Apricot Almond Granola Bars

delicious apricot almond granola bars | jessicagavin.com Do you ever feel like apricot season is over in a flash? I love summer stone fruit, especially when apricots are super sweet and tender, yum! Just because summer has come to an end, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some delicious snacks that have summer flavors. Luckily most seasonal fruits can be found in their dried versions, making the flavors even more concentrated and naturally sweet…. 

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Matcha Green Tea Tiramisu

Dusting powdered sugar on matcha green tea tiramisu | jessicagavin.com

Sometimes when your sweet tooth hits but you don’t necessarily want to bake, the perfect dessert option is a yummy tiramisu! All you need to make tiramisu is a bowl, whisk, a little patience and you are set. I originally created this recipe 2 days before my son James was born in the midst of the summer swelter, so this was a sweat free, no bake dessert.

I first learned how to make tiramisu in Italy at a quaint little B&B called Osteria della Lodola by an amazing Tuscan chef who taught me his wife’s super simple and delicious family recipe. Actually I also learned how to make a delicious Butternut Squash soup too – but that’s another story. I was so elated to have the opportunity to learn from this chef during my visit, I couldn’t wait to make this recipe for my family back at home. However, like most things I wanted to put a little twist on this recipe, being that it is my birthday on September 28 (hehe) and I also am a lover of matcha green tea. I created a matcha green tea tiramisu recipe that combines my obsession for both the flavors of Tuscany and Japan, a little fun fusion dessert!… 

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Pork Chops with Spiced Apples

pork chops with spiced apples in skillet | jessicagavin.com #pork

This week marks the official beginning of fall, which means cooler temps, mini pumpkins everywhere and cozy comfort foods. I was really sad to see the dwindling of summer produce at the market yesterday, but they were replaced by marvelous apples! There are so many varieties to choose from like honeycrisp, jazz or the traditional green.

It really depends on how you decide to cook the apples, and since I wanted to use them for a sweet and savory topping for this pork recipe, Fuji apples were my pick. Incredibly sweet yet sturdy when cooked down and sauteed, Fuji apples are great at infusing flavors into it’s flesh and staying nice and tender once cooked. I was excited to transition from using the grill during the summer time to breaking out my trusty cast iron pan to create my hearty and delicious pork chops with spiced apples recipe…. 

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Cups

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Cups | jessicagavin.com

Oh boy, I have certainly been on a snack kick lately! Mostly because it’s a little tricky getting a sit down meal with baby James keeping me on my toes all day. I have to tell you, these peanut butter chocolate chip granola cups saved me from starvation the minute we returned home from the epic delivery of our son James. I had made these granola cups a few days before as part of my “baby nesting” phase, I whipped up a bunch of homemade treats like my no-bake snack bites in anticipation for the much needed energy once baby arrived, and I’m sure glad I did!… 

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No Bake Snack Bites

Perfect No-Bake Snack Bites | jessicagavin.com #recipe

Being a new mommy is a life filled with smiles, cuddles, lots of love and diapers! Sooo many diapers! It can also be pretty demanding on the body and sometimes a quick burst of energy is needed to keep up with taking care of baby. These no bake energy bites are perfect for that one handed grab and healthy satisfaction needed to get through the day. If you’re always on the go, these no bake snack bites are a winner!… 

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Healthy Oat Pancakes with Berry Sauce

healthy-stack-berry-pancakes

Pancakes for breakfast are certainly a morning treat which usually makes its appearance during those lazy weekends. To be honest, I always feel a little guilty because pancakes are undercover golden delicious desserts eaten in the morning, but they are so good! I wanted to create a recipe that would let me have a taste of those devilish cakes, but not have a carbohydrate overload leaving me wanting to crawl back into bed for a nap after breakfast. I decided to make a pancake batter that featured oats instead of flour for extra fiber, very little added sugar, and fit in as much protein as I could so that I would feel satisfied and energized after eating. These healthy oat pancakes with berry compote sauce is just what you need for a healthy and satisfying start to your day!… 

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Mini Nectarine Almond Frangipane Tart

nectarine almond frangipane tart | jessicagavin.com #sweets

The best thing about dessert is when you don’t have to share! I know, that may sound a little greedy, but sometimes you just want your very own pie. With that in mind, I thought that making individually portioned mini nectarine almond frangipane tarts would be a great way to indulge without going over board. It’s nice not having to give others a nibble of the good stuff, since everyone will have their very own tart…. 

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Fig and Prosciutto Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

fig and prosciutto pizza | jessicagavin.com

When I think of figs, I find it funny to imagine the times of Greek gods and goddesses spending the afternoon eating these delicate and luxurious fruit gems. These perfect ripe figs are like eating concentrated honey bites and are perfect for pairing with salty and savory ingredients like prosciutto and cheese. Of course honey and figs go together like milk and cookies. It’s exciting to see when figs pop up in the grocery store or at farmer’s markets, it’s like a a special treat because it’s not something you have everyday.

I was recently dining with some of my favorite coworkers at a nearby pizzeria called Fuoco in Fullerton, CA and they had a special pie on the menu featuring you guessed it, figs! For some reason all of our eyes lit up around the table and we all ordered a whole fig pizza to ourselves! Greedy you say? No way, just indulgent and who doesn’t like a leftover pizza the next day? I hadn’t noticed figs in the market yet, so that got me thinking and inspired me to make my own version of fig pizza at home, if I could find some figs at my local market. And guess what, success! Whole Foods had the figs in cute little green baskets, ready for the taking. I hope you enjoy this recipe for fig and prosciutto pizza with sweet honey balsamic glaze, it’s a little bite of heaven if you ask me…. 

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Jasmine Green Iced Tea Limeade

Jasmine green iced tea | jessicagavin.com

There’s nothing better to quench your thirst on a warm day then with a chilled glass of iced tea or lemonade. There is no reason that you can’t have the best of both worlds! I frequently like to ask for an “Arnold Palmer” at restaurants, or half iced tea and half lemonade. For me it has the right balance of sweet, tangy and astringent. However some of my favorite types of tea are Jasmine and green tea because they are much more mild and aromatic, compared to the slightly stronger black tea.

Lemons are also known to really make your mouth pucker which is why limes are a nice substitute to achieve a milder sour note and have nice flavor. Putting all of those flavor elements together, I made a refreshing jasmine green iced tea limeade to give a delicate yet revitalizing beverage…. 

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Sweet and Tangy Apple and Peach Chutney

Apple and Peach Chutney | jessicagavin.com

Are you looking for a simple, yet flavorful way to make your dishes even more delectable? I have found that sauces and condiments to serve on the side do the trick. Chutneys are chunky sweet and sour condiments used to brighten and add more flavor to almost any dish. Similar to a relish, chutneys can contain cooked fruits, vegetables and added spices which this sweet and tangy apple and peach chutney recipe features both…. 

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Grilled Pork Chops with Honey Mustard Glaze

grilled pork chops with honey mustard glaze | jessicagavin.com

When you’re in the mood for a healthy and lean protein, chicken can get repetitive and a little, well, blah. That’s why I like to switch it up and grill pork chops, a tender yet hearty cut which infuses flavors quite easily and cooks within minutes! A savory dry rub added to season the meat just before cooking adds a quick hint of flavor and a super simple honey mustard glaze generously added at the end of cooking locks in the juices and makes the pork even more tastier. Grilled pork chops with honey mustard glaze will certainly be your new favorite recipe. So easy you can throw into your weekly dinner rotation!… 

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Summer Succotash Salad

summer succotash salad with dressing | jessicagavin.com

It’s officially summer and with the warm weather brings more time outdoors, especially picnics and barbecues. Strolling the aisles of grocery stores and farmer’s markets, the produce sections are showing much more vibrant colors as the summer fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready to eat. Whenever I see sweet white corn appear that’s when I know it’s time to fire up the grill! To take advantage of the beautiful produce now available, I wanted to create a more hearty yet healthy salad that would be perfect to serve on those warmer days with those savory barbecue feasts. My summer succotash salad features all of these yummy vegetables in one bowl!… 

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Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad with Chicken

delicious broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken | jessicagavin.com

Did I ever tell you that during my pregnancy I craved kale salads? Yup! It was probably one of the healthier foods for my taste buds, compared to all of the sweets that I typically want. As I was roaming the aisles of my local Trader Joes grocery store, I came across a single serving broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken and thought it would be the perfect lunch for the next day.  I enjoyed the taste and texture of this salad so much, that I created my own recipe! This also saves your wallet, since buying these individual portions could break the bank over time…. 

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Super Tasty Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

delicious tequila chicken marinade | jessicagavin.com

Very interesting things can happen when you’ve been drinking… some you remember, some you don’t. Well this drunk chicken infused in a margarita inspired marinade sure had a good time! Summer is officially less than a week away (woohoo!) and these hot summer nights I’d rather not be cooking in my sweltering kitchen! My husband certainly appreciates a yummy meal, but there are times I feel like I just did a steamy session of Bikram yoga after cooking for an hour (so not attractive). Since moving into our new house, this is the first time we had the chance to use our “gently used” Weber barbecue left behind by the previous owners. To commemorate the occasion, I decided to make a grilled tequila lime chicken with a refreshing mango salsa…. 

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Strawberry French Toast Recipe

Strawberry French Toast Recipe | jessicagavin.com

Breakfast is one of my favorite eating occasions for one reason, I get to eat dessert first thing in the morning! As a kid, French toast was my go-to selection whenever dining out on the weekends with my family, or at home on Sunday mornings. French toast has evolved on restaurant menus to include versions using banana bread, baked like a custard in a cast iron pan, healthier whole wheat bread recipes, and even stuffed with rich fillings. I had made a fresh loaf of braided challah bread (a rich egg bread) and I did not want a single crumb to go to waste, so I decided to make an irresistible strawberry french toast recipe!… 

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Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread

whole wheat banana nut bread | jessicagavin.com

At almost six months into my pregnancy journey, my baby bump is finally showing and I’m getting lots of fun questions from curious family and friends about how the experience has been going. So far, very smooth! One of the questions that I get all the time is “What kinds of food are you craving?” Well, lately my cravings have been anything sweet with bananas in it (bread, muffins, pancakes, the list goes on)! Due to this ongoing craving, I decided I needed to find a healthier alternative to my banana based sweet tooth.  I decided to create a whole wheat banana nut bread recipe to help satisfy my cravings without burdoning my ever growing tummy!… 

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Honey Hoisin Pork Tenderloin w/ Carrot Puree

Honey hoisin pork tenderloin recipe

Are you looking for a flavorful, healthy, yet easy to prepare recipe for your weekday meal? This honey hoisin pork tenderloin recipe is a great option that is not only simple but it also looks like you could have spent hours in the kitchen! The combination of rich, savory and fresh flavors infuse into the pork tenderloin effortlessly. With a few minutes to sear the pork tenderloin in the pan and then finishing the cooking process by roasting in the oven leaving you have plenty of time to prepare your tasty sides!… 

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Broiled Molasses Glazed Salmon

Molasses glazed salmon fillet

Have you ever enjoyed your meal so much at a restaurant that you wanted to recreate that dish at home? This happened to my husband and I at our wedding of all places. Our meal was catered by The Beachcomber Cafe in Crystal Cove and we selected an incredible maple glazed salmon with ancho chili spice. We were hooked and you will be too!… 

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Cranberry Nut Energy Bars

No Bake Cranberry Nut Energy Bars

Energy bars are a portable and quick snack option for those on the go. There are numerous choices in the market, some of my favorite being Clif Mojo Bar Variety Pack and KIND Healthy Snack Bars. I also enjoy creating my own energy bars at home because I get complete control of what ingredients and flavors I want to incorporate. I like to add flaxseed, fiber and protein packed nuts such as peanut and almond. Then to bind the ingredients together and add sweetness, I use natural sweeteners like honey. Crunchy, sweet, and satisfying, this easy no-bake cranberry nut energy bars recipe is the perfect snack for any time of the day!… 

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Make your own homemade fruit popsicles

homemade fruit popsicles | jessicagavin.com

When I was growing up popsicles and water guns were a summer time staple! My favorite frozen treat was Otter Pops, remember those? The ones where everyone’s mouth’s turned the various colors of the rainbow after eating them. Nostalgic childhood foods are my favorite things to recreate and I must admit, I think the last time I made homemade fruit popsicles was when I was in the third grade! The great thing is that making easy healthy treats at home is super simple, without the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors you’ll find in store bought packages. All of my homemade fruit popsicles recipes are 100 calories or less, even as low as 30 calories for the all fruit flavors!… 

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Blood Orange and Fennel Salad

Delicious Blood orange and fennel salad

The Spring season welcomes a time for new fruits and vegetables to make their appearance! I particularly look forward to vibrant and juicy blood oranges. My first spring time visit to the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market in Orange, California has inspired this refreshing blood orange and fennel salad recipe…. 

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Cantonese Char Siu Recipe

Cantonese Char Siu Recipe | jessicagavin.com

One of my favorite Chinese dishes growing up is savory and sweet roasted barbeque pork, affectionately called char siu in Cantonese. During our weekend visits to Oakland’s Chinatown, I would always see these beautiful pieces of roasted meat hanging on display in restaurant windows. The flavors are a mixture of intensely concentrated sauces like fermented black bean, soy, hoisin and sesame paste. The aromatic blend of Chinese five spice adds a kick of pungent flavor and sweet aroma, complimenting the umami flavors of the sauces. Sugar is used to balance the saltiness of the marinade, and Chinese sherry called Shaoxing helps the flavors to merry together and infuse into the pork. I want to share with you this traditional Cantonese char siu recipe I learned during culinary school. I hope you enjoy!… 

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Persimmon Honey Ginger Tart

Persimmon Honey Ginger Tart

Persimmons are a delightful treat during the winter season. The Fuyu Japanese varietal of persimmon looks like a pumpkin shaped orange tomato, however the flavor is very sweet and slightly tangy with a crunchy to soft texture depending on how long you allow the fruit to ripen. Persimmons can be eaten raw and when they are ripe they are perfect for a persimmon honey ginger tart filled with custard!… 

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An Evening of Tapas Recipes

Caipirinha During my recent visit to Michigan, I had the chance to combine foodie forces with my good friend Angie, aka. The Michigan Bon Vivant. Angie is a big supporter of buying fresh organic produce, is passionate about finding ways to educate others on improving our nation’s food culture, and also knows her ethnic cuisine! As we dined together one evening, we decided that we needed one more food experience before I left for California, so Angie had the brilliant idea to make some of her favorite tapas recipes at her home…. 

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