were all name-dropped, the focus was all on the boys in the business. Through conversations with people interviewed for that story, it became glaringly obvious that female bartenders in metro Detroit get none of the press that their male counterparts do.

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[Metromode] The Rise of Metro Detroit’s Mixologists

May 8, 2014 by  
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Shane McGrath at The Oakland. Photo by David Lewinski Photography for Metromode. 

Maybe it's because of metro Detroit's automotive history, but whenever a new trend hits we have a tendency to take it from zero to 60 with ear-splitting speed. We did it with food trucks. We did it with pop-ups. We did it with coffee and craft beer and artisan spirits. And we did it with craft cocktails.

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date meyer lemon butter + homemade cream cheese

March 23, 2014 by  
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Homemade cream cheese


I am so very, very excited to share this recipe with you guys today. Dates! They are delicious! I think I’ve always known that but hardly ever cooked with them. That’s going to change for sure in the coming months. Man, this date butter is insane. While this baby simmered on the stove I swear it smelled like bacon. Bacon! Now I sorta get why the two are constantly being paired together.




To add to this crazy good butter, I decided to include meyer lemons for the acid component because: hey I just met you and this is crazy but here’s my number call me maybe? I bought a bag of meyer lemons for the first time a couple weeks ago and fell in love with them hard. Stalkingly obsessed hard. Pretty sure I’m never using regular lemons ever again.


meyer lemon


The combination of both of these new-found crushes together in one tasty butter has been rocking my world since day one. I want to eat it all by itself in a dark corner of the room. I’m gonna need serious privacy.

Despite the name, this butter doesn’t actually have butter. Kinda funny isn’t it? Maybe it was coined a butter because of how easy it is to spread. Fruit butters are different than jams and jellies in terms of how long you cook them for. I let mine simmer for roughly 45 minutes but you can let it go for even longer. To be honest, I couldn’t wait any longer it smelled so good. I may have torched the roof of my mouth tasting it off the stove.

My obsession for making a fruit butter was born from my previous obsession with Trader Joe’s fig butter. That stuff, my friends, is bomb. I think I finished the entire contents of that jar within a week of opening. I ate it slathered on a bagel with cream cheese. And it was so good. I woke up in the morning excited to eat it. That’s saying something!

Naturally, I had to eat this lovely date meyer lemon butter with cream cheese and bagels too. All in the name of comparative research, course.


date meyer lemon butter


// date meyer lemon butter 

recipe adapted from bon appétit

makes about 1 cup


1 1/3 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup water + 1 cup water, divided in half to add during cooking


// In a small sauce pot, combine the dates, meyer lemon juice, honey, and 1/2 cup water. Set to boil and then lower to gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup water once the liquid in the pot evaporates, about 15 minutes into the cooking process. Repeat again in another 15 minutes, adding the remaining 1/2 cup water to the pot. After the water evaporates again, let the dates caramelize slightly in the pot for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently. I let this butter cook for about 45 minutes but you can choose to cook for longer if you want an even more intense flavor. You might have to add more water though.

After this finished cooking, I pressed it through a fine sieve to separate the butter from any extra liquid. You can leave it as is, it’s delicious either way, but I wanted to try it as a thick butter and as a thin sauce. The butter was excellent slathered on anything and the sauce was outrageous drizzled on anything (but made for a more luxurious experience, i think). Both variations are phenomenal. The butter keeps fabulously in a glass container in the fridge for about a week but I seriously doubt it will last that long!


date meyer lemon butter


I couldn’t stop at just making a homemade fruit butter. I felt compelled to make a homemade cream cheese too. I never quite realized how easy and straight-forward it was to make cheese at home. You pretty much just mix heavy cream or half and half together with a mesophilic culture starter, or in my case, buttermilk (because that was the quickest, most convenient route, and if you know me, that’s pretty much my middle name(s)) and let it sit on the counter for hours. I have to admit that I was doubtful after about 8 hours. The recipe said it would eventually take the form of a yogurt but mine was nowhere near that state. At hour 10 I was almost ready to dump the entire thing and try the mesophilic culture starter route but when I checked it again at hour 12 I was astounded to find that it really did change into the consistency of a yogurt! Science is amazing!

At that point, you transfer the “yogurt” into cheesecloth, wrap it, and let it hang somewhere to drip whey. After another 12 hours my cream cheese was ready! All I had to do was add a smidge of salt and it was ready to go. This cream cheese tasted like none other that I’ve tried. Super creamy and rich and delicious. As simple as this was to make, I am gonna be all about experimenting with crazy flavor combinations. I adore cream cheese.


homemade cream cheese


// homemade cream cheese, via The Prairie Homestead

Makes 1 1/2 cups


1 quart half and half

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon salt


Fine cheesecloth


// Pour half and half and buttermilk into a glass container and stir together. Cover slightly with a towel and leave on the counter to culture anywhere from 8-12 hours. Mine was ready at exactly 12 hours. It’s ready once it looks like yogurt.

Dump the yogurt onto cheesecloth, wrap it, and tie it. Secure it onto a wooden spoon over a tall pitcher for the whey to drip. I let this drip for about 12 hours but it depends on how thin or thick you want your cream cheese to be. The longer it drips, the tangier the cream cheese will taste. Mine was pretty tangy. Once you’re satisfied with the consistency, scoop the cream cheese into a bowl and season with salt. Pour cream cheese into a glass container and store in the fridge.



Vanilla bean greek yogurt chips

March 17, 2014 by  
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vanilla bean greek yogurt chips

Do you like froyo?

I should rephrase that: do you LOVE froyo? I LOVE froyo.

There have been times that I’ve craved it so much it consumes me. I find myself daydreaming about it, imagining the sight of it nestled in my paper cup with the most flamboyant of tails. I make crazy flavor combinations in my head, mixing this one with that, tasting, swirling. The hardest part for me, at least initially, is deciding what toppings to sprinkle. It can be overwhelming, can’t it? With all the candies and sauces and fruits and oh my! But funnily enough, I always end up choosing the same two: granola and yogurt chips. That’s it. Out of all 3 million topping varieties and combos to choose from I will always pick them.

So, I’m going to be transparent with you. I made these thinking that they would be similar to the kind that I find at the froyo place– you know, the kind in the bin out in room temperature. Well, when these were all ready to go and frozen and yummy, I tumbled some into granola and left them out for a little while thinking it would be a nice snack for later. Um, a little word of advice: don’t do that. Unless you want little globs of yogurt melted onto your granola. Which I suppose still tastes good but wasn’t at all what I expected! I actually felt silly afterwards, thinking to myself, ‘of course they’re going to melt. you just froze them!’

Oy. I’m really glad I feel safe with you guys in sharing all my kitchen defeats. So while these really can’t be used for mixing into trail mix or baking, they are super fine as a topping for: froyo! ice cream! gelato! sorbet! your hands!

I’ve been sneaking into the freezer to grab a handful every now and again because they really do make tasty icy cold treats. And I hardly feel guilty because they are made from greek yogurt, which has mega amounts of protein (maybe not so much in these minuscule amounts but you catch mah drift) and they are all natural with no artificial nothing and no preservative junk stuff! Isn’t it sad that we have to proclaim that now? I mean good god, how did we ever position ourselves to think eating garbage was normal?!

p.s. don’t mind my ugly weathered old woman hands. they have seen too much iron lifting and hot water. apologies.


vanilla bean greek yogurt chips


// vanilla bean greek yogurt chips


makes about 1 cup yogurt chips


1 cup plain 2% greek yogurt (I love Fage)

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons powdered sugar


// Grab two medium-sized baking sheets (they have to be able to fit in your freezer) and line with wax paper. Stash in the freezer while you mix up the ingredients.

In a small bowl combine the yogurt, vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Use a spoon to press on the vanilla seeds to make sure they’re well distributed.

Fetch the baking sheets from the freezer. Grab a plastic gallon-sized storage bag and snip a small piece off the corner on the bottom to make a makeshift piping bag. You can also use a real piping bag with tip if you want to make fancier chips. Scoop the yogurt into the bag and squeeze to get most of it towards the cut piece. With as much finesse as you can summon (mine was minimal as you can undoubtedly see), squeeze the yogurt onto the wax-lined baking sheet, making little chips or nibs. The size is ultimately up to you but I wanted them fairly small so I can add them as topping to my ice cream but if you plan on snacking these, they can be larger– they’ll just take a bit longer to freeze. I found that my chips looked neater when I pressed down as I squeezed them and then lifted it up quick to make a tiny tail at the top. Experiment with different techniques though!


vanilla bean greek yogurt chips

Once you’ve filled the baking sheets with yogurt chips, stash back into the freezer for about 35-45 minutes. At that point you can scoop them off the wax paper and eat right away or store them in little plastic baggies or tubs in the freezer for later. Depending on the size of these cuties, they will have different melt times. The smallest of mine started to melt pretty quickly at room temperature, if I just ate them by the handful– ahem, I mean fingerful… but they did just fine sprinkled on something cold like ice cream or frozen yogurt (yogurt on yogurt!).


vanilla bean greek yogurt chips

xo, steph

Chickpea patties with smoked paprika and feta cheese + Greek yogurt and cucumber-red onion relish

March 12, 2014 by  
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Chickpea patties with smoked paprika and feta cheese + cucumber-red onion relish and Greek yogurt

If you smush enough ingredients into one patty/cake/fritter it’s bound to be good right? This seems to be my logic, as evidenced by these chipotle shrimp cakes or cod potato cakes. It’s kind of a shame really that this will only be the third version of a savory cake to appear on my blog since I actually tend to make a lot of different varieties for my clients. I’ve made vegetable fritters in the summertime when fresh produce is at it’s all time high. I make black bean cakes year-round. There are salmon patties, and crab cakes, and tuna fritters. I never get tired of them. Why? Because the flavor combinations are endless. Also, they’re super easy! I usually just blitz everything in the food processor and voilá, eats time!

I like hummus. Do you? One look at the ingredients to this thing and you’ll know right off the bat where I got my inspiration from. I even added tiny crumbs of pita chips to the cake itself just to make you proud (!). These chickpea patties are smoky and tangy. They’re crispy and smooth. I ate them by themselves but I wager they’d be delicious slathered with extra homemade hummus between burger buns or pita bread.

On a different note, didya notice the new digs?


image via imgflip


It took me over a day to get the design right and my eyeballs have since perished but hey, who needs sight anyway? I thought I was in the clear after I finalized the look of the blog but then I started fiddling with the permalinks and in the span of a one-button click, my entire website was gone. gone. Just a blank white page sitting there chilling. I freaked out! Luckily my host was able to fix it by uninstalling my plugins. But now when I try to re-install a plugin I get an error, which leaves me spam comment plugin-less and I’ve been getting slammed with spam all.day.long. Oh my god the insanity. Life just isn’t fair.

I’ll just be over here. Deleting comments every twoseconds.

/bangs head on desk


Chickpea patties with smoked paprika and feta cheese + greek yogurt and cucumber-red onion relish


// Chickpea patties with smoked paprika and feta cheese + Greek yogurt and cucumber-red onion relish

Makes 12 patties


For the chickpea patties:


25 multigrain pita chips (I really like Stacy’s)

2- 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, washed and drained well

2 fat cloves garlic

2 tablespoons tahini sesame butter (you can sub in almond or peanut butter but it will change the taste a bit)

1/4 cup feta cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

1 egg

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Olive oil, for frying

Plain Greek yogurt, for serving


// In a food processor, pulse the pita chips to a course crumb. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until it comes together; not too chunky but not too smooth. Juuust right.

Use an ice cream scoop and portion out the patties and form them in your hands. Stash in the fridge for about 30 minutes. While this chills, make the cucumber-red onion relish.


When you’re ready to cook the chickpea patties, pour olive oil onto a fry pan and heat over medium flame. When it shimmers, add the chickpea patties in batches of 4, cooking until crisp and golden on both sides, about 3-4 minutes on one side and then another 2-3 minutes on the other. Set them onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and cucumber-red onion relish.


Chickpea patties with smoked paprika and feta cheese + greek yogurt and cucumber-red onion relish


Cucumber-red onion relish


For the cucumber-red onion relish:


1/2 english cucumber, sliced thin using a mandolin or very sharp knife (and deft cutting skills!)– for the mandolin I had it set at one notch below 1/8″

1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly into quarter moons

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

A few pinches of Aleppo chili pepper (or any other spicy dried pepper of your choice)

S + P to taste


// Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix gently with a spoon. Let this sit for a while on the counter to quick pickle and get happy. This keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.


Cucumber-red onion relish

Coconut Lemon Waffles with Wild Blueberry Chia Seed Jam + Coconut Whipped Cream

March 3, 2014 by  
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Coconut Lemon Waffles with Blueberry Chia Seed Jam + Coconut Whipped Cream


I’m pretty convinced that coconuts and lemons and blueberries were destined to be together. Because seriously, this stuff was holy good. And the great thing is, I didn’t even feel bad stuffing my face with it because it’s all super good for you. Hurrah for tricks!


Coconut lemon waffles with wild blueberry chia seed jam + coconut whipped cream


These waffles look dainty but they are actually incredibly hearty and full of rich flavor. I loved these for breakfast, hot and straight off the griddle but even more so cold, the next day after the flavors had a chance to mingle and settle. It tasted just like a cold bread pudding (it might sound weird, but I’m telling you, I won’t eat bread pudding any other way. trust me and try it), sweetly dense and buttery, with bursts of lemon and coconut coming at you with every bite. It was absolute heaven.

[I went a little crazy with the picture-taking. You've been warned!]


Coconut lemon waffles with wild blueberry chia seed jam + coconut whipped cream


// Coconut lemon waffles with blueberry chia seed jam + coconut whipped cream

For the coconut lemon waffles: 

Makes 2 Belgian style waffles, possibly 4 small regular waffles

Inspired by Joy the Baker‘s gluten free toasted coconut waffles

// These waffles are super rich and filling! They keep wonderfully in the freezer and fridge if you want to keep them for tasty leftovers. I would highly recommend you try them cold, straight out of the fridge with the blueberry jam and coconut whipped cream– tastes just like a bread pudding with the flavors much more nuanced. 


1/3 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

4 egg whites

2 whole eggs

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup coconut flour


Coconut oil spray (preferred), or canola oil, to coat waffle iron


// In a large bowl, whisk together the shredded coconut, melted coconut oil, eggs, coconut sugar, vanilla and lemon extracts, and lemon zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the protein powder, salt, baking powder, and coconut flour. Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine with a spatula. This batter is really thick, don’t freak out.

Turn on your waffle maker and set it to medium-high heat– I set mine to #5. Pour half of the batter into each waffle iron and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Coconut tends to burn easily so I start peeking at about 3 minutes to see if they are golden brown and cooked through. Eat these fresh and warm with the blueberry chia seed jam and whipped coconut cream or stash them away in the fridge for later. They are super tasty as leftovers straight out of the fridge served cold with the jam and whipped cream– like bread pudding! <3


Wild blueberry chia seed jam


For the wild blueberry chia seed jam: 

Makes about a pint of jam

Adapted very slightly from Oh She Glows‘ magical blueberry vanilla chia seed jam

// I love everything about this jam! She is great on waffles, pancakes, with peanut butter in sandwiches, on toast, swirled in oatmeal and/or yogurt. 


3 cups frozen wild blueberries

2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon lemon extract


// In a small sauce pot, tumble in the blueberries with the maple syrup and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and mashing with a potato masher (I only mashed about half of it since I wanted some texture to my jam). Stir in the chia seeds and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the jam is thickened to your liking. Take jam off the heat and stir in the vanilla and lemon extracts. Let jam cool completely before refrigerating. I would reckon this jam lasts for a couple weeks in the fridge but mine only stuck around for a few days because I ate it all!


Coconut whipped cream + wild blueberry chia seed jam


For the coconut whipped cream: 

Makes about 1 cup

Adapted minimally from Oh She Glows‘ coconut whipped cream

// If you can’t find the smaller can of just coconut cream (I found mine at Whole Foods), you can use regular whole fat coconut milk instead. Make sure to chill the can, upside down (this will separate the cream from the water– click on the link I provided for Oh She Glows, she has a tutorial that explains this) overnight before using. Just like heavy cream, coconut cream whips better when cold. When you’re ready to make the coconut whipped cream, make sure to only use the solid cream and not the water. Since you flipped the can upside down all night, it should be really easy to pour out the coconut water and spoon out the coconut cream because they have separated. 


5.4 fluid ounces coconut cream, chilled overnight

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped


// Place mixing bowl and whipping attachment in freezer for about 5 minutes. Assemble mixer and dump coconut cream into bowl (some coconut water is fine). Start to whip on low speed and increase gradually. Once it starts to form soft peaks, drop in powdered sugar and vanilla seeds. Whip until it’s to your desired consistency. This keeps well in the fridge for several days.


Coconut whipped cream + wild blueberry chia seed jam

Chickpea and egg white saute with garam masala + coconut milk

February 25, 2014 by  
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Chickpea and egg white saute with garam masala + coconut milk

I’ve realized I have a somewhat obsessive personality when it comes to many things in life. Most currently: coconut. I want to eat it all the timez. I’m actually in the midst of finalizing a recipe for some bomb coconut and lemon waffles, and if the gods favor me so, should be posting later this week. I think I’ve gone through 4 revisions of the dang thing trying to get it right. Baking is sorta like a wild horse you have to tame. It goes crazy, bucking all around, throwing you this way and that, and it’s all you can do to hold on but as soon as you give it some treats and comb its hair and tell her she’s pretty, she turns all gooey on you. Or something along those lines. Anyway…

Chickpeas have always been a favorite of mine too. I think they’re pretty versatile and you can do just about anything with them, including blondies (!), which I’m determined to try sometime in the near future. The thing about chickpeas, and I mean the canned variety, is that they’re super handy and can be tossed into all sorts of things at a moments notice. This recipe just sorta happened one day when I was super starving for lunch. I wanted something creamy, nourishing, and warming. The chickpeas + coconut milk + garam masala all seemed to fit the bill. It was exactly what I needed– super earthy and comforting with just the right amount of richness from the coconut milk, and very nutritionally sound with a balanced proportion of protein to carbs to healthy fat. I am neurotic when it comes to making sure everything I eat has the right nutritional value because uh, muscles don’t grow on trees!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it but my sister and I have formed 2missfits, a fitness Instagram account where we post workout videos, fitspo, and clean eating recipes. So if you’re into that kinda thing, swing on over and say hello!


// Chickpea and egg white sauté with garam masala + coconut milk

Serves 1 person heartily, serves 2 as a very light meal

2 teaspoons coconut butter/oil

1- 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained well

1/2 cup egg whites

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon garam masala

S + P, to taste

A couple handfuls of baby spinach

Feta cheese, to sprinkle on top

Fresh cilantro, to garnish


// In a small sauté pan add the coconut butter/oil and let melt over medium heat. Tumble in the chickpeas and let them warm through, just a few minutes. Pour in the egg whites and scramble with a spatula. When they’re cooked all the way through, add the coconut milk, garam masala, s + p, baby spinach and mix together gently. Put a lid on and let this simmer for just a few minutes and to allow the baby spinach to wilt a little. Check for seasonings. Serve in a bowl and top with feta cheese and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!



[Prosper] Oakland County Market Promotes Food Businesses with Grants for Business Education

February 21, 2014 by  
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Sweet Occasions, Oxford

The Oakland County Market has been operating since 1966, predating the Oakland County Parks system that now manages it. In that time, cultural attitudes towards "recreation" have changed significantly – instead of "recreation" referring to packing the kids up in the station wagon and heading Up North for a long weekend once a year, recreation is something that people consider a necessary part of everyday life, and a real quality of life indicator. It is part of an active lifestyle that people want to easily be able to access on a weekly (if not daily) basis in their own neighborhoods, including everything from trails for hiking and biking to lifelong learning opportunities and farmers markets where people can support local businesses and socialize. "It's not just about physical activity; it's about social activity," says Jon Noyes, Supervisor of Planning for Oakland County Parks. "We now have different expectations [for recreation]."

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