Sparkling Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade

Sparkling Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade

Ok, I know it’s been 10 days since July started, but happy July!!!  Did everyone have a great Fourth?  I spent mine getting fried to a lobster-y red crisp while floating the Truckee River on a donut tube, and it was *worth it*.  Everyone was out, and it was like a giant Fourth of July party!  The water wasn’t even that cold, and I became friends with a guy dressed like Jack Sparrow.  I christened him Pirate Steve, and then he gave us a bunch of PBRs that were kept cold by the melted ice water that is the Truckee River.  Pirate Steve was the ~homie~.  We kept scraping our backs and booties on the rocks, since the river was fairly low, but if you don’t have battle scars, did you even float the Truckee? Continue reading “Sparkling Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade”

Thai Cucumber Salad

Thai Cucumber Salad | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

I just got back from Vegas, and it was hot as f%^#*@((%.  I totally forgot what Vegas summer is like, and I think I almost died.  There is no escape.  It’s like being under a blowdryer.  It’s that feeling of when you open the oven and it burns your face.  It’s like your body is turning to dust and also you’re pouring a waterfall of sweat at the same time.  But!!! I had so much fun.  I got to go shopping with my grandma and spent probably three days worth of work on sandals.  My grandpa took me to breakfast at the golf club on multiple occasions.  I went to the second tiki bar of my life (the first being in Bergen, Norway, fun fact), and I drank all kinds of rum drinks and laughed with my friends.  Then, I woke up with my first Vegas hangover.  I breathed in a whole lot more cigarette smoke than I have ever wanted to.  I also got lost in my own hometown, and I was offended.  When did Vegas change the roads??  And, I found a lovely specialty coffeeshop near my childhood home, which didn’t even open until after I moved away! Continue reading “Thai Cucumber Salad”

Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Caramel

Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Caramel | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Caramel Coconut Cream Pie

To know me and my dad is to know that we are utterly obsessed with coconut.  So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I planned a family BBQ and somehow got talked into making an entire coconut cream pie.  The conversation went something along the lines of –

Me: “So we’ll have tri-tip, carrot salad, and I’ll make a pie.  What else would be good with this?  Some asparagus?”

My mom: “Maybe potatoes gratin.”

My dad: “I think coconut cream pie would go great with all of those things…” Continue reading “Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Caramel”

Funfetti Pancakes

Funfetti Pancakes without Cake Mix

Funfetti Pancakes no Cake Mix

I have used more sprinkles in the past few weeks than I have over the course of my entire life.  First, it was Molly Yeh’s funfetti cake, which my best friend and I decided to add extra sprinkles to, and then I unicorned it for my cousin’s sixth birthday.  (Side note: The amount of effort it takes to make a unicorn horn that doesn’t look like a wiener is actually impressive, but I don’t think I did too bad for my first time?).  The next notable encounter with sprinkles involved these pancakes.  Back in the good old days of SSL, I made a ‘birthday cake pancakes’ recipe with ‘homemade cake batter’.  As an avid anti-cake batter proponent, I was dead set on making the birthday cake pancakes that were floating around Pinterest but without boxed cake mix; at the time, this was downright impossible to find on the internet, and I went through a whole process of making homemade ‘cake batter’ that involved a food processor and a freezer.  Overall, way too much time for Sunday-morning pancakes, and while they tasted like cake, it still wasn’t the perfect funfetti flavor that I was looking for. Continue reading “Funfetti Pancakes”

Everything Bagel Popcorn

Everything Bagel Popcorn with Everything Spice & Nutritional Yeast

Growing up, one of my all-time favorite things to do was spend the night at my grandparent’s house.  My grandma and I would sew, take a ride in the golf cart, and have tea parties.  My grandpa would buy me ice cream and take me to breakfast after church on Sunday mornings.  Whatever sports game he was watching would blare throughout the house, and every time I smell Listerine, I think of my grandpa.  He has a green comb that he keeps on a side table next to his recliner.  My grandma has a violin hanging on a velvet backdrop across the room.  My grandparents have lived in this house my whole life, and it’s still one of my most comforting, happy places. Continue reading “Everything Bagel Popcorn”

Watermelon-Rhubarb Margaritas

Watermelon Rhubarb Margaritas | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Rhubarb Watermelon MargaritasI have a fairly strict criteria when it comes to my margs: fresh lime, on the rocks, salt.  I’m pretty leery of  margarita mixes that are the color of Dipsy the Teletubby and taste like lime-flavored candy in all the wrong ways.  My favorite Mexican restaurant in town makes perfect margaritas made in what can only be described as fish bowls, so usually I just use a margarita craving as an excuse to go eat chile rellenos + all the chips and salsa in the restaurant.  However, this weekend is both Cinco de Mayo and my cousin’s sixth birthday, so we’re going to throw a unicorn-themed Mexican food night!  I’m bringing a pitcher of margaritas + unicorn cupcakes.  Rumor has it there will also be a piñata and coloring books.  It’s going to be off the chain!!! Continue reading “Watermelon-Rhubarb Margaritas”

Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

(May 2018) Note: This is an updated version of a “healthy Caesar dressing” recipe I posted way back in 2013.  The dressing recipe is essentially the same, and changes have been noted in the recipe at the bottom!

Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

There’s a restaurant in Reno called Campo that makes a kale salad and, not even kidding, it makes me crave kale salads.  It’s lemony, garlicky, and topped with crispy parmesan and a poached egg.  I think about it a lot and have considered going there just for a kale salad and their caramel budino, but I don’t want to be judged by the servers, even though I think kale + caramel pudding is the epitome of balance.  I guess you could call the salad “famous” by Reno standards, and the original owner of the restaurant was even nice enough to post the full recipe online. Continue reading “Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing”

Coffee Toddy

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Hello from stormy Seattle where I’m spending the next few days doing all kinds of fun things like working a coffee trade show (!!!) and researching the best whiskey cocktail in the city.  The next few days will be absolutely crazy for me, because I get to see all the insane coffee companies I stalk  follow on Instagram and meet some really amazing people making strides in the industry!  I’m going to drink twenty shots of espresso a day and then die by way of over-caffeination.  After that’s over, I’m going to head over to the Upers and Downers section where they keep the booze, and I’m going to schmooze and pass out my business cards to anyone who will take them at the after parties!  My first day back to work on Tuesday will be rough af, but that’s what sleeping on the plane is for right?

In other news, I think Seattle is the most wonderful place.  It’s rainy in that romantic way where I just want to carry a really expensive umbrella and hail taxis all day.  One of my favorite scenarios is when a bunch of lights reflect across the rainy ground, and the roads look like a van Gogh painting.  I think Seattle in itself might have been dreamt up by van Gogh.  Should I start a conspiracy theory about this??

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For Christmas this past year, I got a jar of Coffee Blossom Honey from work, and for someone who has never liked honey, I’m actually a huge fan.  The company works directly with farms to source raw coffee-flower honey from micro-lots to promote sustainability and transparency.  Basically, the idea is that bees = pollenation, pollenation = more healthy coffee trees, healthy coffee trees = more coffee for us!  I was trying to figure out something to do with it in relation to coffee, and then I thought of how toddies use tea, and I think you know where this is going.

(P.S. not a sponsored post, just really stoked on this honey).

Coffee toddies are for people who like the idea of drinking cocktails during Sunday brunch but also need black coffee in the morning.  If you are someone that guffaws at anyone who orders cold brew or an iced latte in the morning, this is for you.  If the idea of drinking vodka prior to espresso makes you want to die, coffee toddies are for you.  If you just like the idea of coffee + alcohol, this drink is for you!!  A coffee toddy essentially combines all of my loves, namely coffee + whiskey.  I chose to add grapefruit juice rather than lemon juice, because I like how the flavor of grapefruit combines with coffee.  However, any citrus would taste great; next time, I’m going to try orange.  For the coffee, I would highly recommend getting something with brighter, citrusy, fruity, and/or floral notes; avoid anything too dark, chocolatey, and nutty, or you will end up with a strange flavor the combination that no one is asking for.  I went with a Nicaraguan that has notes of orange blossom + peach, and it balanced really nicely with the sweetness from the honey and of course, the grapefruit juice.

On another note, I’m convinced that this coffee toddy is the best way to fight a cold.  Coffee and honey have antimicrobial components, grapefruit juice has vitamin C, and whiskey cures broken hearts so …  it’s basically a health drink!  I know it’s spring and all, but it snowed in Reno this past week, so basically no one is safe from rhinovirus’s wrath.  #science

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Coffee Toddy

Serves 2

Ingredients

16 oz. fresh coffee (I brewed with a Chemex)
Two 2 oz. shots of whiskey (I used Bulleit)
4 tsp. grapefruit juice
2 Tbs. honey
Grapefruit, for garnish

Add one shot of whiskey, 2 tsp. of grapefruit juice, and 1 Tbs. of honey to each mug.  Add 8 oz. of hot, fresh coffee.  Stir until honey is completely dissolved.  Garnish with grapefruit.  Serve immediately.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Lost my Head there by Kurt Vile

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Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing

Ribboned Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Vinaigrette | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Carrot Salad with Feta, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

I feel like I don’t have any good stories to share with you guys lately.  I just work and cook and do a little yoga.  Is this what post-grad life is??  I get a degree, and I become someone who looks forward to coming home on Fridays and eating takeout pupusas in my sweatpants while watching Arrested Development reruns?  Because that’s exactly what I did this past Friday, and it was kind of amazing.  Although Saturday I went to a party and had two whole beers sooooo…yay?  Raise the roof?  I don’t know how to be young anymore.  Help!!!

In other exciting news, we also got a new Indian restaurant in town, and it’s the best one yet!  And this weekend, I’ll be in Seattle hopefully going to lots of fun bars and coffeeshops.  So, things are looking up in the ‘cool department’!

Easy Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

On another note, may I introduce you to one of my new favorite recipes?  I didn’t know it was possible to like veggies this much, but omg this carrot salad is sososo good!!  I don’t think we appreciate carrot salad enough in the states, because I’ve never seen one here unless I was at an authentic-European deli of some sort, but I’m starting a petition to make it a thing.

I made this salad for Easter, and it was perfect with ham and scalloped potatoes.  Then, I used the leftover dressing to make more carrot salad for work lunches the next few days.  I’m pretty sure I ate like, 8 servings of vegetables a day that week.  I hope this obsession lasts and eventually upgrades to a spinach obsession.

For this salad, you can peel the carrots into long, pretty ribbons like I did.  Texturally, it’s my favorite, but peeling carrot ribbons takes a long time, and you end up with weird little carrot pieces once you can’t peel anymore.  In this case, I just turn them into carrot sticks and snack on them alone.  When I was being lazy with it, I just used grated carrots which is way faster and can be done with a food processor.  Either way, the real star here is the shallot dressing.  It’s slightly-spicy and creamy from the yogurt.  I would dip anything into it.  If you don’t like carrots, at least make the dressing and put it on some kale or something.

Also!  This salad can be made a day in ahead, but put the pistachios on right before serving or they will lose their crunch.  Ok?  Ok!

Carrot Salad with Feta, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing


Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing
Serves 8-12

Ingredients for the Salad

2 lbs. carrots, washed, trimmed, and peeled
4 oz. queso fresco, or feta, crumbled
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted
2 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped

Ingredients for Dressing

1 small shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long ribbons.  Alternatively, you can shred them in a food processor.  Cover carrots with a wet paper towel to keep fresh.

To make the dressing, add shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  Drizzle in olive oil until emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare salad, add the queso fresco, pistachios, and parsley.  Toss with the shallot dressing, to taste.  Start with half the dressing and add more as needed.  Serve immediately.  To make the recipe ahead, combine everything but the pistachios.  Add the pistachios right before serving.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Sleep Apnea by Beach Fossils

Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Vanilla + Cardamom Scones with Strawberry Curd

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Yesterday, we had a rare March day with wonderful weather, and it was also the first day in three weeks that I haven’t felt like utter garbage.  I am currently in the midst of the longest sinus infection of my life, but even so, it could not ruin my spirits prompted by warm weather.  And by warm, I mean 45* F.  But, still… the sun was out for a change!  I had planned on spending the day cleaning my house after looking around and realizing that it looks like my closet threw up my entire shoe collection and I have a very impressive herd of dust bunnies breeding in my hallway.  But life is short, and sunny, windless Sundays are rare in March, so I forced myself to put on pants and get out of the house.  I got a coffee and took Bell to run around the dog park, and it wasn’t even muddy!  It was freezing, but every once in a while, the clouds would clear for a minute, and the sun would warm everything up.  The air smelled so good.  I always forget how lovely early spring is until it comes back around again.

Other than toughing it through the freezing-warm weather for as long as I possibly could, I spent the whole day cooking up some new recipes.  I love all the produce that’s out right now, and I’m taking advantage of it for as long as I can.  It inspired me to make some roast chicken with lots of potatoes and fresh herbs and then watch Julie & Julia, because what else would you watch when food is inspiring you?

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Another one of my spring favorites in the produce section is all of the fresh strawberries!  Strawberry shortcake has always been a very Easter-y dessert in my family.  We make our strawberry shortcake with biscuits instead of angel food cake, and I am convinced it’s the only way to even eat strawberry shortcake.  Also, you have to absolutely drench it in whipped cream, it’s a rule.

Like I was talking about last week, I’m trying to take advantage of my very short weekends by getting up earlier and brunching more.  Without some sort of goal, I have the tendency to sleep in and then lay in bed on my phone scrolling through embroidery instagrams for three hours.  SO, instead of scrolling, I’m sconing.  And eggs-benedicting.  And waffling.  If it’s brunchy, I want something to do with it.

But I digress.  This is about scones.  And strawberries.  And mixing it all together to create some sort of strawberry-shortcake inspired scone.  And also adding cardamom, because cardamom + strawberries = lalalala one of the best combos ever!!  Why didn’t I do this earlier, it’s such a good idea?  Cardamom is fairly expensive, but a tiny bit goes a long way, so you’ll definitely notice a little hint of it in these scones.  The strawberry curd is a little extra step, but if you don’t want to go that far, you could always just serve these with jam or chop up some fresh strawberries to throw on top!  These are perfect for Easter brunch, especially because they can be made a day in advance!  Aaaaand they are best served with lots of fresh coffee, obviously.

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Vanilla + Cardamom Scones with Strawberry Curd
Serves 8-16

Ingredients

3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut in 1/2 in. cubes
1 egg, whisked
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. whipping cream + more for brushing
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbs. milk or cream

Preheat oven to 375* F.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.  Toss very cold butter in the flour.  Using your hands, work quickly to break the butter into the flour until it is pea-sized.  You may have some larger, flatter pieces.

Make a well in the center.  Add the egg, buttermilk, cream, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Mix until just incorporated.  The dough will be sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface.  Press into a 1-inch disk.  Cut into 8 sections.  Alternatively, for smaller scones, you could press it into two 1/2 in. disks and cut each of those into 8 sections.  Space on a baking sheet 2 inches apart.  Brush each scone with cream.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the powdered sugar, 1 Tbs. of milk, and 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract until smooth.  Drizzle over scones.  Serve with curd (recipe below).

Strawberry Curd

1 lb. strawberries, finely chopped
Zest + juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbs. corn starch + 2 Tbs. water whisked
6 Tbs. butter

Combine strawberries, zest, lemon juice, sugar, and eggs in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until bubbling.  Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until mixture thickens.

Remove from heat.  Whisk in the butter.  Cool curd and serve with scones + whipped cream.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Let it Happen by Tame Impala

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