Butter is one of those things you think you can depend on. It will be there, salted or unsalted, whenever you need to bake a cake, add some flavor to a piece of bread or whip up your favorite Paula Deen recipe. Butter was ye ole faithful and reliable in my kitchen up until a few weeks ago.
Enter Vermont Creamery and Maple Sea Salt butter – a major game changer. I was lucky enough to be able to taste test this new version of the creamery’s butter and it was heavenly. A balanced combination of maple flavor and buttery goodness; I’d envision pancakes topped with this goodness would be nothing short of perfection. The sea salt crystals do exactly what they should, add a salty tang that finishes nicely on the tongue.
In terms of pairing this butter with foods, I’ve mostly enjoyed it with a variety of breads, a staple side to many dinners coming out of my kitchen. My favorites are sourdough and banana bread.
Not interested in a sweet butter? Don’t you worry. Vermont Creamery is more than a pretty maple butter. In fact, they make a few more to-die-for options. All of their butters are cultured in a European-style and are made from fresh, hormone-free local cream. Read: their ingredients are high-quality and locally-sourced. Major points in my book because you really can taste the difference. In fact, we refer to Vermont Creamery’s butter as “the good butter” in this household.
Want to get your hands on some of this goodness? It’s exclusively available at Whole Foods locations across the country.
Products were provided by Vermont Creamery, but opinions are all my own
Pretty in pink, pretty in a drink. Entertaining is easy with these cute rose-tinted drinks.
Okay, okay – enough rhyming. Although, who wouldn’t want to sip on these fancy little things. I love the idea of putting a bit of extra work in the beverages at a party or really anytime. I think a weekend lunch al fresco would be divine with one of these beauties.
Pink Izze Pops
Pink Lemonade in Mason Jars
Photo Credit 1 | 2
So I know chocolate and summer don’t really go together like peanut butter and jelly, but this week my summer has been full of chocolately treats. Word to the wise, don’t ever leave a Whole Foods without checking out the chocolate section… mmmmmm so good! Anywho… here’s what treats I’ve been snacking on this week.
Now back to your regularly scheduled eats… This week I recorded Tuesday’s meals. Roll with it…
Breakfast – steel cut oats, blueberries and chia seeds. I also had 8 oz of a protein shake after I did a morning workout.
Snacks and Lunch – Greek yogurt with strawberries (not too exciting, not pictured), letftover homemade pizza, Trader Joe’s Edamame Crackers, String cheese, apple and natural peanut butter (this one I just forget to photograph… and just realized it now.)
Dinner time – I made the lemony rice from WIAW week #2 except this time I added Italian sausage… and a Lakefront Brewery Wisconsinite beer – made in one of my most favorite cities, Milwaukee.
Welp, that’s it for this week! Happy eating! : )
Alright — who can’t believe August starts today?! It seems like summer has really flown by, yet since it has been a regular old heat wave all of July, it seems like it’s also been going on forever.
This month, What I Ate Wednesday takes on the theme Summer Staples. For me, some of the greatest summer staples are fresh, sweet fruit. Strawberries, blueberries and pineapple fill my meals (from Monday this week). There is just something so refreshing about biting into a piece of cool, crisp and naturally sweetened fruit.
Also, in terms of fitness (which we talked about in July), I have, have to give a shout out to the Olympics! I’ve been hooked to my TV every night and find myself wishing I could just skip work for two weeks and watch every event. Going into August my fitness inspiration is coming from these amazing athletes. Oh and Go USA!!
Let’s roll the images:
Breakfast = steel cut oats with blueberries, pomegranate seeds and chia seeds
Lunch = Spinach salad with strawberries, cucumbers, bell peppers, olive oil dressing (was supposed to have quinoa too, but I forgot to add it in Monday morning)
Dinner = Lemon pepper chicken, couscous and broccoli (not too exciting, but needed after a weekend of indulgence!)
After dinner snack/dessert = Fresh pineapple
Last week I came across a fun blog link-up from Peas & Crayons called What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW for short). Basically it goes like this — one day a week you record everything you eat in photos and share with other bloggers. Soooo… here it goes! Make sure to click through and read the rest of the posts linked-up on Peas & Crayons.
For my first WIAW I documented a typical Tuesday (or really any weekday for that matter).
Breakfast: Steel cut oats with cinnamon and raspberries, Tazo Awake black tea, glass of OJ (not pictured)
Morning Snack: Greek yogurt with frozen strawberries
Lunch: Salad I made at the beginning of the week with bell peppers, romaine lettuce, avocado, black beans, cucumber & zucchini and an orange (not pictured).
Pre-workout snack: 1/2 of a Think Thin protein bar (Side note – it was really hot out and I didn’t feel like heading back out into the heat to go to the gym so I tried this calisthenics workout from Pinterest. It ended up being pretty tough and I was happy I did it).
Dinner: I picked up some new items from Trader Joe’s the other day, so tonight’s dinner was made mostly with those. Organic wheat pasta, vodka sauce and grassfed beef. Accompanied by bread and a glass of Lynfred Winery Sangiovese.
What have been your favorite meals this week?
Disclaimer: It’s beer fest season. That time of the year where streets open up (or I guess, shut down) so people can gather to enjoy, yep, you guessed it – beer. I will be attending many of these events in the coming months, so therefore I apologize (although I don’t feel there is anything to be sorry about) for all the posts about beer. Just pop the cap of your brew of choice and deal.
It’s been a few years since I made it to Two Brothers Hop Juice Festival, but it was well worth the trip. We only spent about an hour and half at the fest since we had a wedding to go to in the evening, but a glass of Hop Juice IIPA and some pork tacos made a fabulous afternoon snack.
One of my favorite elements of the Two Brothers experience is that not only is the beer good, the food is phenomenal. I personally think their food is so delicious because they place emphasis on the quality of their ingredients. The menus boosts organic this and local that, and believe me, you can taste the difference.
Anyway, back to the tacos. The pork tacos did not disappoint. The meat was tender and topped with cilantro, onions and what I thought was a tomatillo sauce with the perfect bit of sweetness and heat.
Since I’m a food (ahem) enthusiast, I also tried falafel and buenelos (donut holes with an orange marmalade sauce. ) They were both good, but the tacos won out as my favorites. Looking forward to visiting the restaurant again soon to eat more of them.
Somewhere between trading in my textbooks for work memos and countless boxes of pasta for “real” food and recipes, I started to enjoy grocery shopping. Yes — I’ll say that again. I, Dana Marie Peters, like to grocery shop. I know, I know, it seems unbelievable, but once I really started getting involved with making dinner each night and put FoodNetwork.com on my bookmark list, I found that the grocery store is a pleasant place to be. Maybe it’s normal rite of passage or maybe I’ve just taken my love for food too far.
Either way, my ears perked up when I heard about a new grocery delivery service called Artizone. Now before you go comparing this to Peapod, listen up. Don’t expect to fill your cart with Cheerios, frozen pizza and ice cream (what a meal that would be – ha!), but rather fine artisan products like fresh cheeses, fish and extra virgin olive oils all brought to you by local (in this case, Chicago) stores.
While I haven’t tried this services or the products, here are a few highlights that look like they are worth mentioning and have a taste to match:
Italian Superior Bakery - Freshly baked bread at my doorstep – I’ll take it.
The Spice House – Herbs, spices and flavorings – oh my!
Hagen’s Fish Market – Fish tastes best fresh, so save the catching to someone else.
The whole idea of this service really intrigues me and is a great rebuttal to people who say they are too busy to eat well – I mean you can just get it delivered nowadays. However, I’m not quite convinced I’m personally ready to give up the experience of going to the grocery store — even better yet the types of shops that produce such quality, artisan foods. What do ya’ll think? Would you order from Artizone — maybe you already have? I wanna know.
March marks National Nutrition Month, a time for reflection and more importantly, action. What does this mean exactly? The theme pretty much says it all: Get Your Plate in Shape.
The campaign is based on the MyPlate guidelines set forth by Mrs. Obama and the U.S. government. MyPlate standards replaced the outdated food pyramid and is a visual representation and tool to healthy, balanced eating. As many of us know, a well-balanced diet protects us from disease while allowing us to feel our best and live life to our fullest. However, the McDonald’s drive-thru still exists and processed foods can be oh-so-convenient.
I invite you (and challenge you) to take a literal and metaphorical step in the right direction this month and take charge of the food that goes into your body and your health overall. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as one of the ways you begin and continue your journey to the best you yet.
Welcome to Conscious Kitchen — we’re always open.
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