Maple Pecan Glazed GF Doughnuts

As a kid, my favorite place to visit was Carol Lee Doughnuts. It is a locally owned doughnut shop in Blacksburg, VA that has the most incredible doughnuts! Their Maple Glazed Doughnut was my all-time favorite, and after we moved back to the area,  was such a treat to have occasionally. Just walking in the door, smelling the sweet smell, brought back so many childhood memories! So, when I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy 8 years ago, I was devastated.  And yes, I literally cried!

I had not attempted to make gluten free doughnuts until a few months ago. I thought it would be impossible to recreate something so delicious using gluten free flours & unrefined sugar. Boy was I wrong!  I have adjusted my lifestyle so much over the past 10 years and love making cleaner versions of the sweet treats that I love, without compromising the flavor. I now use honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or sugar in the raw, as sweeteners instead of refined sugar.

GF Glazed Doughnuts

I wanted to make baked doughnuts, so I bought a pan and started experimenting with gluten free & paleo recipes. I was lucky to have a dear friend visiting and she became my ultimate taste tester!  I have to say, this is one of my absolute favorites! My friend had to eat hers in silence…it was THAT good!

*This recipe is adapted from Edible Perspective’s Maple Sea Salt Doughnut recipe.

DOUGHNUT INGREDIENTS:

1 c. Krusteaz Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

3 TBsp. Almond Flour

2 TBsp. Sugar in the Raw or Coconut Sugar

1 tsp. Baking Powder

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

2 Eggs

1/3 c. Almond Milk

1/4 c. Unsweetened Applesauce

3 1/2 TBsp. Pure Maple Syrup

2 TBsp. Coconut Oil, melted

2 Tsp. Vanilla

MAPLE PECAN GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

2 TBsp. Unsalted Butter

1/4 c. Pure Maple Syrup

1 tsp. Almond Milk

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar

1/2 c. Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 doughnut pans liberally with butter. Sift the all purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon & salt into a large bowl and mix to combine.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Add almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, coconut oil & vanilla. Stir until combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. *Be careful not to over mix or the doughnuts will be tough, stop mixing as soon as all of the flour is incorporated.

Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture into the doughnut pans, until filled 2/3’s of the way full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown and the top springs back to the touch.

Remove doughnuts to a plate and allow to cool for a few minutes.

To make the glaze: Place all of the ingredients, except the pecans, into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, stiring continuously until the glaze begins to thicken slightly, 5-6 minutes.

Remove from heat and drizzle on top of each doughnut, or dunk the doughnuts one by one into the glaze. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans while still warm.

Try not to eat them all!

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out Candice’s website for more amazing recipes! Also, be sure to follow her on Instagram

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Cherries & Almonds

Did you know that chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet? Neither did I, and I had been a huge skeptic because I wasn’t sure I could handle the texture. After looking at several recipes, I decided to give them a try.  I knew that anything soaked overnight in almond or coconut milk had to be amazing!

This recipe has become my go to and is extremely versatile.  I love to top mine with lots of nuts and berries to give it more of a crunchy consistency and it is incredibly delicious!

Are you still wondering what makes these tiny seeds so healthy? They are are packed with protein, fiber and Omega-3’s, making this pudding a power-packed snack or breakfast.  So go ahead, give it a try!

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INGREDIENTS:

3/4 c. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk or Unsweetened Coconut Milk

3 & 1/2 TBsp. Chia Seeds

2 tsp. Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Dash of Cinnamon

1-2 TBsp. Cherries, chopped

1-2 TBsp. Sliced Almonds

In a glass or mason jar, mix all of the ingredients, except cherries & almonds, together. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and stir until the pudding becomes a thicker consistency.  Top with cherries & almonds.

Enjoy!

Please check out Candice’s amazing website for more delicious recipes! www.alwaysbeblooming.com

And be sure to follow her on Instagram! 

Drunken Brussels with Apple Chicken Sausage

Do you have a recipe that was created on the fly and became a family favorite? Well this is one of mine.  I had no idea that drinking a Bold Rock Hard Cider, while cooking, could lead to something so incredibly delicious! After I posted the original picture to Instagram, I was contacted by Bold Rock asking for the recipe, which I thought was pretty cool, but had to remember exactly what I did!

I love to find recipes and tweak them, but this is one of my original creations and one that my whole family loves! I hope that it will become a favorite in your house as well!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 Bag Brussels Sprouts, outer leaves removed & quartered

1 tsp. Garlic, minced

1/2 c. Red Onion, diced

1  Gala Apple, cored & diced 

2 TBsp. Coconut Oil

1 tsp. Tarragon, dried (or Mother Bragg’s Sprinkle)

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1/4 c.- 1/2 c. Bold Rock Hard Apple Cider

1 pkg. Aidells Apple Chicken Sausages

In a cast iron skillet, heat the coconut oil over Med.-High heat. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions begin to soften, 2-3 minutes.  Add the brussels sprouts, apples, tarragon, salt & pepper. Cook until the sprouts & apples begin to soften and caramelize slightly, stirring frequently, about 4- 5 minutes. Add the  Bold Rock Cider to de-glaze the pan and continue to cook 5-6 more minutes, until the sprouts are tender and the cider has reduced down.

Roast the Chicken Sausages in the oven at 350 until they are heated through and crispy on the outside. This should only take about 8 minutes. Place sliced sausages on top of the drunken brussels and serve.

Enjoy!

Please check out Candice’s amazing website for more delicious recipes! www.alwaysbeblooming.com

And be sure to follow her on Instagram! 

RALEIGH: NC MUSEUM OF ART + MITCH’S TAVERN

Earlier today while looking outside on this gray and dismal day, I couldn’t help to think about this past summer when I visited the NC Museum of Art. The Museum of Art is something that I think a lot of people tend to look over. There’s lots of different sections inside and out. A personal favorite is the Park and the trails that hook up to the Capital Area Greenway. The museum is a fantastic attraction located in West Raleigh, near the State Fairgrounds. Also, some of the areas are completely free!

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On this particular day, there were two fantastic exhibits going on: “0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art” and “Dwelling: Interiors by Page H. Laughlin and Pamela Pecchio.” Both were incredible but my new favorite artist is Page H. Laughlin, a professor at Wake Forest University. Her execution and implementation of colors left me breathless. I could have stared at her pinks and blues all day. After further research, I was surprised to read that she was recreating interiors from popular high-end design magazines and she plays around the the fantasy of materialism. Ironically enough, her color schemes would work well in my one bedroom apartment above my hand-me-down mail table.

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After parading in and out of the museum, it was time to grub. I looked at my watch and was disappointed to realize that Iris, the on-site restaurant at the museum had closed. This called for a backup plan and I knew just the place: Mitch’s Tavern. To get to Mitch’s, you must brave the parking on Hillsborough St. and the creaky stairs (it’s located on the second floor). Most people may know Mitch’s for the scene in Bull Durham, others may know it for their outstanding service. One thing everyone should know it for is their Real Cuban Sandwich.

This is literally one of the best Cubans I’ve ever had in my life. Everything about it is perfect. The pork is super tender, the ham is to die for, the pickles, the mustard, the cheese! All on the most amazing slices of bread. All of the favors are married in a beautiful scene that would turn any doubter into a true believer. It’s perfect.

So perfect, that I forgot to take a picture of it. (Or, was it the jalapeno beer?) Whatever you do, go to Mitch’s, sit at the copper table, and order the Cuban. Your life will change and your wallet will love you. The Real Cuban is only $6.95 and comes with chips.

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Mercer-Williams House

You may already be familiar with the Mercer -Williams House from the book written by John Berendt or the 1997 movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. You may also be familiar with the murder of Danny Hansford that took place inside the home, but did you know this house is the site of other strange deaths and occurrences? I got a chance to visit the home a few months back, and what I learned is wildly fascinating.

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This hauntingly beautiful home is located at the southern end of the Historic District on Bull Street, in Monterey Square. Nowadays it is a living museum, which you can tour, but for years, it was a private residence. The house was first designed by John S. Norris for General Hugh Weedon Mercer (great-grandfather of the songwriter Johnny Mercer). Construction of the house began in 1860. However, the building of the house was interrupted by the American Civil War, and was not completed until around 1868 by the new owner, John Wilder.

For a period of time, in the 1900’s the building was used as the Savannah Shriners Alee Temple. It then lay vacant for a decade until 1969 when Jim Williams bought the house and restored it.

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Jim Williams in front of the Mercer House on Monterey Square in this Jan. 12, 1980 Savannah Morning News photo.

Jim Williams,  played by Kevin Spacey in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was an antique dealer and restorationist who was described as being very “eccentric”. He would host Savannah’s most extravagant parties inside of the Mercer -Williams House and by all accounts was well liked.

This all changed after May 2, 1981 when Jim Williams shot his assistant Danny Hansford with whom he had a sexual relationship with.

Williams was subsequently charged for murder and tried an astounding four times before finally being acquitted in 1989 by a jury in Augusta, GA.

July 1985 Jim Williams leaving with lawyer S. Seiler
July 1985 Jim Williams leaving with lawyer Sonny Seiler

Jim Williams supposedly believed in Voodoo and would often call upon the services of Valerie Boles, known in the book and movie as Minerva. Valerie was the wife of the infamous Dr. Buzzard. When performing a ritual, Valerie would do it at her husband’s grave, which is located in the Beaufort, SC area. She claimed that from 11:30 to midnight it was the best time  for working good magic. From midnight to 12:30 is for working evil magic. There are a few scenes in the movie where Williams (Kevin Spacey) goes to see Valerie “Minerva” in the graveyard to talk about Danny Hansford.

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Savannah attorney Sonny Seiler stands with Valerie Fennel Aiken Bowls in this photograph dated 2002. Bowls was better known as the voodoo priestess “Minerva” in the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

While on a Ghost Tour, our guide told us that right before Jim Williams died, Minerva was seen leaving the Mercer-Williams house. It is rumored that during the trials, Williams asked Boles to work her magic and get him acquitted but once he was, he did not honor the payment arrangement. Some believe this angered Boles, and that she placed a death curse on Williams.

On January 14, 1990, six months after the trial, Williams died unexpectedly in his home, at age 59, from “pneumonia and heart failure”. Reportedly, Williams fell dead in almost the same spot where Danny Hansford was shot to death nearly a decade earlier…

Even before Hansford’s death in 1981, the Mercer-Williams house had already been the scene of two deaths. In 1913 a previous owner “tripped” over the second floor banister, fractured his hip,  suffered a concussion,  then died three days later.

In 1969, a boy chasing pigeons on the roof fell over the edge and impaled himself on the iron fence below.

The kid falling off the roof, and impaling himself was also told to us while on the Blur Orb Ghost Tour. However, it was told a little differently. Apparently when Jim Williams bought the house in 1969, the house was always left opened and not one, but two kids went up on the roof of the house to chase pigeons. According to our very enthusiastic guide, one of the kids started “acting funny” as if possessed. The boy then walked to the edge of the roof and threw himself off. Either way the child did in fact fall from the roof impaling himself.

If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor, read the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil , then watch the movie. After that, book yourself a tour of the home (usually takes about 30 minutes ), then that night, book yourself a ghost tour. All tours will go by Mercer-Williams house.

To me, the Mercer-House is an amazing place with a fascinating backstory and if you believe in ghosts and curses and the like…this is your place.

 

 

Spirits and Style in Savannah (The Grey)

The Grey epitomizes the city’s entry into the modern era of Southern living

-By Jillian Hillard

The Grey

Savannah has its fair share of charm, delicious cuisine and classic style, but plan a night at The Grey and you’ll find yourself getting a taste of Southern nostalgia combined with a modern dining experience you’d expect in New York. Local isn’t a trend here, it’s a lifestyle. Dishes are rooted in the soil and sea that surround the area, yet amplified by the sharp techniques of Executive Chef and Partner Mashama Bailey.

On one end of the starter spectrum are the colorful beets with goat cheese and a touch lemon – they’re fresh with a melt in your mouth quality. But it’s the simple delight of creamy burratta on grilled bread with earthy, roasted mushrooms that begs the question, how can they go up from here … and yet they do.

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For entrees, this restaurant is all about the fish. Whether a whole catch of the day roasted and boldly flavored with seasonal citrus or the signature Fish Tangine, Chef Bailey knows how to make the uniqueness of each fish shine with well paired flavors and local produce.

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However, the real spirit of The Grey lies in the décor and the drinks. If you can only muster a stop at The Grey, the ambiance says it all as Founding Parner Johno Morisano settled on restoring a Greyhound Bus Terminal for the restaurant’s location. It’s ok to revel at how old architecture meets modern in this cool location while you sip on crafty cocktails that are well worth the wait to prepare. In Savannah, if you want to be seen and stylish, start here. http://www.thegreyrestaurant.com

The New South is Here