Lemony iced rooibos

I hope that everyone is having a good week. It is hot, hot, hot in Utah this week. My survival strategy includes running as early as possible, and then hiding from the sun all day while drinking cold beverages.

This iced tea is one of my favorites. The recipe is inspired by the homemade lemonade at one of my favorite cafes in Windhoek, Namibia. The lemonade is mixed with rooibos tea, has just a hint of fizz, and is incredibly refreshing.

My recipe tastes more like rooibos than lemonade, but it is just as refreshing. I like to make a huge pitcher of rooibos and store it in the refrigerator for hot afternoons.

 You can dress this up with fresh herbs if you like. I’ve tried both basil and mint, and would recommend either. You should muddle the herbs with a little bit of sugar to better incorporate the flavor.


8 bags of rooibos tea

8 cups of water, heated until almost boiling

1 tablespoon honey, or to taste

4 tablespoons lemon juice

sparkling water or club soda

ice cubes


1. In a large pitcher, pour hot water over tea bags and stir in the honey. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator and chill overnight.

2. Fill eight pint sized glasses half way with chilled tea and add three ice cubes to each. Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice to each glass, and then pour sparkling water over the top to fill the glass.

3. Alternatively, make one glass as a time. The iced tea will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

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Weekend Inspiration

It’s going to be a hot, sunny weekend here, so I’m looking forward to lots of time outdoors.  Utah is unusually green after a wet spring, so we have fantastic scenery.


Last weekend we went camping at Bear Lake. Check it out:

   Have a great weekend!

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Smoky, spicy roasted sweet potatoes 

Roasted sweet potatoes are a dinner staple around here.

Often, we wrap them in foil and roast them whole, but sometimes I like to mix things up a bit.

These are tossed with olive oil and generously spiced. The smoky, hot flavor is addictive- watch out or you may eat the entire pan!

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt or smoked sea salt


1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, or line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, drizzle the sweet potatoes with olive oil and stir to coat. Dump in the spices and stir to coat evenly.

3. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly in the casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes, stirring half way through.

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Best Pizza Crust

Have you been looking for the secret to the amazing pizza crust you enjoyed in Italy? 00 flour!

Unlike American all-purpose flour, 00 flour is a very finely ground, low protein flour that creates a strong, chewy crust. This means that your crust will bubble beautifully in the oven, and will be strong enough support toppings when you pick it up.

The other secret to a great pizza crust is a very hot oven with a preheated stone. These pizzas will cook in 5 to 10 minutes if you crank the heat up to 500 degrees. Remember not to pile on too many toppings, or you may have trouble transferring the pizzas onto the hot stone.

We like to experiment with toppings. Last week, we made three pizza varieties. The first was tomato sauce with a slightly pungent goat cheese, sicilian olives, and some fancy, spicy salami from the Italian grocery store. The second was a home-made arugula pine nut pesto with mini sweet peppers and chevre, and the third (and our favorite) was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, topped with figs, carmelized onions and burrata (heaven in a ball of cheese), and finished with fleur de sel. We like to sprinkle fresh  basil on all of our pizzas as well.

Recipe: For the dough, follow this recipe from Jaime Oliver. You may need to add extra water if you live in a very dry climate. When the dough is finished rising, divide into eight balls.


1. Prepare your toppings in advace. Place your pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

2. Prepare pizzas one at a time. Gently stretch the crust do your desired thinness. I like my crust pretty thin, so we aimed for 10 inch diameter pizzas.

3. Place the stretched crust on a cookie sheet and add your toppings. Using a large pizza peel, gently transfer your pizza onto the preheated stone. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted, crust has bubbled and is slightly browned. Watch your first pizza carefully to make sure you don’t burn it!

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Weekend Inspiration

Happy Saturday! I can’t believe that another week has come and gone…it is almost half way through June!

I had a busy week full of work and hot, sunny runs. I moved my long run to Friday this week because we are spending the weekend camping at beautiful Bear Lake on the UT/ID border.

Highlights this week were walks and snuggles with the puppy (he is getting so big), an awesome speed workout on Wednesday, and some AMAZING homemade pizza with my husband (recipe next week).  

I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing weekend.


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Plum Thyme Pie with Rye-Butter Crust

This must be dessert week…

Last weekend was a busy one for me, and it included lots of opportunities to bake. I made this pie for a bbq on Sunday, and it was fantastic!

Last summer I made these blueberry basil hand pies, and the unique herbal fruit flavor hooked me. This plum pie has a similarly exciting flavor palate. The thyme is subtle but wonderful, and the sweet filling perfectly complements the buttery rye crust.

I have never had plum pie, so this was pretty exciting. The all-butter crust is a little tricky to work with, but completely worth the effort. The filling couldn’t be any easier.

I followed this recipe for the crust, but substituted 1/2 cup of dark rye flour for all-purpose flour. It’s pretty dry in Utah, so I had to add extra ice water as well. This crust is truly amazing- flaky and buttery with just a hint of rye flavor.

I used this recipe for the filling, but reduced the sugar by half. You won’t miss it!

I hope that you like this pie as much as I did.

Do you have a favorite summer pie recipe?

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Olive Oil-Cacao Nib Gelato Sandwiches with Chocolate Rye Cookies

Rich, creamy, delicately flavored ice cream  sandwiched between chewy, chocolate-y cookies might just be the best thing that ever happened to dessert.

In my not-so-humble opinion, home-made ice cream is the ultimate summer indulgence. There is something special about ultra creamy, perfectly soft ice cream, and the addition of olive oil really takes it over the top.

Olive oil gelato sounds like a weird combination (which is exactly why I wanted to try it), but it was actually phenomenal. The olive oil adds a light, almost citrus-y flavor…very fresh and summery.

The cookies have an almost meringue-like texture. They are incredibly light and chewy, and were perfect for ice cream sandwiches.

I started with this recipe for inspiration. I made the cookies as the recipe stipulated, but reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup and added a combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips (1.5 cups). I made tablespoon-sized cookies, and the recipe yielded 26 cookies.

For the gelato, I modified my go-to ice cream recipe (below).

The Food52 recipe makes 6 ice cream sandwiches, but this recipe should make at least 12, depending on how much ice cream you use in each sandwich.

To assemble, top a cookie with a generous scoop of ice cream and then top with another cookie. Enjoy right away!

Olive Oil Cacao Nib Gelato


6 egg yolks

3 cups half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup raw cacao nibs


1. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the half and half until hot to the touch. Slowly pour into the egg yolk mixture, stirring all the while.

2. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until very thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure not to let the mixture boil.

3. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into a clean bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and cool completely in the refrigerator, preferably over night.

4. Pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to machine’s instructions, adding the olive oil half way through freezing. Add the cacao nibs 2 minutes before freezing is complete.

5. Enjoy right away for the best texture, or store in the freezer and remove 20 minutes prior to serving.

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