SHEET PAN CHICKEN FAJITAS


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Over the years my appreciation for sheet pan meals has only grown. This is especially true for those times when I have a crazy work week, but still want to enjoy a meal that tastes like it took all night to make. And this chicken fajitas recipe is exactly that kind of meal.

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The main reason this works is that not only can all the ingredients fit into a single sheet pan, but they benefit from being all mixed together. This creates a dish that’s both full of flavor and ridiculously convenient. Simply slice up some chicken, peppers, and onion, then saturate them in the rich mixture of chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and garlic. When this all comes together, the unmistakable taste and fragrance of fajitas unfolds.

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I decided to match this full-flavored dish with La Crema’s equally full-flavored 2016 Pinot Noir. It exudes deep notes of cherry, rhubarb, plum, raspberry, citrus and spice. It’s simply a great companion to have alongside these fajitas.

Head over to La Crema’s blog to snag the recipe!

This is a sponsored post. Thank you for supporting the brands the help support The Broken Bread. As always, as words and opinions are my own.


Orange Blossom Cake with Figs


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I shared an image of this cake on IG not too long ago and I was so happy to see that so many people where just as excited about fig season as I was. Fig season doesn’t last too long, so I wanted to share this recipe before their time is up.

This yogurt cake has been a staple recipe of mine for so long. Not only is it easy to make, but the recipe is very flexible. For this particular version I kept it simple and added orange blossom extract, which adds the most intoxicating aroma. I made a simple, tangy crème fraîche frosting, which really lets the orange blossom shine. Fresh figs and chopped pistachios are the final touch, which in my opinion really bring all these flavors together in the most pleasant way.

I hope that you get a chance to make this cake because it is just too easy not to. If not, I hope at the very least that this cake can be a source of inspiration for your next fig-focused dessert.

xx,

k

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Orange Blossom and fig cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp orange blossom extract

2 large eggs

¾ cup plain yogurt

⅓ cup coconut oil or vegetable oil

For garnish: sliced figs and chopped pistachios

Equipment: 8x2 inch cake pan, parchment paper

Crème Fraîche Frosting

3 ounces unsalted butter, room temp

4 ounces crème fraîche, room temp

2-21/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch sea salt

Equipment: standing mixer fitter with whisk attachment


Method

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the cake pan a line with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add the sugar and oil to a medium bowl and whisk together. Then whisk in the eggs, yogurt, and extract until smooth. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and place in the oven.

Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool for 15 minutes before gently removing from pan. All the cake to cool fully before frosting.

For the frosting, add the butter and the crème fraîche to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. The liquid might separate from the crème fraîche, but just continue beating until it becomes smooth and creamy—about 3 minutes or so.

Stop the mixer and add a pinch of sea salt, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Starting on low, slowly increase the speed to medium-high and beat everything together for about 45 seconds, or until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low, add the second cup of powdered sugar in small increments until all of it has been added. Taste the frosting and add the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar if a sweeter frosting is desired. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting seems to separate at all, simply continue beating until smooth.

Once the cake has cooled, top with frosting, sliced figs, and chopped pistachios.

Enjoy!


Peaches & Cream Popsicles


While I am very excited for the arrival of fall, I can't ignore the fact the here in Southern California summer will be here for a little longer—which is something I'm more than okay with. So for as long as I can, I will continue to embrace summer, and all of the beautiful produce it continues to yield—like peaches! Since it's still so hot out most days, I wanted to make a refreshing yet healthy popsicle that I could eat when I needed to cool down. So as long as peaches are still around, enjoy the last of those hot sunny days by crafting these end-of-summer treats!



Peaches & Cream Popsicles

Ingredients

2 ½ cups plain yogurt

1 tsp ground vanilla bean seeds or 2 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 tbsp honey, or more to taste

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill muesli, plus a little bit extra

1 large peach, firm but ripe, thinly sliced

Equipment: Medium bowl, 10 capacity popsicle mold, 10 wooden popsicle sticks


Method

Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl until combined.

Transfer the mixture ideally tp something with a lip, like a measuring cup and fill each popsicle mold halfway with the yogurt mix. Place 2 peach slices in each mold. then fill each mold with the remaining yogurt mix (there should be a little room left in each mold) and garnish with a little extra muesli.

Attach lid onto mold, insert sticks, freeze overnight, and enjoy! If the popsicles are difficult to remove, simply dip, or run the molds under warm water for a few minutes to loosen.

Lemon Poppyseed Shortcakes


     One of the many perks of living in California is that strawberry season starts early and ends late. That's why I found this to be the perfect dessert to create in order to savor those last bits of summer strawberries that are still around. Strawberry shortcakes are a weakness of mine, and this lemon & poppyseed version is no exception. Instead of a few images, I'm sharing a short video that I made in partnership with Bob's Red Mill to show you how easy these treats are to make. 

Enjoy xx


Lemon & Poppyseed Shortcakes

Makes 6 shortcakes

½ cup granulated sugar, divided  

1 tbs + 1 tsp lemon zest, preferrably organic

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbs +1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp fine sea salt  

2 tsp poppy seeds

8 tbs very cold unsalted butter, cubed

½ cup low-fat buttermilk, plus extra for brushing  

2 tbs lemon juice

demerara sugar, for sprinkling

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 ¾ cup Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Equipment: baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pastry cutter, 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter, pastry brush, cooling rack.


Method

Add 1/4 cup of sugar and the lemon zest to a large bowl. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar becomes fragrant and is well incorporated.

To the sugar, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds and whisk to combine.

Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and using a pastry cutter (or you can use your hands) cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter becomes the size of peas.

Add the buttermilk and the lemon juice to the bowl, and mix everything together with a fork until a shaggy dough begins to form. Bring the dough together a bit while still in the bowl, then place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch circle that's about 1-inch  *note: if the dough seems too dry for any reason, simply add a little extra buttermilk, 1 tsp at a time until the dough comes together. Use a 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter to cut out 3 shortcakes, re-roll the scraps and cut out 3 more.

Place the shortcakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with some additional buttermilk. Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar and place in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes.

While the shortcakes are chilling, preheat the oven to 415°F and begin prepping the strawberries. Place the strawberries in a medium bowl and toss with the remaining sugar. Set the strawberries aside and allow them to sit at room temp until the shortcakes are ready.

Place the shortcakes in the oven and bake, rotating once, for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool on wire rack for 15-20 minutes.

Use a serrated knife to cut each shortcake in half. Top each one with a few dollops of sweetened cream and a few spoonfuls of macerated strawberries. Eat immediately.

Marinated chicken & papaya salad


     I love working with a variety of proteins, especially when they’re incorporated into meals like fresh summer salads. It’s always intimidating though, because it’s difficult to learn how to consistently cook a cut of meat to perfection. One I’ve recently figured out relatively well is grilled chicken—and it’s thankfully not too hard to get a hang of.

     The two main aspects of the process I focused on were pounding out the chicken and marinating the chicken. If you get these two things right, then everything tends to fall together. Pounding out the chicken makes sure you’ll be able to cook it evenly and swiftly, while marinating the chicken enriches its flavor and retains its irresistibly juicy texture. For my marinade I combined lemon juice, garlic, and herbs, which really helps the chicken blend well with the salad’s components. Among these are mixed greens, hydrating cumbers, creamy avocados, and sweet papaya. All these elements together really make for summer salad bliss.

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     When experimenting with this recipe, I found La Crema’s 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay to be virtually the perfect—it has its own bold personality while excellently complimenting the salad’s sweet and savory fusion. It begins with notes of apple and citrus, working into melon and papaya laced with spices, finishing with a light oakiness and crisp acidity. It’s so good. So if you find yourself frequenting the grill this summer, then head over to La Crema's blog and enjoy this salad with cold glass of California chardonnay!

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Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

No-Churn Coffee & cookie ice cream


     It's National Ice Cream Day! And as a lover of all things ice cream I wanted to share this delicious coffee-cookie concoction that I came up with not too long ago. Let me first say that if you're not a fan of coffee-flavored desserts, I suggest you look away now, as this ice cream is dedicated to all the coffee lovers out there.

     I really appreciate the simplistic beauty of no-churn ice cream. This appreciation especially rings true during those times where the craving for ice cream hits immediately and I'm in no position to bust out my ice cream machine. I still can't get over the fact that it really only takes 2 ingredients to make a glorious batch of creamy ice cream. All you really need to worry about is what kind of extra toppings you're going to toss into the mix. This recipe in particular fuses my two loves: coffee and chocolate. I really wanted to achieve a deep coffee flavor in this ice cream, so I infused my heavy cream overnight with ground coffee beans and voilà: I ended up with a flavorful coffee base that was begging to be turned into ice cream.

     Crushed Oreos and caramel also made it into this recipe. I had both on hand and I really couldn't imagine a coffee ice cream with out a little chocolate. As far as the caramel goes, I think the recipe works well with or with out it. So if you don't have any available, I promise that the coffee and cookies will taste just as lovely. 


No-churn coffee ice cream

2 cups heavy cream, plus a bit extra

½ cup coarsely ground coffee beans

1 ¼ cups crushed Oreos, about 12 or so

1 can sweetened condensed milk

pinch kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla

Caramel, optional


Method

The night before, make the coffee infused base. Add the heavy cream and ground coffee beans to a sealable bowl or jar. Mix/shake the cream and coffee beans a bit until well combined. Place the covered bowl or sealed jar in the refrigerator and let infuse overnight. 

Strain the infused cream into a measuring cup, and add as much heavy cream as needed to measure out 2 cups.

Add the condensed milk and 1 cup of the crushed cookies to a large bowl, and fold together until combined.

In the bowl of a standing mixer add the 2 cups of infused heavy cream, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold the cookie mixture and a small portion of the whipped cream together to lighten it up. Add the remaining amount of whipped cream and fold until just combined.

Pour mixture into either in a 9×5” loaf pan and sprinkle with the top of the ice cream with the remaining crushed cookies. * NOTE, if using caramel, pour half of the ice cream into the pan and drizzle with some caramel. Add the remaining whipped cream and drizzle with a little more caramel and topped with the remaining crushed cookies. 

Tightly wrap the pan with plastic wrap making sure that 1 layer actually touches the ice cream this will help prevent crystallization. Wrap a second layer around the first and place ice cream in freezer until solid, about 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Remove ice cream from freezer about 15 minutes before serving, this will help it soften just a bit. Serve as is, or with a light garnish of crushed graham crackers.

GRILLED ROMAINE SALAD


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     When I made this summer salad, I found that the process of just combining amazing ingredients yielded a dish so quickly I decided to make two versions. This version focuses on peaches and pecorino, while the other version (on La Crema’s blog) focuses on an avocado BLT approach. And these versions are made possible in large part by how fresh and bright and vibrant so much produce is this time of year. Peaches, tomatoes, romaine, citrus, avocados—hard to go wrong combining any of these in a salad.

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     This salad is all about contrasts and complements. The peaches and pecorino, for example, come together in saccharine savory delight. The brisk cheese is striking while the buttery fruit is satisfying, but instead of cancelling each other out they coalesce into something special. The grilled romaine provides a charred savory base, while the honey-lemon dressing in which the salad is splashed provides a sweetened garnish. Each component plays off the other, and each bite is certainly the better for it.

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     The final layer of contrasts and complements is completed by the wine, in this case La Crema’s Monterey Chardonnay. It’s peachy and pineappley on the one side, but acidic and minerally on the other. Tropical fruit and spices are held in skillful balance, just as bright citrus and the aroma of a seaside breeze strike a similar symmetry. An exciting wine for an exciting dish, no less full of surprises. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do, and please go to La Crema’s blog to check out my other version!

     Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post and, as always, all words are my own.


Grilled Romain With Peaches & Pecorino

2 heads of romaine, halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried well

Olive oil, for brushing

2 peaches, stones removed and sliced

Shaved pecorino cheese, for garnish

Lemon-honey dressing

4 tbs lemon juice

Zest of one small lemon

1 tbs dijion mustard

3 tsp honey

6 tbs olive oil

Salt, to taste


Begin by making the dressing. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, and honey to a small bowl and whisk until combined. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue whisking until the olive oil is well blended. Season dressing with salt to taste; set aside.

For the salad, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (a grill pan set over medium-high heat can also be used). Brush each of the cut sides of the romaine with olive oil, place on the grill, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, turning once, until slightly wilted and char marks appear.

Divide each half of romaine between four plates. Garnish each plate with an equal serving of sliced peaches, pecorino, and desired amount of dressing. Enjoy salads right away!

Lamb Meatballs with Mint-Yogurt


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     About this time last year, John and I had the chance to visit Greece for the first time. It was an exhilarating journey into both an unspeakably ancient history and a vibrant, modern culture. This worked perfectly for us since John is enamored with Greek philosophy and I’m enamored with Greek cuisine—and that’s a perfect place for the old world and the new to meet. This made every meal so memorable, from souvlaki on the steps of a cathedral built by Emperor Constantine to baklava through marketplace pathways laid out centuries before Christ.

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     And this recipe is about bringing those memories back and sharing them with you. Lamb is something Greece does extremely well, and I’ve been inspired to make this as delicious and flavorful as possible. I can guarantee you’ll enjoy the incredible fusion of succulent lamb, biting herbs and spices, and soothing feta that is these meatballs. Also, pick up a bottle of La Crema’s Monterey Pinot Noir while you’re at it. Its earthiness and savory umami character pair very well with the rich, gamey, unique taste of lamb. Waves of rhubarb and orange also complement the coriander and parsley, and its balanced acidic finish rounds out the experience in fine style. Be sure to head over to La Crema’s blog to get the recipes for this Greek inspired meal. 

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Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post and, as always, all words are my own.

Buttermilk Funfetti Donuts


     A couple weeks ago John and I spent a few days in Newport beach with his family—and it was so much fun. One morning we got up early and snagged some treats from nearby Sidecar donuts, a bounty that included a churro donut, a cookies n cream donut, and a Mexican hot chocolate donut, among others. It was inspirational to see all the different bold but enjoyable flavors they created, and since it’s National Donut Day today, I thought I’d follow suit!

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     These buttermilk funfetti donuts are at once a tribute to our childhood birthday cakes of decades past and an irrefutably delicious indulgence shamelessly to be enjoyed today. They’re a ton of fun, and while they’re relatively time-consuming to create, the efforts are all well spent in the end. They bring the perfect balance of sweet and buttery, and of crispy and chewy, to bear upon the ideal donut. I’m in love with them, and if you’re looking to celebrate this day with donut of your own, go no further than the recipe below. Enjoy!

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Buttermilk Funfetti Donuts

Makes about 8 donuts

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 large egg, room temp

1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, room temp

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tbs vanilla extract

1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

A few cups of canola oil or peanut oil, for frying

Glaze


2 cups powdered sugar

3 ½-4 tbs milk

Equipment: heavy-bottomed pot, 1 medium bowl, 1 small bowl, standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, candy thermometer, rolling pin, cooling rack (optional), spatula, 3-inch biscuit cutter, and a smaller one for the center of the donut.
 


Method

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and egg for 5 minutes on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and melted butter until combined. While the mixer is on low alternate adding the flour mixture (3 additions) and the buttermilk (2 additions) until just combined. Use a spatula to fold in the sprinkles. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour and up to 5 hours.

Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Sprinkle the dough with flour and roll out to a ¼-inch thickness. Dipping the biscuit cutter in flour between cuts, cut out the donut rounds, and their centers and transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and follow this process until 8 donuts have been made. The donut will get stickier as it warms up so use flour as needed. *see note below for more tips

Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with two inches of oil. Once the temperature reaches 365°F, add 2-3 donuts at time. Fry the donuts for two minutes, one minute on each side.

Remove the donuts with a metal slotted spoon, letting the oil drip off for 10 seconds, before transferring to a cooling rack lined with paper towels.

While the donuts are cooling make the vanilla glaze. Mix the powdered sugar and milk together in a wide, shallow bowl until smooth. This frosting should be thick, but still dippable, so add the additional ½ tbs as needed.

Allow the donuts to cool before dipping in the glaze. Once dipped, immediately cover with sprinkles. Enjoy the same day they are made.


*Recipe tips*

As mentioned this dough can be a little sticky, so take your time, and make sure to have a small bowl of flour on hand. This will make the donut making process so much easier. Once the donuts are cut, I even suggest lightly flouring a spatula when transferring them to the floured baking sheet.

Use a candy thermometer. It is SUPER important that the temperature of the oil stay consistent, otherwise you could end up with a soggy donut (if oil is too cold) or a very burned donut (if it’s too hot). Make sure keep a close eye on the temperature and keep it between 365°F-370°F as possible. Add some room temp oil if the temperature gets too high as you need to cool it down right away. Other than that, watch the heat often to ensure that oil temp stays consistent.


 

Apricot Cake


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     Apricots are here and I’m so happy. As I’ve said before, my baking style definitely favors a more relaxed during the spring and summer months. I love simple recipes with ingredients at the peak of their season, and these apricots in this straightforward cake are certainly no exception. The recipe comes from Melissa Coleman’s new book, The Minimalist Kitchen, and it’s perfect for this time of year.

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     Melissa's original recipe included toasted almonds ground up and added to the cake, but as much as I love almonds, this cake was going to enjoyed by those who have nut allergies so I made a few changes. In place of the almonds I used some spelt flour, which worked out quite perfectly.

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     Remember, this cake is incredibly simple to make. And the combination of fresh apricots and buttery cake come together in the most beautiful way—one entirely appropriate for celebrating the arrival of apricots.


Apricot Cake

Slightly adapted from Melissa's book, The Minimalist Kitchen

2 cups apricots, cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole milk

sprinkle of powder sugar

Equipment: Standing mixer, 10-inch removable bottom tart pan, baking sheet


Heat the oven to 350°F. Place a 10-inch removable bottom tart pan on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and increase speed to medium. Mix until everything is evenly combined.

While the mixer is on low alternate adding the milk and the flour in three increments, mixing until just combined. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides, and folding any unmixed parts into the batter until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula and place the sliced apricots in desired fashion on top, barely pressing into the cake. Bake the cake for 50 min to 1 hour or until cooked through. If the edges brown too quickly (wasn't a problem for me) simple tent a piece of foil over the top of the cake and continue baking.

Place the cake on a cooling rack for about 1 hr before removing from the tart pan. Dust the cake with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.

Melissa notes this cake is best served within 2 days of making. Store lightly covered at room temperature. 

Banana Cake With Cardamom Frosting


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     A good banana cake is truly a wonderful thing, isn't it? And this particular kind of cake is great because it requires a bit of patience—which only makes each bite all the more satisfying in the end. The key to a moist cake like this is to use really ripe bananas, which always seem to be in abundance around the house when I don't need them but totally absent whenever I do!

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    This cake is truly a classic, and Ina Garten's original recipe is wonderful. I made some tweaks to her approach mainly due to what I had on hand, but also because I usually like to reduce the  amount of sugar while baking to let the natural flavors of the craft shine through a bit more.

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     This cake is seriously moist, and is complemented by the dreamiest cardamom frosting. Each bite introduces a wonderful rush of flavor, from the banana to the cardamom—every forkful is pure bliss. So for those of you craving a banana cake soon, hang on to some bananas until they ripen and follow the guide below. 


Banana Cake

Slightly adapted from Ina Garten

Yields 1, 8- inch cake

1 ⅓ cup (304g) well-mashed ripe bananas, about 3 small

½ cup (100g)  granulated sugar

½ cup (100g) loosely-packed light brown sugar

½ cup grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil

2 large egg, room temp

½ cup (120g) plain yogurt

1 ½ cup (187g) cup all-purpose flour

½ cup (60 g) spelt flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp kosher salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Equipment: 1, 8x2-inch cake pan, standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment


Method

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 x 2-inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the bananas, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on low speed until combined. While the mixer is still on low, add the oil, eggs, plain yogurt, and vanilla and mix until combined.

While the mixer is on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer base and fold in the walnuts with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake has browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting over the top and garnish with fresh strawberries and enjoy!


Cardamom Frosting

¼ cup heavy cream cream

3-4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1 package cream cheese

1 cup plus 2 tbs powdered sugar

Pinch kosher salt

Splash vanilla extract


Method

Place the milk and the crushed cardamom pods into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Once the milk is just beginning to simmer, immediately remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let everything steep for 30 minutes. Place the cream in a container and store into the fridge until cool.

Mix the cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla and continue to whisk until incorporated. Once combined, increase the speed slightly and add the chilled cardamom infused cream. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Marinated Tacos & Grilled Avocado Cups


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Sunshine beckons us forth to get up and enjoy the world, to fix a picnic, walk ‘round the lake, or lay out on the beach. But sometimes, we need only go as far as our backyard. That’s because grilling season is upon us, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t enjoy my fair share of barbecues filled with the warmth of friends and family.

Naturally emerging from my Mexican heritage, carne asada tacos are first on my list to grill this summer. Now I’ve created a recipe using a marinade saturated in citrus and smokiness, which provides a great layer of acidity and blends well with the barbecue’s char. I prefer skirt steak on account of its buttery, rich flavor, to which I added garlic, ancho chili powder, and jalapeños in the marinade for a burst of spice. By the time you’ve grilled this, you need little more than a tortilla (though of course I added onions, radishes, and a squeeze of charred lime).

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Another item I enjoy making at barbecues is avocado cups—a simple, delicious snack that comes together very quickly. I simply cut an avocado in half, brush it with oil, toss it on the grill for a couple minutes, then pack it with charred corn, cilantro, purple onion, diced jalapeno, lime juice, and queso fresco. So easy and oh so amazing. And if you don’t have a barbecue on hand, just use a cast iron grill pan and you’ll be fine!

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When it comes to wines, there’s practically only one I ever really want all summer long, not least at barbecues. This is La Crema’s Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé, a rich rosé full of complex, refreshing flavor. It’s loaded with a lot of melon, strawberry, and citrus–all of which are perfect both for this time of year in general and for these two recipes in particular. Be sure to head over to La Crema’s blog to get the recipes to these tacos and avocado cups, and enjoy your next barbecue!

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Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post and, as always, all words are my own.

FRESH SPRING ROLLS


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     Spring rolls are in a sense a quintessential spring meal—they were first created as a showcase for the fresh, bright ingredients of spring that follow the rich, heavy dishes of winter. And boy do they live up to their name. They’re vibrant, colorful, crispy, and delicious in all their forms. And for my latest batch, I decided to mix sweet and savory aspects into my rolls and pair them with a spicy peanut sauce.

     Starting off with a some delicate vermicelli noodles and a soft, classic wrap, it’s hard to go wrong in assembling a spring roll. For the savory side, I chose cucumber, carrots, and cabbage for their complementing flavors and crunchy texture. And for the sweet side, I packed in some pineapple for a piercing juiciness. I also tossed in some fresh herbs, mint and cilantro in particular, to tie everything together with their refreshing aromas.

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     The peanut sauce is relatively straightforward: peanut butter (obviously), soy sauce, vinegar, with some garlic and sriracha for some bite to go along side the tangy nuttiness. Feel free increase or reduce the amount of sriracha depending on your taste, and in fact you can treat the whole roll assembly as a blueprint for whatever happens to be your favorite spring vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

     After having put together a sweet seasonal meal out of these spring rolls, I needed a wine appropriate for this time of year. And trust me—look for further than La Crema’s Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé. Unlike most rosés, which tend to be on the lighter side, this wine is surprisingly rich and dynamic. It begins with bursts of berry and melon, moving into sweet, bright citrus. It’s wonderful on its own and even better when paired with this recipe. Be sure to head over to La Crema’s blog to get the recipe, and enjoy it on your next sunny spring afternoon!

Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post and, as always, all words are my own.

Baked Doughnuts


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     Doughnuts have a special place in my heart, not least due to the fact that, while growing up, my father and I would snag a couple from our local shop on the way to school every day. And now that we’re back in California I can attest that the doughnuts there are still just as good. But even in Seattle, John and I looked forward every week to a famous mini doughnut booth at the Ballard Farmers Market–we’d happily pick up a bag of a dozen and make it last the whole day

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     And while doughnuts themselves are quite the treat, making them certainly isn’t. Thankfully, however, there’s a few options–and one among them makes the process absurdly easy. Baking doughnuts turns it into a whole new affair. Prep time’s 15 minutes, bake time’s another 15, and there you have it–fresh treats ready in a pinch. They admittedly take on a different texture than yeasted or fried doughnuts (in fact it’s something like a doughnut-shaped cake), but it’s nevertheless expectedly pleasant. I decided to make mine with some almond oil for a subtle yet present nutty flavor, and to dress them in a blueberry glaze–which is amazing. So basically, if you want fresh, homemade doughnuts roughly half an hour from now, go scoop up a doughnut pan and follow the recipe below!


Baked Doughnuts

Recipe slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 cup (113 grams) Pastry flour or All-Purpose Flour

½ (100 g) cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

¾ tsp cinnamon

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons almond oil or vegetable oil

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Equipment: 2 medium bowls, whisk, 1-6 cup doughnut pan


Method

Heat oven to 375°F. 

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and yogurt together until combined.

 Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredient and mix together with a spatula until just combined. 

Spray the doughnut pan with some non-stick spray, or grease with some room temperature butter. If you skip this step, the doughnuts will likely stick even if the pan is non-stick.

Fill each doughnut mold half full with batter. The easiest way to do this is to fill a pastry bag or a zip lock bag with the batter, snip of the tip (or one corner of the ziplock) and start filling.

Place the pan in the oven and bake the doughnuts for about 10-12 minutes. The doughnuts are done when slightly browned, and if they spring back to the touch.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and use a spoon to carefully remove them from the pan. Place the doughnuts on a rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting. 


Blueberry Glaze

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

1 tbs water

1/2 tsp lemon juice

pinch salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

sprinkles, optional garnish

Equipment: Saucepan, fine mesh sieve


Method

Place the blueberries, water, lemon juice, and salt in the saucepan. With the back of the a spoon, smash the berries, then place the saucepan over medium low heat.

Cook the berries for about 2 minutes, while continuously smashing them, them remove from heat.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Add 2 tbs of the blueberry mixture to a shallow bowl (should be about all of the juice) along with the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar. Mix everything together until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick, add a tiny splash of milk. Alternatively, if the mixture is to wet, add a little more powdered sugar.

Use glaze right away and garnish and top with sprinkles.


Lemon-Poppyseed Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tbs + 1 tsp lemon juice

2 tbs milk

pinch salt

 poppy seeds, for garnish

Equipment: 1 small bowl


Method

Mix everything together in a small bowl until smooth. 

If the mixture seems too thick, add a tiny splash of milk. Alternatively, if the mixture is to wet, add a little more powdered sugar.

Use glaze right away and garnish with poppy seeds.


 


 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes


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     Now that the days are longer (thank you Daylight Saving), that means St. Patty’s day is just around the corner (meaning tomorrow) and all things green and beer-flavored shall be consumed. This particular holiday isn’t a very big deal in my household, but as a lover of beer, getting the chance to add a little to my baking is quite fine by me.

     These moist, chocolatey cupcakes are laced with espresso powder—from the cake to the frosting. They’re sweet, but not too sweet, and loaded with a perfect amount of Guinness and chocolate of which my Irish ancestors would be proud. So for those of you looking for an easy recipe to help you celebrate St. Patty’s day tomorrow, I promise that these are the cupcakes for you.  

     Here’s a little video to prove how easy they are to make!

 
 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ tsp baking soda

¼ + 2 tbs cup natural cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp instant espresso powder

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup + 2 tbs grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup stout beer (I used Guinness)

Equipment: 1 medium bowl, 1 large bowl, whisk, 12 cupcake pan, 12 liners


Method

Heat oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake wrappers.

Add the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso powder to a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

In a large bowl add the yogurt, oil, egg, vanilla, and beer, and whisk together until smooth.

In two additions, whisk the flour mixture into the wet until smooth with no lumps remaining.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake molds and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. While the cupcakes are cooling prepare the frosting.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with you tip of choice and frost each cupcake. Depending on how much frosting you like on your cupcake, you may have a little left over, which isn’t too bad of a problem to have, is it?


Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

1, 8 oz package cream cheese

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla

1 tbs room temperature butter

1 cup heavy whipping cream

pinch salt

Equipment: Sifter/strainer, standing or handheld mixer, spatula


Method

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

Whip cream cheese until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes on medium speed. With machine off, add 1 1/4 cup of sifted powdered sugar, the vanilla, butter, 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder, and a pinch of salt. Whisk everything together until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

While mixer is still on at medium speed, slowly pour in the heavy cream in a steady stream. Once all of the heavy cream has been added, continue to whip the frosting until stiff peaks form.

Corned Beef and Sautéed Cabbage Sandwich


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     Great sandwiches have become one of my staples as of late. They’re easy to make, hard not to love, and surprisingly versatile. And while corned beef usually isn’t my first choice, I thought I’d take a crack at making a great sandwich out of it since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon.

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     My plan was to make a fresh version of the classic reuben—corned beef of course, with sauteed cabbage and onions, sauerkraut, mustard mayo, sharp cheddar, and marbled rye. Thankfully, it all came together very well. It’s a powerhouse of briny, sour goodness, with enough sweetness from the onions and cabbage to cut through for some balance. Add the earthy rye and the tangy mustard mayo and this dish is completely delicious.

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     The briny, sour vibes of this sandwich led to find me a pleasantly unexpected partner in La Crema’s 2015 Monterey Pinot Noir. Its tangy dark fruit and citrus notes come alongside its peppery spice to fit right in with the corned beef and sauerkraut. The two come together quite well, and the result is delightful. Head over to La Crema’s blog now to get the recipe!

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     This is a sponsored post and, as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread.

SKYLINE MARGARITA


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     John and I have grown to love something about his parents we both never expected: their adorable passion for margaritas. Half the times we visit them we head over to this amazing Mexican restaurant near their home whose renowned margaritas come in glasses big enough to be a goldfish’s abode. And whether it’s a summer day spent barbecuing in the backyard or a family vacation by the beach, my parents always come equipped to whip anyone up one of these salt-rimmed delights in minutes.

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     Now last Thursday was International Margarita Day, so now’s clearly as good a time as any to sit back and enjoy one of these delicious drinks. And while can’t release the secrets of John’s parents’ recipe, I have something even better: an original recipe from cocktail expert Megan Radke, from none other than our beloved last home, Seattle. She’s currently competing in Patron’s 2018 Margarita of the Year competition, so this is the real deal.

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     Margaritas often come in an impressive but overwhelming variety. Some, like my husband, like them as classic as possible—just tequila, triple sec, and lime juice without the frills. But what’s surprising is that you can stretch and twist the basic building blocks in a number of directions, but the margarita rarely breaks. It’s a very versatile cocktail that often improves with innovation, and that’s exactly the case with this recipe, which Radke calls the Skyline Margarita. It begins with Patron silver, whose citrusy sweet smoothness lends a wonderful foundation. Next is Patron Citronge Orange (a liqueur), lime juice, and blackberry shrub, which impart an acidic, bitter, and tangy edge. The drink is finished with cayenne chili, both as syrup and salt, which come alongside the silver’s peppery palate for an extra punch. Once garnished with orange zest, this concoction is a delectably aromatic cocktail.

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     This is a sponsored post and, as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread.


Skyline Margarita

Created by Megan Radke from Seattle, WA

1.5 oz Patrón Silver

.5 oz Patrón Citrónge Orange

1 oz Lime juice

.75 oz Blackberry shrub*

.25 oz Cayenne-chili syrup**

Cayenne-chili salt rim***

Orange zest for garnish


Method

1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill.
2. Fine-strain through a mesh strainer over fresh ice into a cayenne-chili salt-rimmed rocks glass.
3. Garnish with orange zest.

*Blackberry shrub: Combine equal parts blackberries, cane sugar and red wine vinegar in a blender, blend until liquefied, then strain out solids.

**Cayenne-chili syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar, one cup water, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once the desired flavor is achieved, strain out solids. Alternately, use .25 oz simple syrup, a slice of cayenne or other hot pepper, and a pinch of chili powder.

***Cayenne-chili rim: 4 parts kosher salt + 1 part chili powder +1 part cayenne.

Meyer Lemon & Ricotta Scones with a blood orange glaze


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     I can’t believe I am saying this, but John and I are officially Californians again! Seattle was our home for over 6 years, so while it’s a little weird not to be there anymore, I will say that it feels great to be back in the state where we both grew up. It’s so nice being near family. That was seriously one of the hardest things for me when living in Seattle—missing birthdays, holidays, and other important events was the worst. But now that we are back, I get to reconnect with friends, spend more time with family, and bask in that glorious California sun.

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     Since we’ve moved, I haven’t let a single week go by without consuming a load of fresh, bright citrus. Every market I’ve gone to has the most impressive selection of fruit. I have even found varieties that I have never seen like finger limes (which are crazy cute) and cocktail grapefruits (which taste like a sweet lime crossed with grapefruit) I’m loving all this citrus so much that I’ve baked these meyer lemon and ricotta scones three times already. It all started with some inspiration from The Smitten Kitchen, which I then adapted into this citrus-forward recipe. I made a batch to snack with my morning coffee, another for a party we went to, another for a weekend brunch gathering. Try out the recipe below—you won’t regret it.

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Lemon & Ricotta Scones

Serves 8

Scones

¼ cup granulated sugar

3 large meyer lemons, zested 

2 cups AP flour

1 tbs baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tbs poppy seeds

6 tbs unsalted butter

⅓ cup plus 1 tsp heavy cream

¾ cup ricotta

1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Blood Orange Glaze

⅔ cup plus 3 tbsp powdered sugar

5 1/2-6 tsp blood orange juice


Method

Heat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.

To a large bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers for a minute or so, or until the sugar has turned slightly yellow and has become fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds to the bowl and whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl add the heavy cream, ricotta, and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth.

Add the cubed butter to the bowl with the flour mixture and with your fingers rub the butter into the mixture until the butter forms into pea-sized clumps (you could use a pastry cutter). 

Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture and mix until you form a shaggy dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead together into a disc roughly 7 inches wide.

Cut into 8 equal sized pieces and place onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through. Cool for a minute or two in the pan then transfer to cooling rack. Once cooled, start making the glaze.

To make the glaze, mix powdered sugar and blood orange juice together until smooth. Drizzle over scones and enjoy.

Rose & Cardamom Hot Chocolate


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     Valentine’s Day or not, chocolate is one of my weaknesses. This is especially the case nowadays since every single market I visit is overloaded with heart-shaped treats just begging to dive into my basket as I peruse. I wish I had a stronger sense of self control, but I don’t—and I'm totally okay with that. 

     Now since Valentine’s Day coincides with this wintry time perfect for hot chocolate, I am sharing my recipe for this wonderfully fragrant rose and cardamom infused version of this delicious treat.

     It was Beth Kirby from Local Milk who introduced me to the herbal, sweet, and complex flavor combination that is the union of cardamom and rose. They’re the perfect match for a season such as this, especially when infused into a warm cup of hot cocoa. 

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Rose & Cardamom Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

2 cups milk, soy milk, or any other milk alternative

2 1/2 tbs dried rose petals

7 lightly crushed cardamom pods

2 tbs granulated sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 heaped tbs semi-sweet chocolate chips

rose water, see note below*

a bit of lightly sweetened whipped cream, to garnish

Equipment: small saucepan, fine-mesh sieve, whisk


Method

Place the milk, rose petals, and crushed cardamom pods into the saucepan and set over medium heat. Once the milk is just beginning to simmer, immediately remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let everything steep for 20 minutes.

Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup. Give the saucepan a quick rinse (only to remove any petals that may remain) then pour the milk back in and set over medium-low heat. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together until smooth. Once the hot chocolate reaches the desired temperature, divide between two cups, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!

*if you find yourself wanting a more pronounced rose flavor, simply add the tiniest drop of rose water to the hot chocolate prior to serbing . This stuff is quite potent, so the tiniest of drops should do. 

 

 

 

A week in Cancun


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     Each year growing up, my mother would take me and my sister to her little hometown deep in Mexico. To be immersed in the culture, land, and history of my heritage was always so special, and it was during those trips that my love for travel and culture began growing. It's no wonder then, that when John and I were presented with the chance to visit this lovely country last month we jumped at the opportunity. This time the destination wasn’t a tiny obscure town in the middle of nowhere, but beautiful, bustling, coastal Cancun. And although enjoying the impossibly gorgeous beaches and indulging in authentic Mexican dishes was so much fun, speaking Spanish again was really the best. Diving back into this language brought forth a flood of precious memories from past trips with my mother that made the overall experience that much better.

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     Now though I in particular have many memories tied to Mexico because of my past, it’s actually a pretty magical place to make memories for any one—Cancun especially. John and I first visited Cancun several years ago, and visions of electric turquoise waves, deep inviting cenotes, and towering ancient ruins are still fresh in our minds. But best of all, we remember standing at the edge of the water at sunset on a lone dock with glasses of champagne in hand, renewing our vows to one another on the day of our first anniversary. And that’s what Cancun is capable of—it’s romantic, serene, breath-taking, and one of the best places in the world to make memories like that.

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     For our latest trip to this seaside gem, we stayed at the wonderful Finest Resort and basked each day in sun rays we thought didn’t exist anymore (for most of each year in Seattle, the sun transforms into a mere myth). We stayed in a comfortable room with its own pool out back, a jacuzzi, and a comfy hammock to swing in. The whole place was just what John and I needed to have a relaxing and comfortable trip.

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 We certainly took our time to rest, but we also made sure to get out and visit ancient sites, Mayan temples, and coastal towns. So if any of you are visiting Cancun soon, I've included some tips below to help make the most of out your trip.

     First, fly Alaska Airlines. I know there are a lot of airline carriers out there, but this flight was one of the most comfortable and accommodating flights I have been on in a long time. They recently introduced a wonderful direct flight to Cancun from Seattle, which fantastic because in just 6 hours we were soaking up that warm Mexican sun. Plus, they offer in-flight wifi and texting which is always a nice bonus because that allows me to keep in touch with everything going on back on the ground :) 

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 Second, get out of the resort. Don't get me wrong, staying at the resort is a wonderful thing, but there is so much more to see and experience beyond the walls of your hotel. I highly recommend Chichen Itza and Tulum—two ancient sites beautifully preserved from a thousand years ago. Heading to either of these spots will include a lengthy drive, but it is totally worth it. Also, if you do make it out to Tulum, I suggest stopping in the nearby city of Playa Del Carmen. It is a cute beachside town that is perfect for shopping, walking around, or for enjoying some authentic Mexican food.

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Third, make sure to try some authentic Mexican food. Take some time out of your resort to drive along the coast and visit big cities and small towns. And don’t avoid the hole-in-the-wall restaurants—they’re likely the best around.

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     And Lastly, bring A LOT of bug spray. Seems like a small tip, but the difference between having this on hand and not is the difference between a good vacation and bad one. Keep the mosquitos away and enjoy yourself!

     Here are a few other food spots that we we didn't get a chance to check out.

Matchamama

Raw Love Beach

Tunich

     Many thanks to Alaska Air for sending John and I on this incredible trip. This was a sponsored post and as always, all opinions are my own.

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