04/14/14

Jet City Seminole Heights (and a quiche recipe!)

Way back in once upon a time time, I saw my blogger friend Meghann, from Meals and Miles, write a blog post about this amazing coffee shop in South Tampa. It was the first time I’d heard of Jet City, and I must admit, I was just a *tad* jealous of all of the scrumptious looking things she got to try (like the Cafe Borgia!). 

As time went on, I forgot about the post, forgot about Jet City, and forgot what a “Borgia” even was. I never made it down to check the place out, and continued dividing my coffee adventures between home and chain shoppes. 

Until…. that glorious day…. when I read in the Seminole Heights Patch….that Jet City Espresso…. planned to open up another location…. IN MY LITTLE NEIGHBORHOOD!

When I found out that it would be just steps away from my home and work, I kissed the ‘Bucks farewell and decided to go local for the rest of my coffee days. Jessica, the owner of both locations, isn’t new to the coffee business. She is a true coffee entrepreneur, having shops both in Tampa and in Seattle.

It’s easy to miss Jet City as you’re traveling along Florida Avenue. At first glance, it’s just another bungalow, until your eye catches the neon sign indicating you’ve reached coffee mecca. There is ample parking in two back lots, and entrances on either side of the house.

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When you first walk in, you’re greeted by the scents of freshly brewed Seattle’s best coffee and espresso, cozy tables, chairs and couches, music playing over head (and sometimes in person!), and other traditional Seminole Heights touches, like a fireplace, real wooden floors and natural light from surrounding windows. You’re also guaranteed to recieve a friendly, personal greeting from behind the counter, as everyone always makes the extra effort to make you feel as though you’re walking into their own homes.

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Pastries like scones, muffins, cookies and cakes (many of which are gluten free and/or Paleo!) line the counter, and gourmet quiches, salads and other desserts are proudly propped inside the the refrigerated display case. A large chalkboard hangs on the wall with hand-written menu items that make your mouth water as you peruse the options. Candy bar themed lattes (think Almond Joy and Milky Way!), cafe con leche, bacon and Gouda quiches, Sante Fe Salads, wraps, sandwiches, and even gluten free French toast make an appearance! Although Jet City’s known for their signature drinks (remember to try a Cafe Borgia!) they offer a wide variety of treats to compliment the hand-made creations. 

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The next time you’re in the lovely Seminole Heights neighborhood, stop by and say hello to Jessica and the awesome staff at Jet City. Order a freshly prepared hot or cold beverage, pull up a chair, and sit down with a good book (or your laptop- they have free WiFi!). Believe me, it will be the highlight of your day! 

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So, I’ve been a bit inspired by Jessica’s creations at Jet City, that I got a little creative in my own kitchen whipping up this scrumptious Kale, Ham and Goat Cheese Quiche with an Almond Flour crust. 

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Honestly, I have been whipping up some sort of crust-less quiche or fritatta pretty much every week since going NSNG back in October. However, I’ve grown tired of the crust-less versions, and thought I’d try a few recipes to see if I could create something delicious. Here’s the recipe!

For the crust
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 stick unsalted cold butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until the butter is incorporated. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a pie dish, then bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. While the crust is cooking, prepare the quiche filling. 

For the filling
8 large eggs
1/2 cup cream 
4oz goat cheese
2 slices of Applegate Farms ham, diced
1 cup chopped kale
1-2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
Whisk together the eggs and cream. Add the kale, ham, scallions, salt and pepper into the egg mixture. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. Pour the filling into the crust, then add teaspoon sized dollops of the goat cheese all around the quiche. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is firm. Let it cool slightly before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

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04/12/14

Baby Sanchez and the Chosen Marathon, Tampa

There are times when you read a story and just know you want to get involved. 
That was the case with my ‘friend’ Sandra Sanchez.

I say ‘friend’ because Sandra and I have never met in person. Our friendship began in an NSNG Facebook group, and has evolved into commenting on each other’s statuses, sharing grain-free recipes, and cheering one another along through our projects and endeavors… like Sandra’s involvement in an upcoming event: the Chosen Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in Tampa.
That’s right, Chosen is bringing BACK a marathon to Tampa, and it’s for an AMAZING cause! The race will take place on November 15, 2014 at 6:30am starting at the Tampa Times Forum in Tampa. 

You see, Sandra and her family are trying to adopt a child. One of the ways they’ve decided to help fund the adoption process by participating in the Chosen Marathon. 

About Chosen (from the website):
From the Founder and Executive Director: In the beginning…The seed for Chosen was planted on the start line of another race. Founder Jenni Lord just couldn’t imagine sacrificing to train for another race unless she was doing it for something she believed in. Since that day in 2008, core teams of more than 100 individuals have contributed to the cause with their diverse gifts and talents. The heart that drives these Chosen teams is simple—to bring orphans out of darkness. Our Core Race Team is made up of volunteers who believe in what we are doing and want to help bring orphans out of darkness. From website design to race day music, we have been tremendously blessed by people donating out of their abundant gifts & resources to advance this vision. Chosen’s mission is to host a sporting events to financially impact orphans & adoptive families and raise awareness of the 165 million orphans worldwide.

chosen_logo Chosen-Marathon

If you’d like to participate in this race, or join Sandra’s, team Baby Sanchez, click here for registration.
If you’d like to help Sandra’s family by making a donation to their fundraising efforts, click here

Thank you for reading and please consider sharing this post with friends and family. Let’s help Sandra bring baby Sanchez home! :) 

04/11/14

#TeamJudy

I can’t recall how many times I’ve thought about my mom over the past 2 years. Quite possibly more times than when she was here on earth. I wake up thinking of her when I feel my #TeamJudy bracelet slide against my wrist. I think about her when I look in the mirror each morning, and see faint resemblances of my mom in my own reflection. Sometimes I think of her when I hear her voice through my own words as I talk throughout the day. Oftentimes a song will come on the radio and ignite a memory.

And then there are times when life is quiet, and I’m purposefully reflecting on stories and moments I want to make sure to never forget. 

When I started this chapter of my life 2 years ago, I never dreamed that I would be able to think about my mom without sobbing uncontrollably. While there are still times when the idea of her passing overwhelms me, those times have become less frequent as I get accustomed to writing these new pages in my own life’s story.

I receive so many questions through my blog and social media on how to deal with the loss of a parent. And while I’ve always avoided the “it gets better with time” phrase, I do try to make them understand that grief is different for everyone. There is no timeline on when you are supposed to be done. No expectations. No rules. It’s grief. It’s a feeling. It’s in your heart. And the more you loved someone, the harder it will be to learn to cope with that loss. That is how life works. 

Although there’s a big part of my life that’s missing, so much good has happened over the past 2 years. So much love has been shared through sweet moments, new life, adventures, advocacy, accomplishments. It’s in those moments that I miss my mother the most. And as I think about what’s to come, I can’t help but miss her even more. There are so many chapters of my life left to write, and I don’t always know how I’ll write them without her. But I will. 

Friends, life is beautiful. It’s special. It’s meaningful. Notice those around you. Ask people how they’re doing. Make time for friends. Don’t lose sight of what’s important. Go on vacations. Put yourself in other’s shoes. Fall in love. Pay attention to your children (even if they’re already grown). Visit your grandparents. Create opportunities to give back. Call your mother. 

#TeamJudy forever. -Steph

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If there is a heaven, then my mom is there catching up with her family and friends of days gone by. Her heaven is a house on the seashore where she awakes every morning to the sound of gulls and crashing waves.

Her mornings are filled with freshly cooked bacon, walks on the beach and swims in crystal turquoise waters. Sometimes she floats. Sometimes she snorkels. Sometimes she wades up and down the shore casting out her fishing pole hoping for a bite. Sometimes she lays in the warm sand, working on her favorite word search puzzle soaking up the perfect sunshine without a care in the world.

Her friends and family come to visit and they feast on meals made of old family recipes chatting about the good old days over sweet cups of piping hot cafe con leche. The sound of dominoes clicking and sliding against the table can be heard until the wee hours of the night as they enjoy the long lost company of one another.

Sometimes days are filled with trips to her favorite places, driving around in a red convertible to the songs of Donna Summer. Mom, in her happiest place, shopping at big retail stores, crunching on bags of freshly popped popcorn and sipping ice cold cups of Coca Cola as she pushes her cart along the aisles.

When the days get cooler, her heaven is a campground where her and her mom sneak away for cozy mountain trips. Conversations about life and family fill their days as they sit by warm campfires under millions of stars.

And on silent nights, when the heavens are calm, my mom sleeps and dreams of us, just as we sleep and dream of her here on Earth. She sees our successes, listens to our worries, and laughs with us during our craziest of times.

And on those very peaceful nights where we are lucky enough to meet, we reunite in those dreams, talking about life and creating memories that no photograph can capture.

04/7/14

FittPalooza5k Fitness Challenge (and a giveaway!)

On September 13, 2014, an EXCITING event it coming to Kissimee, FL: the FittPalooza5k Fitness Challenge race!
10168410_369227863216790_905041453_nThe event is a 5k sprinkled with FitDeck challenge card fitness challenges along the course. It is beginner friendly (and walker friendly), and geared at those who would like to do a challenge race without going through the mud, climbing walls, or running through fire (although fans of those types of races are welcome to participate too!).

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The event will take place on Saturday, September 13, 2014, at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimee, FL with the first wave going out at 8am (last wave is at 12:40pm). There will also be an after party featuring Zumba, dancing, food and more! The event is open to both men and women, and there two .5 mile Jr. waves for children (6+) to participate in!

Finishers will receive a t-shirt, drawstring bag and their very own deck of FitDeck challenge cards! 

To register for the event, click here. It’s currently $40 to register (the Jr. events are $20), and the price will increase to $45 on May 16th! 

For more information, be sure to follow FittPalooza5k on social media!
On Facebook.
On Twitter. 

Would you like to WIN a FREE entry to the FittPalooza5k and Fitness Challenge????
Leave me a comment below telling me WHY you’d like to participate in the event, and I’ll choose a random comment on April 12 (using Random.org) and announce the winner here on the blog and on social media!

Want to increase your chances of winning?

Add additional comments below each time you do the following:

04/3/14

Grain free Apple Pecan Crisp with Salted Almond “Ice Cream”

1. Go to the store. 
2. Buy the ingredients listed below.
3. Make this immediately.
4. Make the ice cream first so that it has time to set. This is important for #5. 
5. Serve this crisp nice and warm with a scoop of the ice cream.
6. Sit down. (Trust me).
7. Eat it slowly, savor every bite, try not to spill any as you close your eyes in sweet, sweet, glory.
8. Comment below thanking me for sharing this recipe with you.
9. (Optional) Send me a gift card to Trader Joe’s for sharing this recipe with you.
10. (Because who the hell ends with 9?) Repeat steps 5-9. 
xoxo Steph ;)

Grain free Apple Pecan Crisp with Salted Almond “Ice Cream”
This shit’s da bomb. Seriously. I could probably eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. If your grain & sugar eaters disagree, slap them.

Ingredients for the crisp
5-6 granny smith apples (or any of your favorite apple) peeled and sliced
1 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons grass-fed butter (or coconut oil to make it strict Paleo)
1/4 cup raw honey or grade B maple syrup (optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut water
the juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. cinnamon powder
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger powder
3/4 cup pecan halves
1 tsp. sea salt

Directions for the crisp
1. In a food processor, combine almond flour, butter (or coconut oil), 1/4 of the chopped pecans, and sea salt. Pulse until just combined and crumbly. Set aside. 
2. Stir together the apple slices, lemon juice, coconut water, spices, and honey (or maple syrup). Transfer the apple mixture to a greased baking dish, then top with dollops of the crumbly topping and remaining pecans. 
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. 

Follow this link for the AMAZING Paleo salted almond ice cream. 

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03/30/14

Shrimp BLT Wraps

If I had to narrow down one of my favorite foods of all time, it would be bacon.
And I’m not talking about crap bacon. I’m talking about thick cut, smoked, slow cooked, chewy and crispy at the same time, glorious bacon. 
My favorite bacon these days has been Trader Joe’s uncured bacon. It’s thick cut, meaty, with the right amount of fat and a pure flavor that I find myself drooling over. 

Bacon. Is the reason. I could never. Be a vegetarian. 

Sorry piggies. 

If I had to choose a runner up, it would be seafood.
So this pairing of succulent sauteed shrimp paired with a slab of bacon, and juicy tomatoes drizzled with a tangy mayo wrapped in fresh and crisp….

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Sorry. I fainted on the keyboard for a second there. I’m back. Whew. Where was I. Ah, yes…..Wrapped in fresh and crisp iceberg lettuce. It’s a thing of a beauty. If I do say so myself. 

Here’s the recipe. While I still have the strength to type it.

Ingredients for the shrimp
10-12 raw shrimp, de-veined, shelled with tails off
1 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Saute shrimp in the coconut oil and seasonings until just pink. Set aside to cool a bit.

Ingredients for the mayo
I use this recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl. At the end, I added a few sprigs of chopped cilantro, 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced, and the juice of 1/2 lime.  

To build the wrap
Start with a flat piece of iceberg, bib or romaine lettuce (make sure it’s washed and dry). Spread a dollop of mayo on the lettuce. Top with a few shrimp, slices of fresh roma tomatoes, and a slice of cooked bacon. Wrap it up like a burrito and stuff it in your mouth. You may have to sit down for that last part. You may lose your footing. 

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03/28/14

Chili-Lime Pecans & Pepitas

My blogging pal Jennifer, from The Foodie Patootie has taken on QUITE the project. 

For every foodie holiday, throughout the entire year (that’s 365+ recipes, as some days have more than one food attached to them!) she is posting a recipe in honor of that day. Seriously. It’s THAT awesome. Continue reading

03/27/14

Taste of South Tampa

A scrumptious event is about to hit South Tampa in a few weeks! On Sunday, April 13th, the 9th annual Taste of South Tampa is coming to Hyde Park! This food-filled event will run from 1-4pm. Local restaurants will be offering samples of their best dishes for guests to taste! Beer, wine, spirits and sodas will be offered as well to wash it all down.  The tickets are all inclusive and include: Unlimited food and beverage samples, live entertainment, access to activities in the Kid and Pet Zones, give-aways from exhibitors, opportunity to win prizes by participating in the canned food drive and voting for the “Best of South Tampa” awards. This is going to be such a fun event that you won’t want to miss.  Continue reading