So Guys…I Turned 25! Birthday Shenanigans and Exploring Key West!

Hey guys! I’m back, do you notice something different about me…oh you do? Well, that’s because I am %100, bonafide, grown ass WOMAN! Lol…no really I turned 25 on April 20th. In the small scope of my world this year has been tough, which made it all the more beautiful and immensely important I made it to this milestone in life. I know some people believe age is just a number, and to some degree that is true. But, for many, it signifies the growth, fight and hardship we endured to reach that next age. I find that I become so aware of how my spirit, body and heart perseveres, through all of my changes. This year I got another medical diagnosis (that would bring about an additional layer of medical issues, endless doctor visits, treatment therapy that feels like it will go on forever and BIG surgery coming up), I lost my dear friend Devin Cook and I had to take time away from my bakery. Those things alone were enough to bruise my spirit, but I refuse to let things steal the threads of beauty, immense gratitude and inherent optimism that are so deeply ingrained within my soul and weaves throughout every aspect of my life.

Since I turned the big 25, I was lucky enough to take a little trip with the madré! We headed to florida, it was amazing, as florida always is. But, this time we went somewhere different, and different was…KEY WEST! I could have been more surprised, excited and complete thrilled! After a couple of days hoping around florida, I anxiously awaited “the day”. The following morning, we took a small charter plane and landed on the island for 2 days and 1 night of shear awesomeness! Once, I found out, I became strategic, I looked up what to-do, talked to locals and just walked around and explored with my mama! We found a local stop called El Siboney, a favorite cuban restaurant of visitors and locals. And as you know “we” LOVE CUBAN FOOD! We walked along Duvall St., we bought gifts for the fam and found lovely little shops, that shape the beautiful and unique culture, community and way of life that you experience down in the “keys”! So, here is our trip at a glance…
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We had lunch at The Bohemian Hotel, in Celebration, FL. It sits on the edge of the town, with a lovely view of the town lake.
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For lunch I had a delish Pan Seared Salmon over a Tossed Green Salad, with Sparkling water (I kept the bottle and I plan to turn it into a candle holder)
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The decor of the hotel is that of its namesake, bohemian! It’s beautiful, with warm tones that are quite inviting, the staff exhibit wonerdful hospitality and the space also is home to a eclectic art gallery.
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After one of the best lunches of my life. The madre and I walked around town, got coffee, bought some gifts and headed back to the hotel for one last night before we flew to Key West in the morning.
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The view from our balcony, our last night there. Now, off to KEY WEST!
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We have arrived…
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Some of the sights, but firt thing first…FOOD! We walked from our hotel to the glorious, acclaimed and completely authentic Cuban restaurant El Siboney!
DSC_0196DSC_0197DSC_0202IMG_2082 Just us girls!
IMG_2088 We got arroz y frijoles, yuca fritas, mojo, tostones, platanos maduros, and pargo rojo pescado con arroz…and it was AMAZING!!! Do yourself a favor and if you are ever in Key West, stop by El Siboney! After lunch we headed into town and saw alot of the natural beauty that makes up Key West.
DSC_0205DSC_0211DSC_0214DSC_0215DSC_0216 Oh, and of course we hit the beach!
IMG_2092IMG_2091DSC_0219DSC_0226IMG_2095 Once the time in the water came to and end, we headed back to the room the shower and change for dinner! We ate at A&B Lobster House, which sits looking out at the gorgeous harbor. And as you will see below, I still get carded at 25.
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And our wonderful waiter surprised me with this…
IMG_2121 It was be far the best key lime pie I had ever had! It is entirely unique and no one can do it like Key West can! After a lovely and memorable dinner, we went back to the hotel to pack, relax and enjoy the view of Key West at night. But before I go…
DSC_0244DSC_0245 The Ernest Hemingway Museum was so interesting, I think I need to see it again, but next time I won’t be runnign around like a mad woman, trying to see it all before we head to the airport.
IMG_2148 Bye, bye, Key West…until next time!
Thank you to all who wished me a happy birthday, I look forward to many, many, many more! I will se you guys tomorrow for “Wednesday’s with WinniE’s”! So be well and thanks for allowing me to share my experiences with you all!
An info list of local shops and restuarants:
1. The Bohemian Hotel: http://www.celebrationhotel.com/
2.El Siboney: http://www.elsiboneyrestaurant.com/
3. A&B Lobster House: http://aandblobsterhouse.com/
4. The Green Pineapple: http://www.greenpineapplekw.com/ This place was amazing! It’s a yoga studio, cafe/bakery and boutique. They have delicious gluten-free baked goods and the vibe is great! I had a wonderful talk with the manager Karen!
5. The Ernest Hemingway Museum: http://www.hemingwayhome.com/
P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G !
P.S.: Peak in on Saturday, I have a special post for you guys!

Mother’s Day: A Dinner, Some Cake & Other Lovely Happenings!

Hey guys, happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, I know I did! I feel unfathomably and unimaginably grateful for the blessing that is my MOMMY!! She is my bestfriend and she never ceases to amaze me. She is undoubtably the strongest woman I know. My mom is loving, a fighter, a smart-ass, a medical encyclopedia and the best go-getter around. Now look, I adore Oprah as much as the next (let’s be honest…probably more than most), but my mom rivals her on a daily basis (and my mom doesn’t have multiple teams of people to help, assist or orchestrate her life and career!) She envisions, plans, works her ASS OFF, then makes her own damn dreams come true! I CAN’T hold back my tears as I write this post. She was nearly taken from my family and I, just 6 days before my 21st birthday. She had sustained fatal medical trauma, but by the grace of God, she is still here with us, being a blessing in our lives, day-in and day-out! Just months after leaving the hospital she completed her PhD and is now 1 semester away from finishing her 2nd. Master’s degree. She is a phenomenal WOMAN, mother, wife, daughter, friend, human and all the rest of the minutely significant attributes that amalgamate the person that I call Mommy! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! 
Here is a look at the day…
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My SPECIAL little helper!
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 This is one of the lovely Gluten-free flours WinniE’s Bakery uses!

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Round one done! Now on to round 2!

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So this is the unfinished result. I made my mother a Gluten-free “‘David’s’ Strawberry Delight cake w/ Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream”. I had planned on decorating it with floral accents and lettering saying, “You’re the best, Happy Mother’s Day”, but she couldn’t wait. So, unfortunately we ate the cake in it’s more rustic form…lol!

Dinner:

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Tonight’s players: a little garlic, thyme, wild spring mushroom, organic locally grown asparagus, locally sorced leeks and arborio rice. I decided to make Wild Spring Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto topped w/ Pan Seared Shrimp. Growing up my dad always cooked, especially for holiday’s, but as life got busier and I got older I started following in his footsteps. So now, I often cook the meals for special occasions or my dad and myself tag team the effort!

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Almost done.

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Dad working his culinary magic! He is making his famous “Bruschetta Tomatoes”, a lovely accompaniment to the risotto.

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Unfortunately, my brothers couldn’t make dinner because they have families of their own now, but that’s ok…since I am the ‘baby’ every now and again I like having my parents all to myself!

After dinner we went to visit my dad’s mom. Visiting her is always a blessing and a riot, being she is 90 years old and a firecracker, to boot! 

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My mom’s mother passed when I was 14. Even though it is rounding 10 years since her passing, times like this are really hard for my mom. She was as close to my Nana, as I am to her. I named my bakery after her. WinniE’s Bakery is done with love and completely in honor of her spirit and the passions she pursued during her time here on earth.

We ended the night with PRESENTS! We got her these new mosaic/art deco plates from Williams-Sonoma. And I think it’s safe to say she LOVED them. She was surprised too…which is amazing becuase she is really hard to buy for, which is why I tend to make things for her.

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Lol…I made her close her eyes!

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Make sure you guys celebrate the deserving mother’s, women or parents in your life! I hope you guys liked it, see you tomorrow for “Wednesday’s with WinniE’s”!

P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G

 

E

Weekend Adventures: Out and About in Georgetown + Sunday Errands for WinniE’s Bakery

 

Hey guys, happy Wednesday!

This weekend I wanted to keep things simple, but always looking for a little fun. I’m 24 years old, which means no matter how fortunate may or may not be, money is always something I am conscience of. I’ve always been told I was 3 going on 30, an old soul, wise before my time, etc. I have a deeply nostalgic spirit, as grateful as I am for the modern conveniences of today (hint…the iPhone I am using to write this post) I love learning and seeing how things were before, getting a sense of where it all comes from. Now, to tell you about my weekend without getting too sidetracked…I do that sometimes, get lost in my head, take a walkabout in my thoughts. Anyway, this weekend I decided to take a trip to Georgetown, and the result was utterly lovely.

On Saturday: The first stop was the Washington National Cathedral’s 75th “Flower Mart” celebration, which hosted all kinds of wonderful vendors! Then off to walk around Historic Georgetown. We saw the canals, great boutiques, good coffee…very important, visited 2 famous cupcake bakeries or cupcakeries…whatever you want to call them. The last stop was SWEETGREEN! Ohh, how I love SweetGreen!

On Sunday: I started my morning with a little reading, then it was off to my standing morning coffee date with the old “Padre”. Then, I reviewed inventory and discovered I was short some basics. Although, I usually receive my boxes and such via an online company, this weekend my shipment wouldn’t be here for a large order I have, for “Nurse’s Week”!

Here’s a look…

Saturday:

 

Flower Mart:

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That clothing was made of 100% Alpaca

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This is Alex and he worked the “Dress It Up Dressing” booth. He was a charismatic and pleasant individual. I had a chance to sample the product and it was delightful and unique. You can find Dress It Up Dressing at MOM (My Organic Food Market) or www.dressitupdressing.com

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This is Maria and her mother Andrea. Andrea is the owner and designer of Andrea’s Beau and Maria is her inspiration. They sell handcrafted, beautifully designed and original head ornaments. My dad bought my niece a head band, which was decorated with crocheted floral accents and delicate little butterflies. It was the perfect choice for her and she LOVED IT! Check out, http://www.andreasbeau.com!

 

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 Lastly, this is Michael. He owns Booda Boutique and they make handmade soaps, which smell EVEN better than Lush! He was so nice and told us all about the Eastern Market, where they also have a booth. You can find out more at their website www.boodasoapbox.com.

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Historic Georgetown:

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This duck was something else, it was ducking (LOL), shimmying and full on twirling.

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A cute pathway of steps…it’s the little things!

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I thought this restuarant what too adorable, quaint and really well decorated!

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Who doesn’t like a reminder of a some-what contrived, yet lovey “Romantic Comedy”. I mean, honestly who cares…it’s Kate Beckinasle!!!

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We stopped by Sprinkles..didn’t get anything, but it looked nice. Do you see what I see…?

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More canal…

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KITCHEN STUFF!!!

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Dean + Deluca, I bid you farewell. You were fabulous and I shall see you soon!

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And then there was Georgetown Cupcakes, aka…DC Cupcakes. Also, take a look at that line.

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As the sun went down we headed over to Labyrith Park.

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Cady’s Alley: This little gem was hidden away.

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The most delightful little SweetGreen you will ever come across. It was a certified “green restaurant”! There is Padre…again (LOL)

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Goodnight and goodbye, Georgetown! Let’s do this again soon and next time, maybe a drink at one of your several pubs!

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And this is Jermaine. He was honestly one of the coolest people I have ever encountered, so laid-back, so chill!

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I got the “Spicy Sabzi” salad…DELISH! I substituted garbanzo beans for the Tofu.

Sunday:

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The essentials!

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Stocking up!

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Michael’s always brings back memories of my nana, Winnie, clear as day. Now off to JoAnn’s!

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One of my many “happy places”!

I hope you guys like the post, I know I like sharing things with you!

P.S.: So sorry this took so long to post, it was meant for Monday. You would not believe the technical difficulties I dealt with. Anyway, see you tomorrow for a look at how things were today here at WinniE’s Bakery.

P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G

E

My Day About Town: The “Spring Festival” with my friend Taylor

Hey guys, happy Friday!

I have been blessed, fortunate, lucky…whatever you want to call it. All I know is I am BEYOND grateful, for the many lovely and exceptionally ordinary things that create this beautiful thing I call my life. I wanted to take this time to share with you what I did this last weekend. For those of you who don’t know, my birthday was this past Sunday, April 20th. Now normally my birthday doesn’t fall on Easter, which caused a small hiccup in my original plans. My family does celebrates Easter, but normally we are able to celebrate my birthday on what ever day it falls on or the closest weekend. But, as I get older I find that my family and I live such independent lives. This year I really did strive to have us all together, for a celebration sepreate of Easter. But I found that we were all on different wavelengths, with different obligations. Although, it bummed me out we couldn’t all come together as I planned, I knew and felt their love! My immediate family consist of my Mom, Dad, my 2 brothers David (his + 2 | Heidi-my sister-in-law ‘snl’ and Mia their daughter and Corey and his + 1 | Juel his son) Since my brother David’s birthday is on the 30th of April, we have decided since there is so many of us and it’s a serious task to get us all in one place, we will all get together for dinner in-between our birthdays! I love them all, so much it overwhelms my mind!
Now refocusing and to lighten the mood. I decided to celebrate my birthday, in whatever capacity that occurred…GO WITH THE FLOW. Originally, planned to have a “Fairy Feast” (as I like to call it) with my close friends. A “Fairy Feast” consist of wearing a flower crown, lace or eyelet clothing, eating fresh, organic, farm-to-table food, good vibe music, a nature surrounding, a little alcohol and great company! Did I ever tell you guys I am a bit of a bohemian…? Alas, it was kind of last-minute when I decided on this as normally I’m not big on celebrations of my birthday, although I do LOVE a good dinner party for any occasion! Sadly, the majority of my friends were unable to take off of work during the day on Saturday. But, I was lucky enough to still be able to hangout with my friend TAYLOR! Taylor and I decided to attend a local “Spring Festival”. It was laid-back, eclectic, but most importantly it was a lot of fun! We walked around, shopped and tried on clothes in boutiques, had some good food and of course…COFFEE!
Here is a look at our day…
Old Mill Bakery Cafe:
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That’s Liz-Ann, she was so friendly and seemed very kind. She made our coffee!
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And this Taylor, she is loading her Pentax ‘vintage’ camera with FILM…film people (complements of her bf)
Boutiques: Zebop & Sweet Elizabeth Jane
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I thought this little floral sun dress was cute.
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Now onto Sweet Elizabeth Jane…it’s safe to say I just about lost my mind inside of the boutique!
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There was so much home decor stuff, that I was mentally decorating my future home!
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I bought those, as a birthday gift to myself!
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Taylor taking a photo of me, taking a photo of her.
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I fell in LOVE with both of these dress, but alas, I did not buy them.
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Taylor fell in love too.
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Thses are two of the lovely employees who helped myself and Taylor. Their names were Rachel and Fiona.
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Town:
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Some local sound.
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And this gentleman was quite the character, he kept giving me the “peace” sign from across the courtyard.
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Hidden Party:
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We went in through this “hidden” alley way.
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It was an interesting crowd…it was kinda cool.
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That is the band, “Goblinbold”
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That’s Nick, he worked the soundboard.
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Off to one of our last stops…
Bean Hollow Roastery + Espresso:
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Customer art and other artistic expressions.
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That’s Sean…who I found very familiar, but I couldn’t place him and didn’t think to ask if we might have known one another.
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yes…more COFFEE…I know, I have a problem!
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Going Home:

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I made it HOME! And the sunset is gorgeous and welcome!

Dinner:

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For dinner, I took a little trip to College Park. I have a passion for the food of SweetGreen! This is Gloria, she was nervous for me to take her picture, but it turned out great…don’t you think?!

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I got a “Spict Sabzi” with chickpeas instead of tofu and a “Misoba” with chicken (for Easter dinner). They were both DELICIOUS!!! I continued my night, after much convincing and went to the ‘club’ with my friends. But, most importantly I went with 4/20 twin, one of my oldest friends Shanay.

I really hope you guys enjoyed taking a look at how I spent my birthday! See you tomorrow!

My Blueberry Almond Coconut Quinoa-Meal Drizzled w/ Honey

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

I wanted to start my week off right, with me that means nutritiousing my body with healthy and delicious food!

So, today I woke up and it was a rainy. I didn’t have classes so of course what I do with some free time…cook. I thoroughly enjoyed recipe writing. I had recently been inspired by recipes for oatmeal, but I eat a predominately gluten-free diet. My mother has Celiacs and I have gluten-intolerence. I decided, although oatmeal is a great breakfast, I’ll substitute quinoa. Quinoa is “the” power food, it’s high in protein, takes on whatever flavor you choose and a complete ‘plant’ protein (making it Vegetarian + Vegan friendly) So, I did what I so often do, cook first, recipe write later! 

Here’s how it turned out…
Blueberry Almond Coconut Quinoa-Meal w/ Honey Drizzle

Ingredients: serves 2-3 
1 c. Yellow or Red Quinoa
2 c. Pure Silk “Original” Coconut milk
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1-2 tbsp. Clover Honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
1/2 c. Fresh Blueberries
1/4 c. Flaked Coconut
1 tbsp. Sliced Almonds
(+) 1 tsp. additional Clover Honey to drizzle atop.
Instructions:
Thoroughly, rinse the quinoa. Place the coconut milk in a small sauce pan, then bring to a soft boil, over med. high heat. Once the edges of the pot have small bubbles, pour in the quinoa. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to LOW, at a simmer and cover and cook for 15-18mins. Look for a smooth and creamy consistancy. Once completed, remove from heat, allow to stand for 5mins. Drop in tablespoon honey, stir in well.
Place in a bowl, top with coconuts flakes, blueberries and sliced almonds. Finally, lightly drizzle atop with 1 tsp. honey. Serve and enjoy!
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A little spice.
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All done. Now just stir in some…oh, so sweet honey!
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Drizzled goodness!
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And of course, I needed my favorite coffee. I like dark roast coffee w/ Non-fat milk…that is all.
Please let me know what you guys think and share with your friends and family!
P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G

 

My Roasted Vegetable & Shredded Kale Salad

Hello everyone, happy Monday!

One of the things that brings me the most joy, is writing recipes. I love to do really healthy, flavorful + delicious recipes all the time. I like knowing I have recipes (like this one) that fuels my body and eases that internal voice saying, “girl watch what you stuff your faces with!” I love feeding my family + sharing how wonderful and simplistic healthy eating can be…like with you all!

The following recipe was inspired by my new found love, of all things kale! I love kale in smoothies,  I love it in salads and I love to juice with it! It does not matter…I am a believer, lover and pusher of KALE!
But first, a little music. It is FACT in our home that food always taste better if you play music while you cook! My music of choice…Hans Zimmer’s “The Holiday” soundtrack!
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I hope you guys like it!
Roasted Vegetables + Kale Salad
Ingredients:
(1 bag or 12 oz.) Brussels Sprouts
(1) 2-3lb. Butternut Squash
1/4-1/2 c. Feta cheese (crumbled)
1/4 c. Pepitas or pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp. Evoo (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2tbsp + 2 tsp. Sea Salt
2 tsp. Ground Pepper
4 c. Kale (shredded)
Instructions:
On a cutting board, using a sharp knife shred the kale. Place the shredded kale in a colander, rinse thoroughly under water. After cleaning, set aside to dry. Once finished drying pour greens into a large bowl.
Set the oven to 400 degrees.
In a microwave, place the butternut squash inside to cook for 3mins. After, bring the squash to a cutting board. If you have them available to you, place on a pair of disposable gloves. Take the squash, lay it horizontally, placing a firm grip on the squash, use a sharp knife to cut off each end, then the squash in half. Then, using the knife (or peeler) remove the skin. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, then into 4-5 sections lengthwise, then cut into cubed pieces. Once, chopping is completed, place the squash into a large bowl, coating well with 2 tbsp. evoo, 1 tbsp. salt + 1 tsp. pepper. Lay the prepared squash evenly on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Place the brussels sprouts in a colander and rinse clean. Pat dry with a paper or kitchen towel. On another cutting board, take a brussels sprout and quarter, then place into a bowl. Generously coat the brussels sprouts with 1 tbsp. evoo, salt + pepper.
Place both the brussels sprouts + butternut squash in the oven for 20-25mins.
In a sauté pan, over med. heat, take the pumpkin seeds and spread the evenly, cooking until a golden-brown coloring appears, about 5-8mins. Set aside to cool.
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The liquid a butternut squash secretes leaves a film that is hard to be washed off. So, I use disposable gloves.
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Drizzle.
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And now, it’s the brussels sprouts turn!
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Now a little salt…
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And pepper
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Mix it up!
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BRUSSELS!!!
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Set to roast at 400 degrees
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Pop them in…for 25mins.
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Toast up those Pepitas!!!
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Watch them…cook on med. heat.
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Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
1 Lemon
1 Garlic clove
1 tsp. Honey
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground Pepper
1/3 c. Evoo
Instructions:
On a cutting board, use a knife (BLADE POINTED AWAY FROM YOUR BODY) a and flat palm to smash the garlic. Place the garlic, lemon juice, honey, salt + pepper into a food processor or blender and pulse. Through the pour top drizzle in the evoo, until emulsified.
In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients, kale, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, pumpkin seed + feta cheese. Pour the vinaigrette atop the salad and incorporate. Place into a serving platter, top with more salt, pepper + feta as desired. Enjoy!
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Everything in!
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Drizzle on a little dressing…
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And toss it all about!
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Finally!
P.S.: It taste amazing the next day!
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P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G

Sunday Morning Ritual

Hey guys, happy Sunday!

 
If you all haven’t guessed all ready, I am very close with my family! But, today I wanted to share with you all a tradition that I’ve done every Sunday, for about the last three years. My dad and I wake up early, I sit and read while the sun comes into my window (or, i often write poetry or reflect on my feelings and “gage myself”) and he watches his morning news shows, if he doesn’t attend church. After my chapters are read and his new shows are complete, we headed off for coffee! Coffee is kinda like a really big deal to me, it’s a big deal to my dad and I. As I grew older and my relationship with my parents changed from parent to child, to parent and adult “child”.  I began to have these lovely relationships, with a great depth and  mature point of view. I developed a respect for the people they are, outside of being my parents. As for coffee, it  was the first thing we started truly bonding over, as the shift of becoming two adult friends, while being father + daughter. 
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I started my morning with Sarah Addision Allen’s lovely literary tale!
 
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That particular Sunday we were accompanied with our family friend, Steven. He is a Maryland transplant by way of Florida, he his an intelligent and kind guy, who loves creating + experiencing artistic self expression. 
 
My dad and I, discuss everything from our dreams + aspirations, to future plans, to forms of artistic expression, education, relationships (more rather me talking his ears off about my situations) and of course FOOD! So to my Dad’s supportive reluctance I brought along my camera (really my lovely sister-in-laws who is nice enough to let me use it…lol)
 
Here’s a look at our morning:
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Our community + charity board
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Being a proud grand-dad and showing off the “princess”!
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“The Boys”
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We were even joined by our county’s finest…we all know they need their coffee, too! I asked to take his photo and he obligaged, his name was Christian. He was nice, so thank you. 
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Now, home to plan for the week and work on the old blog!
 
 
P.S.: My go-to drink is a (hot) Grande Non-fat Cafe Misto. What’s yours?

P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G