Cacao-Date Balls

January 2, 2019

I spent the majority of 2018 pregnant. It was a pretty easy pregnancy and loved being pregnant. I had your typical pregnancy symptoms, including the most insane cravings for sweets. There’s a misconception about pregnancy that you can just eat whatever you want and double the amount because you’re growing a baby. That can’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s a time when you should really take care of your body since everything you put in your body impacts your baby. I didn’t go on a crazy strict diet and definitely had the occasional raw seafood and glass of wine. But when it came to sweet treats, I binged. These date balls basically saved me from drowning my pregnant self in ice cream. They are perfectly sweet with no added sugar and totally hit the spot. They’re so good I continued to make batches of them post-pregnancy. So if your New Year resolutions include cutting down or cutting out sugar, I would make these ASAP!

Cacao-Date Balls

These cacao-date balls are indulgent and rich but without any added sugar.



  1. Process the almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the oats, dates, coconut oil and cacao powder and process until the there are small flecks of nuts and oats and you have a consistent texture.
  2. Roll a heaping tablespoon into the palm of your hand into a ball. Depending on the kind of dates you use you may need more moisture. If the ball does not hold together, put the mixture back and add a tiny splash of water or a little bit more coconut oil. If it is too wet add a little more cacao powder.
  3. Toss the balls into the cacao powder to coat and tap the excess powder off. Store in the refrigerator.

(images by HonestlyYUM)

Mandarin Shiso Cocktail

December 19, 2018

Every year I make plans to host an epic holiday gathering; a chance to entertain friends and family, and indulge in all the exciting new recipes I’ve created throughout the year. And yet, inevitably every year my plans fall through. It’s hard not to get overwhelmed by the holiday rush, am I right? The days get short, and the to-do list gets looong. But this is the year I get my priorities straight. This is the year I slow down and enjoy the moment. THIS is the year I celebrate! Well, it just so happens that nothing brings my friends together during the holidays quite like one of my seasonal cocktail recipes – especially if it involves Absolut Vodka!

Mandarin Shiso Cocktail by HonestlyYUM

I’ve been wanting to make a mandarin cocktail for ages. The bright, tart flavor from fresh mandarin juice is much more conducive to cocktail mixing than typical orange juice in my opinion. You need two ounces of juice for this cocktail, which is about the yield from one large ripe mandarin. If you’re mixing up a batch of these cocktails for a holiday gathering, do yourself a favor and squeeze those mandarins. Don’t give in to store bought OJ. Quality over quantity . . .

Mandarin Shiso Cocktail by HonestlyYUM

Speaking of quality, this spiced shiso syrup blew my socks off. The hint of cinnamon and star anise brings out the natural spice notes in the shiso. I used the method of blending the whole herb into the simple syrup, and the result is a stunningly vibrant green.

Mandarin Shiso Cocktail by HonestlyYUM

All in all, this cocktail does require a bit of handiwork, but like I mentioned, ’tis the season. A squeeze of fresh citrus, a homemade syrup, a bottle of Absolut Vodka . . . it’s time to celebrate!

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Gift Guide 2018: The Bartender

December 14, 2018

Attention cocktail lovers and home bar enthusiasts: it’s that time again . . . the 2018 Bartender Gift Guide is LIVE (also known as Todd’s personal wish list). This is the 6th time that I’ve put this list together, and each year I feel it just keeps getting bigger and better! It’s was definitely hard to squeeze all my favorite cocktail-related finds of the year into one little collage. I hope you take the time to dig through, maybe share it with some friends. There really are some treasures in here. In the meantime, I have some shopping to do . . . happy drinking!! 

  1. Drinking Distilled: A User’s Manual, by Jeffrey Morgenthaler $14 – Anything by Jeffrey Morgenthaler is required reading in my book.
  2. Lightsaber™ Ice Tray $16 – Use the Force for those tall skinny glasses.
  3. Trophy Jigger $20 – This sleek, gunmetal coated jigger would be a sexy addition to any home bar.
  4. Resist & Persist Glasses $44 – It’s hard to escape politics these days. Might as well enjoy some whiskey while you’re at it.
  5. Hauck™ Julep Strainer $30 – Based on an 1890’s design, I absolutely love the way the angled handle hangs snuggly over the edge mixing glass.
  6. Kannoko Barley Shochu $27 – My new favorite shochu! So delicate, so flavorful, and even delicious in a cocktail.
  7. Matcha Whisk $25 – This battery-powered matcha whisk will save you hours of whisking. Love the green color too!
  8. Profile Bottle Opener $60 – This sleek, elegant bottle opener would be a lovely fit in on any kitchen counter.
  9. uKeg Stainless Growler, 64 oz $149 – This little growler is practically a portable keg! Keep your beer cold and keep it fresh for weeks.
  10. Death Star™ Glasses $40 – Honestly, how cool are these? Stair down the Death Star with every sip of your beverage.
  11. Viski Pacific Bamboo Gold Plated Highball Glasses $35 – These gold-plated stainless steal highballs will keep your bar looking hot and your drinks sipping cold.
  12. Acrylic Nick and Nora Glasses (6-pack) $34 – Hard to believe, but these Nick and Nora glasses are acrylic! No more need to worry about shattering those delicate martini glasses at the next backyard gathering.
  13. Morgenthaler Triomphe Atomizer $15 – If you have to get one atomizer for your bar, this is the one. 
  14. Drinking Buddy Charms and Topper Set $10 – The cutest little wine charms + bottle topper. 
  15. Punch Bowl $40 – Everyone needs a punch bowl. You might as well grab one from the David Wondrich collection – Mr. Punch himself.
  16. Del Maguey Copitas (set of 6) $14 – If you’re a regular mezcal drinker, you owe it to yourself to grab a set of copitas . . . now’s the time.
  17. West+Wilder Wine (3-pack of white & rosé) $35 – As they say on their website, “A great bottle of wine that happens to come in cans.”
  18. Gaz Regan Negroni Finger Stirrer $27 – Someone’s bound to put their finger in your negroni – might as well make it proper!
  19. Canyon Acacia Ice Bucket $80 – I’m always on the lookout for handsome ice buckets, as they tend to be left out on display. This Acacia wood ice bucket caught my eye immediately!
  20. The Capper $15 – A bottle opener AND bottle re-capper!! 
  21. Morgenthaler Champagne Sabre $67 – Celebrate the New Year in style with this dashing stainless-steal Champagne saber.
  22. White Pineapple Cocktail Shaker $99 – Almost too pretty to use, this white pineapple shaker is just as much of a show piece as it is a cocktail shaker.
  23. Buswell® Reusable Straw Pack $13 – For those of you that host big parties, this reusable straw pack is a steal! 200 straws that can each be washed up to 200 times each in the dishwasher. Gone are the days of cheap, throw-away plastic straws.  
  24. Mint Julep Cocktail Pin $12 – Pretty much the coolest pin I’ve ever seen, and a must for Derby Day!
  25. Negroni Apron $80 – From the makers of our favorite aprons come this Negroni-themed, herringbone denim design.
  26. Lindley-Pick™ Hawthorne Strainer $33 – This vintage-inspired silver-plated strainer is one of the most intricate designs I’ve seen in a Hawthorne strainer. 

Shochu Hot Toddy + Umami Mart Giveaway!!

December 12, 2018

I beg you, stop what you’re doing and make this cocktail!! Well, I suppose you might need to head out for a few ingredients first, namely sansho powder, Calvados, and likely some shochu. All the more reason to enter today’s giveaway!! After all, it wouldn’t be the holidays here at HonestlyYUM without an Umami Mart giveaway – it’s an annual tradition! If you’ve participated in the past, or if you’ve ever stopped by their shop, you know just how special Umami Mart is, and how lucky we are to have them here in our community. To enter to win this Shochu Set from Umami Mart simply follow the instructions at the bottom of the post, or head straight on over to Instagram.

Shochu Hot Toddy + Umami Mart Giveaway today on HonestlyYUM!!

It wasn’t until Yoko and Kayoko graced me with my very own bottle of Kannoko Mugi Shochu that I started to understand the complexities of Japan’s popular distilled spirit. Frankly, it’s too much to go into at the moment (let’s be honest, you’re here for the giveaway :P). In short, shochu can be made from barley, rice, sweet potato, sugar, buckwheat, sesame . . . the list goes on! The method in which shochu is distilled, for instance the addition of koji, allows for a rich and distinct flavor to come across in the final product. Typically shochu is enjoyed either on its own, over ice, or mixed with hot water, often depending upon the type of shochu that is being consumed.

Shochu Hot Toddy + Umami Mart Giveaway today on HonestlyYUM!!

But as you can see here we’re venturing into the world of shochu cocktails. Quite the adventure! I have to say I think I stumbled upon a winner. The Kannoko shochu pictured here is often simply served neat or on the rocks, given it’s subtle, and delicate flavor. I should say I’d certainly recommend sipping this bad boy on its own, as it definitely gives me some whiskey vibes. However, I’ve used this Tsukushi Kuro barley shochu as well, and it works swimmingly. If you’re stuck in the cold, or perhaps a bit under the weather this holiday season and in need of a nightcap, this warm cocktail will do you just fine.

Shochu Hot Toddy + Umami Mart Giveaway today on HonestlyYUM!! Read More

Gift Guide 2018: Ceramics

December 11, 2018

It wasn’t until I started food blogging that I really started to appreciate and love ceramics. Of course, pretty dish ware are a must for purposes of food styling and food photography, but even when it comes to my day-to-day life, eating from a beautiful ceramic dish makes eating that much more enjoyable. Some of my most prized possessions in my home are ceramics. Handmade ceramics tend to be expensive and I never want to spend that kind of money on myself so they make the perfect holiday gift in my opinion! I think you’ll find something for everyone in the eclectic mix of ceramics below!


  1. Crackle Olive Dish $26 – The matte crackle glaze is one of my favorite finishes and has such a subtle beauty to it!
  2. Hai-Yu Sake Flask $55 – The unfinished look of this sake flask epitomizes wabi-sabi.
  3. Uno + Ichi Unibrow Ninas $44 – How cute are these Frida-inspired cups?!
  4. Ceramic Winter Forest $25 and up – These ceramic trees would be an elegant addition to anyone’s holiday home decor.
  5. Ceramic French Press $125 – I don’t know what I love more, the millennial pink hue or the copper handle.
  6. Katakkuchi Suribachi and Surikogi Set $46 – This mortar and pestle is usually used to grind sesame seeds in Japanese cooking but I use it for grinding spices or nuts.
  7. Salt Cellar $30 – A beautiful addition to any kitchen counter and will be used daily!
  8. Tagine – These Moroccan vessels are great for stewing and braising.
  9. In The Mist Plate $100 – This beautiful plate hand-painted with driftwood and animal hair is a work of art.
  10. Headplanter $35-45 – I came across these planters when I was staying at the Solaz in Los Cabos last month and tracked down the maker in Mexico because I loved so much. Luckily they ship to the US!
  11. Coffee Dripper $68 – I just love the pattern on this pour over!
  12. Dessert Bowl $25 – I have a bunch of these dessert bowls but use them for almost everything– they’re the perfect size. My favorite color is the Redwood.
  13. Ceramic Pipes $60 – Forget those glass pipes– these ceramic pipes are so fun and pretty!
  14. Pantry Bowl $32-$325 – I’ve been eye-ing these gorgeous mixing bowls for a while now (hint, hint).
  15. Nest Bowl $206 – The prettiest shade of pink . . .
  16. Moon Simple-T $30 – Luvhaus’s moon glaze is quite possibly the most beautiful ceramic finish I’ve seen– I love all of their moon glaze pieces!
  17. Carafe $30 – I love the dark color of this carafe, which can be used for drinks but also as a vase.
  18. Container $24 – Store anything from coffee, tea to spices in this hand painted container.


Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

December 6, 2018

December is the month to indulge but with busy holiday schedules I’m all about making things as easy as possible. Simple and decadent desserts are what I like to make through the holiday season and today we’ve partnered with Pyrex to create an easy and rich chocolate croissant bread pudding that is perfect for the holiday entertaining season. Pyrex mixing bowls and measuring cups are a staple in my kitchen and I use them all the time. I love them for baking and cooking since they’re durable and can go from the microwave to the oven to the dishwasher. I made this pudding in the Pyrex Easy Grab Baking Dish, which makes transporting this dessert very convenient.

The bittersweet chocolate is spiced with cinnamon and vanilla and best topped with a scoop of tangy creme fraiche or whipped cream. The absolute best part of this dessert is the buttery and super-crunchy chocolate tops of the croissants after the pudding is baked. I may or may not have eaten all the crunchy tops off this bread pudding. The crunchiness serves as a really great textural contrast to the soft center pudding– it is irresistible!

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Decadent but simple croissant chocolate bread pudding is spiced with cinnamon and vanilla. The absolute best part of this dessert is the buttery and super-crunchy chocolate tops of the croissants after the pudding is baked!



  1. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together in a large Pyrex mixing bowl. In a saucepan, whisk the cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, milk and cream over medium heat until the cocoa is fully incorporated and the milk just starts to bubble around the edges. Add the bittersweet chocolate, sugar and vanilla and whisk until melted.
  2. Slowly add a bit of the hot chocolate-milk mixture to the eggs while whisking the eggs to prevent them from turning into scrambled eggs. As the chocolate gets incorporated into the eggs add more of the chocolate-milk mixture until fully incorporated.
  3. Butter a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex baking dish. Slice the croissants in half lengthwise and place the bottom half of the croissants in the dish. Cut the croissants as necessary to cover the entire bottom of the dish with the bottoms of the croissants. Pour half of the chocolate custard mixture over the croissants. Place the tops of the croissants and pour the rest of the chocolate custard mixture over the tops of the croissants. Let the dish rest for at least 30 minutes to soak in the chocolate, occasionally pressing the croissants down with a spatula so it soaks in more chocolate.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the pudding is just set in the center. Test this by gently shaking the baking dish and the center should just barely jiggle.
  5. Allow the pudding to cool and dust the tops with powdered sugar through sieve. Serve a large scoop of the pudding with a small dollop of tangy creme fraiche or fresh whipped cream.

(Images by HonestlyYUM. This post was created in collaboration with Pyrex.)

Chicories w/ Date Vinaigrette and Crispy Chicken Skin

November 28, 2018

I hope everyone had a delicious Thanksgiving holiday. Personally, I’m still feeling the ill effects of a plate piled so high it took me four separate attempts to finish. I’m finding gravy in places that gravy should never be found. Needless to say, it’ll be all salads for me these next few weeks, that is, until my mother-in-law prepares her famous roast beef + Yorkshire pudding for Christmas (gimme gimme). But not to worry, as it gives me the perfect opportunity to share one of my favorite recipes from the new Rich Table cookbook. Yes, that Rich Table; Sarah and Evan Rich’s Michelin-starred SF gem.

Chicories w/ Date Vinaigrette and Crispy Chicken Skin | Recipe from the Rich Table cookbook | Photography by HonestlyYUM

This chicory salad with baby kale and date vinaigrette had me swooning the moment I saw it in the book. I’ve made it about a dozen times since, and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon. Oh, and did I mention it’s topped with crispy, crumbly, salty chicken skin bits?!! Don’t judge me 😛 I highly advise you do yourself a favor, grab some bitter greens and give this salad a go. Especially now that we’re all taking a break from romaine at the moment.

Chicories w/ Date Vinaigrette and Crispy Chicken Skin | Recipe from the Rich Table cookbook | Photography by HonestlyYUM Read More

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2018

A always, thank you for eating, drinking, and cooking along with us this year.  There would be no HonestlyYUM without YOU . . . honestly! 😛 Happy Thanksgiving!!

(Photography by HonestlyYUM)