Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip | jessicagavin.com

It’s barbecue season and instead of grilling the usual chicken, ribs or sausages, why not try one of the more under appreciated yet delicious cuts of meats, tri-tip! When Jason and I attended college at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, we quickly learned that one of the culinary delights on the Central Coast of California was the famous beef tri-tip cut. Downtown San Luis Obispo has numerous restaurants that offer the seasoned hunks of meat on their menus, often thinly sliced and served on a soft french roll and drenched in BBQ sauce.

I particularly enjoyed to get my tri-tip sandwiches from Firestone Grill or during thursday night’s farmer’s market from restaurants grilling on their huge BBQ pits in the heart of downtown SLO. Since graduating and migrating South over 7 years ago, we haven’t had much opportunity to get some authentic Santa Maria style tri-tip in quite a while, with many BBQ restaurants falling short of the ones we had in San Luis Obispo, I decided to make some right at home…. 

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Luscious Raspberry Lemon Bars

amazing raspberry lemon bar recipe | jessicagavin.com

When given the choice of a decadent chocolate dessert versus a light refreshing lemon indulgence, I’m much more of a chocolate lover. I actually used to hate lemon flavored desserts! That’s until I finally made a tray of fresh raspberry lemon bars at home. My first encounter with lemon bars was when I was working at a European bakery in high school, getting the chance to be exposed to lots of different citrus infused treats.

Lemon bars were a staple at Boniere Bakery in Alameda, CA. Baked fresh each week, I used to be in charge of cutting the crisp and gooey bars into perfect squares then dusting them with generous mountains of powdered sugar. I would sneak bites of the browned corners that I cut off, licking off the sticky evidence from my fingers. I think that’s when I started to appreciate the citrus pucker effect of the lemon juice balanced with the sweetness of the sugar in those gooey lemon bars…. 

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Delicious Braided Challah Bread

braided challah bread loaf

Have you ever visited a bakery and seen those long beautiful braided breads and wondered, what are those lovely golden brown loaves? I used to work at a European bakery called Boniere in high school and the pastry chef used to bake these aromatic challah loaves each morning and place them on the bread rack in the front of the store for display. These rich milk, butter and egg based breads were especially popular with customers during the spring time for Easter and the winter for Hanukkah. These yeast-leavened breads are tender with a hint of sweetness and are simple to make!… 

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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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Spinach Artichoke Deviled Eggs

final deviled eggs presentation platter | jessicagavin.com

Deviled eggs are a truly nostalgic recipe that can be spruced up with your favorite ingredients. I remember deviled eggs always making its appearance at spring time parties, weddings and baby showers. I definitely ate my fair share! I’ve taken the classic recipe and created a spinach artichoke deviled eggs version combining two of my two favorite party appetizers into one tasty bite!… 

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Italian Easter Bread

delicious italian easter bread | jessicagavin.com

This year for Easter I decided to make Italian Easter Bread, a traditional recipe that Jason’s grandma Rose used to make each year. I honestly had never heard of this Italian treat before, but I was definitely curious! After some researching and talking with Jason’s parents for a description, I came across The Italian Dish blog which had a beautiful recipe. The bread looked so delicious, I knew I had to try it out! This Italian Easter bread recipe has a tender and slightly sweet dough with a hard-boiled egg in the center and festive colorful sprinkles. The perfect recipe to help celebrate Easter this year!… 

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Delicious Fried Banana Fritters

making fried banana fritters

I have been craving beignets, the French “fritters” that are diamond shaped raised doughnuts. Hot, crispy and loaded with powdered sugar beignets are a must have treat if you ever visit New Orleans! Beignets are slightly time intensive to make from scratch. To get my quick fix I made delicious banana fritters which have a similar batter texture to beignets. Golden brown, tender and indulgent, these are the perfect quick and easy doughnuts to make without having to book a ticket to Louisiana!… 

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Lemonade Sugar Cookies

lemonade sugar cookies on a tray

This is a refreshing lemonade sugar cookies recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard. Bright, tangy and sweet, these lemonade sugar cookies are a nice way to brighten anyone’s day. These cookies are perfectly balanced with sweet lemonade icing and a buttery tender sugar cookie…. 

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Conversation Heart Cookies

tray of sweetheart cookies and candys

Are you looking for the perfect rolled sugar cookie recipe to make Valentine’s Day treats? With all of the recipes I have tried, America’s Test Kitchen recipe is by far the best! The dough is very easy to roll and handle. The recipe doesn’t even need extra flour because the dough is not very sticky. With love in the air, you can make these iced conversation heart cookies while adding your own personalized messages to friends, family, and those extra special loved ones in your life…. 

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