The Parlour – Durham, NC

Surprise! I didn’t think I was going to have time to blog this week, but turns out I do! And today I am sharing something I am SO passionate about. It is ice cream, and ice cream I found in Durham, NC.

As an ice cream lover, I am SO LOYAL to my chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve in a cake cone (also known as a wafer cone). I usually top it off with rainbow sprinkles, and voilà! That is ice cream bliss for me. However, while I was at the American Dance Festival last year in Durham, I discovered “The Parlour”, which is downtown Durham’s favorite local ice cream shop, and for good reason!

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Not only do they have homemade flavors such as Lavendar-Vanilla, Blueberry Buttermilk, Salty Malty Caramel Truffle, and Coconut Cream Pie (all of these are DELISH by the way), they have Kalamansi and Blueberry flavored sorbet. In addition to these, they have vegan options like Yuzu Mandarin and even Chocolate! Among my favorites of all of their amazing varieties is their Vegan Chocolate ice cream! And I must say – it actually bumps chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles to 2nd place in my favorites book. There is actually no competition – this vegan chocolate ice cream has landed #1 as my favorite ice cream of ALL TIME!

Their vegan chocolate ice cream has a consistency between a hard ice cream and a soft serve. It is not too hard, yet it is not super soft. Unfortunately, I suffer from a lactose sensitivity, so my love for ice cream is plagued by a bought of stomach cramps and bloating, and a trip to the bathroom after eating it.

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BUT this ice cream is incredible because it is vegan so I avoid the effects of the lactose and heavy milk fats. Plus, it has such depth to it’s taste! It tastes like a serious fudge brownie, and I am able to enjoy all of it’s cold, chocolatey deliciousness without the lactose-induced bellyaches that usually follow.

I took my mom to The Parlour the day we drove down to NC together to show her how amazing it actually is. And she loved it. She ended up buying the Blueberry Buttermilk, and she tried my vegan chocolate and said it was too good to be vegan!

If you all find yourselves in Durham, North Carolina definitely stop in to The Parlour and try one of their many amazing flavors. I dare you to order the vegan chocolate and not love it! I bet you will love it so much you’ll go back for seconds! And thirds, and fourths…

I will be posting more about my food and travels throughout the next two months! Keep your eyes out – I will be dancing a lot which means I will be very hungry 😉

Until next time,

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Citrus, Ginger, Coconut Water – Spring Thirst Quencher

Hello everyone!

Lately, I’ve been switching a lot of my cooking products/products I eat to coconut-derived products. For example, I’ve switched my milk to unsweetened coconut-almond milk; instead of olive oil, I use organic coconut oil; and instead of bringing regular water to rehearsals and teaching, I’ve been making this coconut ginger citrus water instead! I want to share this recipe because it has changed the way I hydrate, and I’ve only been experimenting with it for a week!

When I dance a lot/exercise a lot, sometimes regular water (room temperature or cold) becomes hard to swallow. That’s not a metaphor – I mean for me personally water becomes really hard to swallow because it just doesn’t cut it with no electrolytes or anything to replenish the salts I lose through sweat. I’ve never been a fan of Gatorade unless I have a bad cold! I just can’t tolerate the sugar when I am burning energy because it leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.

Coconut water has A TON of natural electrolytes and salts you need to replenish your body, without artificial colors, flavors, or added sugar and syrups. Although coconut water plain is just as good for you, it is an acquired taste. When sweating, plain coconut water may not be the best option to drink because it’s a bit bitter, thick, and salty. This citrus and ginger coconut water quencher is sure to provide a better, more palatable flavor, and yummy hydration for everyday drinking.

This is not my original recipe, however, you can get creative and add as much or as little as you want! I found the original recipe here: https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/coconut-water-benefits/.

What you’ll need:

  • All natural coconut water (**I’ve used Vita Coco and Goya Coconut Water**).
    • Usually I use the regular 2-cup servings in the box you can get at the supermarket. Pictured is a larger coconut water, which may be more economical if you’re making this drink frequently.
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Regular filtered water
  • Fresh Lemon
  • Fresh Lime
  • Honey (if you want a little sweetness!)
  • A blender or NutriBullet

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What to do:

  1. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of coconut water to your blender
  2. Add 0.5 – 1.5 cups of regular filtered water to your blender (depending on how concentrated you would like the coconut water to be)
  3. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  4. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  5. Grate the ginger root and add 1/4 teaspoon or more of ginger to your mix (add more or less to taste)
  6. Optional Step: Add 1 tablespoon or more of honey for sweetness
  7. Blend!!
  8. Taste test, and adjust whatever more or less of whatever it may need. Or if you are satisfied, move on to the next step!
  9. Transfer to a refrigerator safe container, and chill. Serve cold!

It will stay fresh for up to two weeks in the refrigerator (if it lasts that long – it is SOO good!). It is best served chilled, and over ice. You can add fresh lemon and lime wedges, or more grated ginger to the top for garnish if you are planning to serve this to dinner guests/friends. You can blend it with ice and make a healthy, quenching, slushy, or even add tequila if it is Taco Tuesday and you’re feeling like you want a healthy twist on a margarita!

I’ve found this recipe to be delicious with a little more lemon and lime, a little extra water (not too much though), and a little extra ginger. I’ve also found it to be delicious with, or without honey! I will definitely be making this a lot while I am attending the American Dance Festival, and will be making this for all of the shows I have coming up! (I’m performing in my first full-length ballet – Midsummer Night’s Dream – in June).

What’s your favorite way to hydrate? If you try this recipe, or have another coconut water recipe, please share it in the comments! I would love to try it!

Xoxo

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Vegan, Delicious Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Hi everyone!

I’ve been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, including changing what I am putting into my body. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy mindset, and I’ve been playing around with different recipes and types of food to sustain me. A few weeks ago, I decided to try to cook steel cut oats as an alternative to my usual go-to flattened rolled oats. I found an awesome recipe on Cookie+Kate on how to cook steel cut oats, so here is the recipe and what I did!

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Fun Fact: Did you know steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled, flattened oats because the oat grain itself is cut in half? Thus, it is thicker and pointier than a flattened oat, and takes longer to cook thoroughly. Both types of oats derive from the same groat grain, however, flattened “quick” oats are more processed which is why the health food community prefers steel cut oats, as they are less processed!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup milk of choice: almond milk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc. (**I USED UNSWEETENED COCONUT ALMOND MILK**)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter (**I USED COCONUT OIL**)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (**I USED HIMILAYAN PINK SALT**)
  • Any toppings you want! Fruits, nuts, seeds, syrup, honey, etc.

DIRECTIONS

Add the water and milk to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a skillet, melt the coconut oil and add the steel cut oats. Toast the oats for 2 to 5 minutes until they are fragrant. (I personally toasted mine for 7 min as I let my liquid mixture heat. I was not disappointed, and the oats smelled incredible).

Once the oats are toasted and the liquid mixture is simmering, add the oats to the liquid. Reduce heat slightly to prevent scorching, and cook for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture should be thick. After 20 min, add the salt, and continue to cook and simmer for an additional 10 minutes (give or take depending on preference, or if you’ve doubled the recipe). Make sure to stir a few more times during the last 10 minutes.

Once the time is up, remove it from heat, transfer to a bowl, and get creative with toppings!

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For my bowl, I added two teaspoons of light brown sugar, a tablespoon and a half of organic maple syrup, frozen strawberries (that thawed on the hot cereal and were super sweet!), sliced banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, and flax seeds!

This recipe yields a lot of product, so make sure to let the oats cool completely in a covered pot before putting in a covered tuperware and storing in the refriegerator. If you don’t let them cool completely before storing them, they could form a layer of discoloration on the top of the oats. This is normal and is not bad for you, however, it may look unappetizing, and then you’ll have to scrape off the discolored part before reheating or eating cold. So to save yourself the trouble, and cover them and let them cool!

I also ate some left over the next morning and served them as cold oats. It was delicious! This recipe takes some patience, but the leftovers are great for busy mornings after! Also, toasting the oats beforehand gives them such a better flavor and creamier texture! It really is worth the extra few minutes!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and give it a try! How do you like your oats? Let me know in the comments below!

Xoxo

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Easy Homemade Chia Pudding Bowls

Hi everybody!

Lately, I am OBSSESSED with chia pudding bowls topped with fresh fruit, nutella, and peanut butter! Around NJ, you can buy them at certain quick-eat restaurants that sell acai bowls, smoothie bowls, and fruit bowls. I cannot afford to buy chia pudding bowls multiple times a week, however, so I decided to make my own chia pudding at home!

If you don’t know what chia pudding is, it is basically a mixture of chia seeds and milk. When mixed, it forms a gelatinous kind of texture that is similar to tapioca pudding. Chia seeds absorb 9x their weight, so naturally the mixture forms this interesting tapioca-like texture.

For this recipe, I bought Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds at Shoprite for $8.99, and some Silk brand unsweetened coconut almond blend milk. You can use any type of milk you want, but I prefer nut milk blends!

In addition, you will need a mason jar or container to mix it all in, some vanilla extract, and a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or any other sweetener!

The recipe I used makes two servings.

  1. 6 tablespoons of chia seeds
  2. 2 cups of milk
  3. 1/2 tsp of Vanilla
  4. 1 tablespoon of sweetener
  5. Fruit, nutella, peanut butter, and/or shredded coconut for toppings

Add the chia seeds and milk to a jar and stir. Add vanilla and sweetener to taste. Stir again. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir or shake to make sure the chia seeds are not clumping together. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight!

When ready to serve, scoop into a bowl. Add fresh fruit, protein, and/or any other toppings you want. Serve cold and enjoy!

Here is how mine turned out!

This recipe is gluten-free and vegan depending on the types of toppings you add! I am so excited how this came out, and that I can now make my favorite chia pudding bowls at home, at a much more economical cost! ❤ Feel free to adjust the chia seed to milk ratio depending on how thick or liquidy you want your mix to be!

I hope you enjoyed this quick recipe, and let me know below if you’ve ever had chia pudding and whether or not you like it! Some people don’t care for the consistency, and usually I am weird with textures, but I really enjoy this for some reason! I’ve always struggled with stomach sensitivity issues, so it is exciting for me to find recipes that work with my body and that don’t bother my stomach!

xoxo until next time, enjoy your chia!

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Cranberry Orange Scones

Hi everyone!

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of accompanying my mom to go see my grandma at her house. We wanted to have dinner with her, and my mom and I wanted to make her scones from the CookiesandCups cookbook!

My fiancé’s stepmom is the owner/founder of CookiesandCups, and if you don’t know Shelly or her recipes, definitely check them out because they are delicious! I found the recipe in her cookbook, and wanted to show you how delicious they turned out!

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The finished product with the glaze!

Now there is a story behind these scones so bare with me! For those of you who don’t know, I recently lost my grandpa. Before my he passed away, my mom and I promised him we would make him scones from Shelly’s cookbook. He loved scones and I knew Shelly’s recipe was amazing. Unfortunately, a day or two after we promised my grandpa we would make him scones he was put on a strict diet because of the cancer.

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The pretty dough!

We never had the opportunity to make them for him, but on Sunday my mom and I finally were able to make them for my grandma. When they were done, we toasted scones to my grandpa because we knew he would have loved them (they came out great). It meant so much to me to finally bake them for my grandma. 🍊💛 I know my grandpa was there with us, and it was just a great day all around!

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The recipe from the cookbook

I love spending time with my family, and I really do enjoy baking something new every now and then! I hope to try more recipes from her cookbook, and I hope to make these scones again sometime soon!

How was your weekend? Do you like baking with your family?

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