I can’t even tell you the last time I baked something (hurts my soul to say that) but I finally found a recipe that I could not ignore. In honor of it being my favorite season, I’m ready to fully embrace it by adding pumpkin to everything. Literally, everything. Banana bread has been a long time favorite of mine, so finding a version fitting for fall had me running to the grocery store. I based my recipe off a version from the confessions of a fit foodie blog (can find under my “fall food” Pinterest board) and while her version is a bit healthier than mine, they’re both the perfect way to indulge this fall. Anyways, let’s cut to the good stuff…
2 ripened bananas (mashed)
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325. Use parchment to cover or grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Use a food processor (or blender) and pulse oats until they made a fine flour. It should measure out to be two cups of flour.
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, honey and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and beat well. Whisk in the mashed bananas and almond milk.
Use a smaller bowl to mix dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice, cinnamon) and whisk with flour till combined. Fold in flour mixture with pumpkin puree combination until mixed. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes (I went with 45). Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf. Let it cool for 25 minutes & then go ahead and devour it!
Thank you guys for trying this recipe out! Let me know if you have any suggestions/improvements in the comments!
As I’ve recently discovered my incredible ability to spend an entire paycheck on breakfast & brunch in just one weekend, I figured I should put my taste testing to good use and share some of my favorite spots with everyone. As graduation is right around the corner, as well as nice weather and entertainment season in general, I wanted to give a few recommendations and (hopefully) relieve some of the event planning stress! If you have any breakfast or brunch places you absolutely love, please tell me!! As mentioned before, I have no qualms when it comes to spending money on food… I also attached the link to the menu for each restaurant, just click on the photo caption! One last thing, added a couple suggestions at the end if you have a larger party and might need a reservation. OKAY, I’m done, let’s talk food!
First up on the list is Brekkie Shack! Since it’s located in Grandview, it avoids the busy traffic of the short north/downtown area which is always a plus. I’m going to tell you right now that you will order more than you are physically able to consume because literally every single thing on the menu makes your mouth water. Bonus: they have a super cute neon sign that says “pancakes & dreams” that is definitely Instagram worthy if you can snag the spot!
I had to include one of my all time favorites, Flowers & Bread. Not only can you order a whole loaf of fresh made bread (if you aren’t sold already I don’t think we can be friends…) but both the interior and exterior of the building is so aesthetically pleasing it brings a little tear to my eye. The menu is amazing and they offer both breakfast and lunch options!
Allow me to introduce you to my newest love, Dough Mama. Y’all they have fresh made pies, need I say more?? The maple iced latte is a must, along with anything involving their cheddar biscuits. However, would not recommend for a super large group! Seating is very limited. Like one of those spots where it feels like you’re playing musical chairs, eyeballing everyones seat to see who will finish next and analyzing how fast you can move to beat out the other three people waiting for the same seat. But, fresh made pie….
Kittie’s Cakes is my all time favorite spot. Things you must order include a freshly made cinnamon roll, paired with the nashville hoodie to drink! It’s about a ten minute drive from the campus area but so worth it. The area itself is very old fashioned, slow paced and beautiful. Not only do they have a full breakfast menu, but also lunch and cocktails to accompany it!
Mint. Iced. Coffee. I don’t even like mint and I can’t make it out of Northstar without ordering one of these bad boys. This is right in the middle of all the action of the short north district, with the option to sit and eat there or just as easily grab it to go. My favorite thing about Northstar (besides the mint iced coffee) is the fact that you walk away feeling good about what you just ate. Their options are rather healthy and fully satisfying!
I have so many more places I could add to this list but I’m going to wrap it up with these last two recommendations. If you have a larger party and think you’d need to make a reservation, I would suggest either Forno or The Goat (located in the short north & downtown area). They both have plenty of seating, give the option to make reservations, and (most importantly) have outstanding menus.
Thank you guys for reading my suggestions! Again, please let me know any recommendations you might have as well! Always looking for new places to explore.
I recently came across Abbey Sharpe’s cookbook, The Mindful Glow Cookbook, and immediately fell in love with the recipes. My first attempt was on her recipe for Peach Melba Sweet Potato Toast with Whipped Cottage Cheese. I won’t lie, the name sounded extremely intimidating (I really only understood the “toast” part) but the recipe ended up being extremely easy and so satisfying! If you don’t like sweet potatoes, stop after the broiled peaches. I honestly could eat these peaches drizzled in honey every day for the rest of my life.
1 peach, sliced into 14-16 thin wedges
1 tsp pure liquid honey (I used a lavender honey, highly recommend)
3/4 cup 2% or 4% cottage cheese (I used 1% and everything was fine!!)
1 sweet potato, cut into 4 slices lengthwise about 1/4 inch each (make sure to scrub clean first)
Preheat broiler too high. Lay the peach slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of honey. Broil just until caramelized (about 5 minutes).
In a small food processor or blender, puree the cottage cheese. Coarsely chop four of the now caramelized peach slices and add them to the pureed cottage cheese. Blend until smooth. Add honey to your liking!
Place the sweet potato slices in the toaster and toast until tender and golden, about 3 to 4 rounds each, depending on toaster settings.
Place a generous amount of the cottage cheese mixture onto the toasted sweet potato. Top with slices of broiled peach, fresh raspberries and sliced almonds.
I couldn’t wait for peaches to be in season to make this recipe (I was too excited), but it’s very easy to overcook the peaches!! Keep an eye on them and take them out before or at the five minute mark, no later!
Our toaster is about five years old and was twenty dollars from Target.. if your circumstances are similar, it will definitely take more than 4 toaster rounds! This is totally fine, just be sure to check the texture after each round.
I am not a fan of cottage cheese in general, but this combination makes it heavenly.
I can only think of one word to describe this bakery & cafe: lovely. You can catch me taking pictures of every square inch of this building (inside & out) because the style of it is everything I’ve ever dreamed of in my future home. Everyone working there was just as lovely as the location itself, making it an all around fantastic experience. They even invited us to check out their upstairs event space, which I immediately wanted to book for all upcoming events in my life. Ever. However, the absolute best part of the experience came as I was waiting in line, which doesn’t happen very often. For every customer in front of me who ordered a fresh loaf of bread, the employees would ask “how are you planning on using it?”. It caught some customers off guard, giving back timid answers, thinking if they answered wrong that they wouldn’t be allowed the bread. Others answered back boldly, their plans involving words far beyond my kitchen vocabulary. No matter how the customer responded, the employee enthusiastically handed them the bread with an emphatic “ooh” about their plans, reassuring them that it was bound to be amazing. Every recipe I heard made my mouth water and it was so enlightening to see how many different ways just one, single type of bread could be used. To wrap this up, A++++++ all around rating!!
I don’t even know how to describe the perfection of this experience, so I’m just going to run you through the whole scenario. We pulled into Bexley, the historic part where buildings are brick, the little strip looking weathered and quaint. We spot the café, located on the corner. Street parking is free… that’s right, free. We park by one of those buildings you look at and wonder how many people were turned down for loans inside before it was turned into the fancy af Starbucks that is now. When we enter Kittie’s, we realize there’s the option to walk into a local bookstore. I actually felt like a kid in a candy shop because this was like my favorite spot of Barnes & Noble but on a whole new level. This was authentic, with books you couldn’t find in chain stores, bakery items made fresh each morning, and coffee that could please just about anyone. Needless to say, this is hands down my new favorite place in Ohio (maybe even on this planet) and yes, I did purchase at least two books and yes, I am now part of the bookstore rewards program. Please, for the love of all that is holy, make a stop here. Now I’m going to bombard you with the million and one pictures I took while in my state of pure bliss. Pretty sure I blacked out, not kidding guys, you should see my camera roll…
coffee: A+ . The flavor of the nashville hoodie perfectly mimicked the flavor of the cinnamon roll. Could you ask for anything more???
food: A++ . I know, I’m breaking the rules right now, but they are 100% not kidding about this being the best cinnamon roll around. It was the definition of perfect, more firm on the outside, warm & gooey in the center. I can’t talk about it anymore, I already want ten more.
aesthetic (coffee): A+ . I loved the blue accent color they used throughout the cafe, even incorporating it into their cup color! Also, thought all foam art was the same until I saw this foam art…
aesthetic (interior): A +. I know I sound dramatic but a one of a kind bakery attached to a one of a kind book store!!!! The interior of both made me smile every time I took a minute to look around. Never wanted to leave.
Lucia’s Order: Salted Maple Latte & Cinnamon Roll.
coffee: B+ . The salted maple was impressive but making a mental note that I would like it a bit sweeter in the future!
food: A+ . Best cinnamon roll I’ve ever tasted, 12/10, would work there just to have access to them on the daily.
aesthetic (coffee): A . I was ready to steal my tiny blue mug and the foam art was so pretty!
aesthetic (interior): A . Very cute with the bookstore but it’s a bit small in and of itself. However, the outdoor seating definitely redeemed the smaller indoor seating! They even had little heat lamps and the blue stools made the area bright and comfortable.
These are the EASIEST and best tasting pancakes !! You literally throw everything into a blender and then cook it on the stove. That’s it. Done. How impressive is that?! Along with the chocolate chips that are recommended, I would also consider adding fresh raspberries, almond butter, or any flavored syrups you have! The dark chocolate chips taste amazing with any fruit flavors mixed in.
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 unsweetened almond milk
1 ripe banana
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 dates, pitted
3 tbsp dark chocolate chips (enjoy life brand are highly recommended!)
olive oil (or any type of cooking oil for pan)
Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor, except chocolate chips. Mix well.
Fold in chocolate chips to mixture.
Scoop out heaping tablespoons and cook.
Finally, eat all of them in one sitting.
I know this seems way too easy to result in anything fantastic but just trust me. Let me know how yours turn out or if you have any suggestions to mix up the recipe at all!!
Of course on the day we decided to go on another coffee run, the universe decided it was the perfect time to drop the temperature from 60 degrees to 20 degrees. Thanks, Ohio, love ya! Although this cafe was a pleasant escape from the tundra we were in outside, it would be absolutely perfect in the summer. It sits inside an office building that opens up directly onto the Columbus Commons (a little park featuring a Jeni’s Ice Cream stand, the cutest little carousel and a stage for various performances!). The interior is a bit on the smaller side, but is the perfect space to go solo with a good book in hand!
Courtney’s Order: Ode to Paris & Cherry Danish.
coffee: A- . The Ode to Paris was very tasty!! Would definitely recommend. Was a classic style drink, so if you don’t like to stray from the basics, this will be the drink for you.
food: B . The cherry danish was good but they don’t have enough space to bake in house. Would definitely still order a bakery item though! Can never go wrong with a pastry & coffee match up.
aesthetic (coffee): A- . I l o v e d the fact that they had an array of coffee mugs they used if the coffee order wasn’t to-go! Reminiscent of Friends and the Central Perk experience, so of course I adored it.
aesthetic (interior): B+ . You are literally submerged in everything and anything related to Hemingway. Very unique atmosphere, no where else like it in Columbus!
Lucia’s Order: The Jack Frost & Double Chocolate Chip Muffin
coffee: A . The Jack Frost was peppermint flavor-based and they mastered the flavor perfectly! It was also topped with a frost blue peppermint whipped cream, which was the perfect addition.
food: B . The muffin was good and definitely went well with the drink. The main focus for them was definitely their coffee rather than food!
aesthetic (coffee): B+ . The blue whipped cream on top of the drink was so cute and unique. I’ve never seen that before! Can also tell they took a lot of time in thinking of the names of the drinks which I really appreciated.
aesthetic (interior): B+ . If you’re going to do a Paris theme, I say go all in with it. That’s exactly what they did!
Special Guest Jake’s Order (aka Lucia’s boyfriend): Gingersnap Latte & Lemon Donut.
coffee: B+ . The flavor was great! Cooled off pretty fast but probably just because of the size of the mug and the large amount of coffee ordered.
food: B+ . They did nail the lemon flavor, wasn’t too sweet and wasn’t too tart. Again, not their main focus though!
aesthetic (coffee): A . Really enjoyed the different mugs and how they used a specific mug for certain orders.
aesthetic (interior): B . A little cramped! Overall, really enjoyed the atmosphere though.
If you’re like me, you’re in a constant state of thinking about baked goods. Muffins, cakes, cookies… I love them all. My biggest dilemma comes after I’ve already inhaled whatever baked good is in front of me and I then realized I’ve most likely just consumed my entire days worth of calories in one sitting. Also, it’s only nine in the morning. I scoured Pinterest in hopes of a recipe that was both satisfying and healthy-ish (I know, asking a lot) but I didn’t find anything to check off both boxes until I came across this recipe! Which leads me to sharing it with you. So, if you enjoy baked goods and enjoy not feeling icky the rest of the day, I gotchya covered!
Side Note: These are honestly so easy to make and all the ingredients can be substituted to fit whatever you have in your kitchen. They’re perfect for those of us who may not have the time (or the energy) to whip up a full breakfast every morning. Also, when you need that afternoon snack to hold you over, these are the perfect solution. Hope everyone enjoys as much as I do!! I found this recipe for blueberry oat muffins on Pinterest, also available at https://www.melskitchencafe.com/greek-yogurt-oat-blueberry-muffins/.
Ingredients (my version)
1 cup (8 oz) Greek yogurt (I used a combo of vanilla & plain, nonfat)
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries
4 tbsp butter (or coconut oil), melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a 12 count muffin tin, line or grease with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, egg, vanilla & honey.
In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon & salt. Gently fold in blueberries.
Add the yogurt mixture & melted butter (or coconut oil) to the oat mixture. Stir until just combined, try not to over-mix!
Equally separate mixture into muffin tins. You can add a few left over blueberries to the top if you’d like!
Bake 14-17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and they are a nice golden brown.
Let cool & then dig in!! I kept mine stored in an air tight bag for a week and they were still good.
By recommendation from a friend at work, Lucia and I decided to make Winans our next stop in downtown Columbus. Can we take just one second to appreciate the name of this place… it literally has everything you could ever need in life. Pure marketing genius. Let me tell you, the spot itself exceeded the expectations the name plants in your head.
coffee: A+ . I was really afraid that this would be too sweet or syrupy but it was done perfectly. It had a smoked flavor to it with a light aftertaste of raspberry. Ugh, I want another one now.
food: A+ . The chocolates are out of this world.
aesthetic (coffee): B . They are all made in to go cups, but they are still cute!
aesthetic (interior): A+ . They did such an incredible job of combining the two atmospheres surrounding both a cafe and a wine bar. The scene changes from a light and airy space to a darker and more serene setting on the second half. They transition in such a flawless way though, not awkward at all, instead intriguing and beautiful!
Lucia’s Order: Raspberry Truffle Mocha. Malted Milk Balls, Peanut Bar, Milk Chocolate “LOVE” Bar, Unbearably Hot Cinnamon Gummies.
coffee: A+ . Honestly, one of my favorites. It was made with half and half, which gives it more of a hot chocolate-like consistency.
food: A+ . If you’re looking for Valentine’s Day gifts still, this is the ultimate destination. May or may not have spent over $20 on chocolate but it is soo worth it.
aesthetic (coffee): B . Nothing special about the design but nothing disappointing about it either!
aesthetic (interior): A+ . Favorite interior thus far! So pleasing and unique. The interior feels large and small at the same time, giving feelings of both comfort and relaxation in just the right proportions.
If you’re ever in the downtown Columbus area, this stop is a must. Everyone there was incredibly nice and didn’t rush us at all, even though we both took about twenty minutes to gather all of our chocolates and decide on which drink (they all sounded unbelievable, it’s not our fault). They also offer specialty coffee beans for sale! Snickerdoodle, blueberry and so many more flavors are available. If you go in the afternoon, might as well stick around for happy hour (which starts at 4) and get a couple dollars off of some glasses of wine! Again, coffee + chocolate + wine… need I say more?
Coffee has been a long time love of mine. Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without it. My biggest inspiration in this category is hands down my nana. Although my entire family is pretty impressive when it comes to caffeine consumption, this outstanding woman can drink a whole pot of coffee and then go straight to bed. I’m pretty sure she ends every meal, conversation or just general gathering of any type of audience, with the phrase “should I put a pot of coffee on?”. I love it. I strive to be on her level.
If you don’t already know, I am currently located in Columbus, Ohio. As a fast growing city it is definitely not lacking in fresh finds in the caffeine department. I realized that for the entire month of October, I spent five dollars every day at Starbucks getting the same. exact. drink. Every day. Grande pumpkin chai latte with skim milk, please! I know, I just lost all of my street cred from true coffee fans. Don’t give up on me yet, I promise I realize how wrong my ways have been…
I decided it was time to explore the underground coffee scene that this city had to offer. To be completely honest, these places aren’t really underground at all but that sounds so much cooler, right? Naturally, I forced my roommate and one of my best friends, Lucia, to join me on this mission (huge shoutout to Lucia, this definitely wasn’t the first time I had volunteered her for a task she’d never signed up for). We’re still on an active hunt for the best coffee in Columbus. However, we’ve found it very, very difficult so far, seeing as every single one of the cafe’s we’ve been to has been so incredible in their own unique way.
Okay, let me stop babbling and let’s talk coffee! Below you will find the ratings (on a very official letter grading scale) from both Lucia & I, along with a few comments about why we gave our grade. These reviews are brought to you by an avid coffee drinker since the age of 12 (I pin this as the reason I’m only 5’1) and the expertise of an Ohio State University barista (shouts out, Lucia! word on the street is you give people six butters for their bagels… you just know what the people want). Alright, let’s get brewin’!
The Roosevelt Coffeehouse
Courtney’s Order: Cranberry Cinnamon Iced Coffee
coffee: B+ . Loved the thought behind the mixture of flavors!
aesthetic (coffee): B+ . Really liked the fact that they took the time to top with fresh cranberry & cinnamon.
aesthetic (interior): A . Definitely the best destination if you’re looking for a study spot!! Great lighting, big tables and respectful atmosphere.
Lucia’s Order: Iced Vietnamese Coffee
coffee: B+ . Overall enjoyed coffee! However, and I quote, “not enough ice… 2/3 of the cup, my friends!!” .
aesthetic (coffee): B . There’s really not much that can be done with an iced coffee but the glass was unique.
aesthetic (interior): A . Loved the calm ambience and natural lighting. Great space!
p.s. they offer merch… t shirts, crewnecks, etc. They even give you free stickers, so +5 bonus points for Roosevelt (even though we’re using a letter grading scale, work with me guys, you get the point) !
coffee: B+ . If I did it again, I would definitely get the charcoal in it…
food: A+. C’mon, hand crafted tea cakes?! Amazing.
aesthetic (coffee): B+ . The barista warned us that she didn’t know how to make foam art yet and I completely respect that honesty. You still crafted an amazing latte, let me tell you.
aesthetic (interior): A+ . This is the place you want to take your family when they come to visit. They aren’t lying about being a boutique style cafe. Cutest interior! (also best instagram photo stop!!!)
Lucia’s Order: Charcoal Honey Lavender Latte (minus the charcoal) . Banana Caramel & Pecan Shortbread Cookie Tea Cake. Spice Bar with Pumpkin Seed, Brittle, Papaya, and Edible Rose.
coffee: B+ . Agreed, would absolutely get the charcoal next time.
food: A+ . Little tea cake was so damn good…
aesthetic (coffee): B+ . The mugs were huge, which is always a positive!
aesthetic (interior): A+ . So precious inside! Perfect place to take anyone visiting. Would like to stay here forever, please.