In Category: ‘In The Kitchen’


Chris & I have always joked that our kitchen isn’t technically finished.  There was one final touch that we just never got around to finishing up, and therefore, the kitchen wasn’t done.  As the years went by, it didn’t really bother me, and no one really noticed.  And Chris decided that we couldn’t move on to another project, because technically, we were still working on the kitchen.  It’s saved him a lot of work over the years icon smile A Little Kitchen Update

But now it’s kind of done done done!

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Can you spot the big difference?

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It’s kind of silly, because I barely notice myself.

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We finished the cabinets with crown molding!

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I guess this is why it’s so crazy, I didn’t mind the simple wood straight up to the ceiling.  I really didn’t!   It felt a bit more modern and I kind of liked it.  But, because it was never the plan to leave it that way, it wasn’t right in some places.  There were gaps at the ceiling where it wasn’t quite straight and it didn’t finish into the walls like it should, because it was never meant to be seen.  So, we had to finish it and I can’t believe it took us so long to do it.  But it’s done and it’s gorgeous icon smile A Little Kitchen Update

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We’ve also made these two additions for the little one.  The play kitchen is an IKEA hack and just makes me so happy.  McCarty mostly likes taking the sink out, putting things in the cabinets that don’t really belong there and turning on the stove lights.   The table was a Craig’s List find and the chairs are Amazon.  There’s also a super pretty antique rug that I’m obsessed with.  The reds really pull out the colors in the hardwood floor and it brings so much more life to that hole between the cabinets.

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But the most exciting part of this little project was that we FINALLY had to figure out what color the cabinets are.  It is, hands down, the question I get asked more than anything else.  And until now, I just didn’t know.  We’d had the paint custom mixed and the cans were buried far back in the garage.  But, we were able to have the cabinets color matched at Mark’s Paint and it’s as close to perfect as you can get!  So, here’s the formula for all you inquiring minds!

Benjamin Moore 793 – 2x (Gallon)

Y3 0X 28.0000

S1 1X 6.0000

R3 0X 2.0000



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I’m all about food/drinks that look like you worked pretty hard, but in actuality you put two things in a glass.   Like when you walk in to the dining room and people gasp at how fancy you are, but really, your toddler could put this together.  Enter Affogatos.  Maybe it’s the name?  Or that they’re Italian?  But you guys, it’s ice cream and espresso.  And then you’re done.  Throw it in a fancy glass, pop a cookie on top and the end.

I typically drink my coffee black, but is this what cream & sugar coffee people taste every day!?  It tastes like heaven.   I might convert.

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1 scoop Vanilla Ice Cream per cup

1/2 shot of espresso per cup


Put 1 scoop of ice cream in a glass.  Pour over 1/2 shot of espresso.  (

Extra Note: You could put nothing on top, or whatever you want.  I added some warm chocolate chip cookies and, drenched in espresso, they were even better!  You could literally put anything on top of this and it would be fantastic.

Extra Note, 2: I prepped these in the kitchen and brought them out at my last lunch, but you could pour the espresso over the ice cream at the table for a nice little entertaining flourish.

August 4, 2016 Frosé All Day


One of my favorite things about rosé is that it’s easy.  Uncork, pour, done.  But if you spend a little bit of time with it, going one step further and freezing/blending it is totally worth it.  Frozen rosé is the drink of the summer, I’m telling you!  It’s everywhere I look and I’m real excited about it.  So so so good guys!


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The first recipe I saw was on Bon Appétit, you can find it right here.  It’s pretty simple and really delicious!   I’ve been using this La Granja rosé from Trader Joes.  It’s heavier and darker than I would ever choose for drinking, but works perfectly for frosé.  Since you lose a lot of the flavor when you freeze it, you want to start with something that has a lot of flavor.  Also, it’s like $5.00.

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Bon Appétit’s Frosé


1 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot rosé)

½ cup sugar

8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered

 ounces fresh lemon juice


Pour rosé into a 13×9″ pan and freeze until almost solid (it won’t completely solidify due to the alcohol), at least 6 hours.

Meanwhile, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Scrape rosé into a blender. Add lemon juice, 3½ ounces strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth. Transfer blender jar to freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 25–35 minutes.

Blend again until frosé is slushy. Divide among glasses.

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So, after making the rosé recipe about a dozen times, I thought I’d start to play around with it a bit.  I’ve got two now that I’m LOVING!  This first one is a bit boozier and a bit richer.  It’s real real good.

Boozy Orange Frosé


750 ml bottle of rosé

2 oz strawberry simple syrup

3 oz Chambord

2 oz Orange Juice


Follow the same directions as above, just using these new ingredients!

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You know how Trader Joe’s is ALL ABOUT THE MANGO this season?  Like, it’s in every single one of their products?  I’ve been inspired to pick up fresh mangoes whenever I’m there and I just happened to spot one when I was making a batch of frosé. It just felt right.  I threw in a whole mango and it was perfection.

Mint & Mango Frosé


750 ml bottle of rosé

1 mango (peeled and de-seeded)

2 oz mint simple syrup (sugar, water, 5 springs of mint)


To make the mint simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is melted.  Add five sprigs of mint and cool. (same as the strawberry simple syrup above, just swap the strawberries for mint.)

For the frosé, follow the directions above as well!

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So, it’s almost the weekend.  It’s going to be summer time hot.  These three new friends will keep you in excellent company!  Enjoy!

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July 14, 2016 Black Garlic


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A year after McCarty began demanding all of my attention, I’m starting to find some time to get back to the things I love.  The magazine pile is out.of.control.  I have piles of them everywhere, subscriptions have long expired and am now getting around to reading that great issue of Sunset Magazine from April 2015.  It’s crazy talk, but I’m so glad to be getting back in the swing of things!

So, I wish I could tell you which magazine it was that had a lovely little article on Black Garlic.  I’d guess Bon Appetit probably.  Black Garlic is regular old garlic, fermented and aged until it’s black, sticky and almost paste-like.  They sell it at Whole Foods in these little bags, I think it was $5.99.  It’s smokey and a little sweet and has so much flavor!   A beautiful amazing bang of flavor!  I can’t even imagine all of the things that will be so much better with Black Garlic.  Pizza. Pasta. More crostinis.  (I decided to stick to meat, fruits & veggies today… it’s been like 22 hours without a carb and I’m already craving it so hard.)

So, I came home, slathered it on a bit of french bread and died.  Then I put together one of my favorite little salads (which is oh so good on it’s own!) and topped some toasted french bread and the black garlic.  Done.  Done.  Done.  Try it guys!

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Black Garlic & Summer Salad Crostini



Black Garlic (found at Whole Foods)

French Bread

2 Peaches

1 basket of Cherry Tomatoes

1 container of Mozzarella

Olive Oil




Cut the french bread into slices and toast (I use the broiler function on my oven for about 5 minutes.)  Spread the french bread with black garlic (about one clove per crostini, but more if you really like!)

Cut the peaches, tomatoes and mozzarella into tiny pieces and mix with a few tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Sprinkle the salad onto the crostini.  Enjoy!



I’ve been doing a lot of entertaining lately, and I really enjoy it!   But I want it to be fairly easy, and I want to be able to prep it all ahead of time so that I can spend time with my friends as opposed to working while everyone else is relaxing.  It’s more fun to sip rosé with them than cooking!

That Ina Garten again… she makes it so easy for me.  I pulled two recipes from her How Easy Is That? book, which has a whole separate chapter for lunch options. They’re lighter, simpler and absolutely perfect for a quick lunch.  I sliced up some bread, sprinkled on salt, pepper & olive oil and then broiled it for a few minutes.  Chicken salad on a bit of arugala and served it.  Easy, delicious and because I was able to prep it all in advance, I could enjoy the time with friends.

Healthy Lunch 1 Easy Casual Lunch: Mustard Chicken Salad & French String Bean Salad


This chicken salad was so good, and I was able to make it the day before!   I’d never thought to roast the chicken, but it was so good and so easy… just takes a little bit more time.

Mustard Chicken Salad


2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (3 pounds)

Good Olive Oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 cups small broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Discard the skin and bones and dice the chicken in large bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook fro 1 minute only, until crisp-tender.  Drain, and place the broccoli into the bowl of ice water until cool.  This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color. Drain well.

For the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.  Add enough dressing to the warm chicken to moisten well.  Add the tarragon, broccoli and cherry tomatoes and mix gently to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.


French String Bean Salad


Kosher Salt

1 1/2 pounds French string beans (haricots verts), both ends trimmed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill


Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt.  Add the beans and cook for 1 minute only.  Time it carefully!  You want the beans to be crisp-tender.  Drain the beans and put them in the ice water until completely cool.  Drain the beans again, dry on paper towels, and place them in a large bowl.

IN a small bowl, whack together the mustard, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper.  While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.

Pour enough dressing over the beans to moisten them well, reserving the rest for another use.  Toss with the dill, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.  (If the beans aren’t served immediately, refrigerate them and add a little extra vinaigrette and a sprinkle of salt before serving.)


I love cookbooks.  I love the weight of them and I love the pictures.  I love flipping through them and I love the way they look on a shelf.  This pretty one, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi was a birthday gift and I couldn’t be more obsessed with it.  I love Dorie Greenspans books… The ease, the writing, the pictures.  They’re all great and this one is going tobet a whole lot of good use!
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I needed a little dessert for a lunch I hosted last week, and I was so thrilled to pull out this book.  I started at the beginning, and pulled the very first recipe, a weekend cake.  I love this concept… a simple but versatile cake that should last you through the weekend.   You can eat it for dessert or with your morning coffee.  It’s even better on the second day actually.  And I imagine if it makes it to day 3, it would be really delicious toasted, with a little butter.  Ahh, those French, they get me.

I served it with a little marscarpone & strawberries, because that’s what I happened to have in my fridge.  But plain, it was so good.  Or with vanilla ice cream.  Or with creme fraîche and any berry.  I don’t think you can go wrong at all!

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Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake


1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 moist, fragrant vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped or 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons dark rum or amaretto


Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Pull out an insulated baking sheet or stack two regular baking sheets one on top of the other.  Line the (top) sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Butter a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess (or use baker’s spray).  I suggest preparing the pan this way even if it’s nonstick.  Set the loaf pan on the baking sheet(s).

Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally.  Allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a deep honey brown, 5 to 10 minutes.  Don’t’ turn your back on the pan – the difference between brown and black is measured in seconds.  And don’t worry about the little brown flecks in the bottom of the pan – they’re a delicious part of the process.  Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar and the vanilla-bean pulp in a large bowl and rub them together until the sugar is moist and fragrant.  If you’re using vanilla extract, you’ll add it in later.  Whisk the eggs into the sugar, beating for about 1 minute, or until they’re throughly incorporated.  Still working with the whisk, beat in the extract, if you’re using it, then the heavy cream, followed by the rum.   Continuing to whisk or switching to a large flexible spatula, gently and gradually store in the dry ingredients until you have a thick, smooth batter.  Fold in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Take a look at the cake after it’s been in the oven for about 30 minutes; if it looks as if it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent.  When the cake tests done, transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then unmold it and let cool right side up.



We had a party a few months ago, and someone brought muffins for us.  Not for the party, but for Chris & I to eat the next day.  Eating those muffins with coffee in bed, the day after a huge party… it was heaven!  It was such a morning treat, that I didn’t have to think about.  We reminisced about how amazing the party was, how lovely our friends are… it was just a really beautiful morning spent with my love.   So now, everyone who throws a party gets muffins.   And I get to eat more muffins.  And if there are a lot of muffins, I freeze them so I get to eat A LOT of muffins!  It’s a win-win-win for everyone all around!

I’ve been trying my hand at a few different kinds, but these from Ina Garten are pretty incredible.  Whenever I need a delicious easy recipe, I turn to Ina.  How Easy Is That? is my go-to book for super easy entertaining!  I made a few changes that were pretty delicious (mostly because I dislike coconut and I’m also not a fan of nuts INSIDE the muffins.)  But I added some sugar coated walnuts on top of half of the muffins… nuts in sweets, it’s a polarizing thing y’all!  Make these, take them to people, freeze them for later… Everyone will love you icon smile The Most Delicious Hostess Gifts
Banana Muffins Hostess Gifts 2 The Most Delicious Hostess Gifts



Banana Crunch Muffins (adapted from Ina Gartens’ recipe)


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted & cooled

2 extra-large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)

1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)

1 cup granola

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

brown sugar & vanilla extract (for sprinkling)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 18 large muffins cups with paper liners.  Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the melted butter and blend.  Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture.  Scrape the bowl and blend well.  Don’t over mix.

Fold the diced bananas and granola into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top.

In a small bowl, mix the chopped walnuts with as much brown sugar as you please.  Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla, enough to make sure that the brown sugar sticks to the walnuts.  Sprinkle the coated nuts onto the muffins.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly, remove from the pan and serve.


February 23, 2015 Coconut Whipped Cream


I’m really in to sweets these days.  I would blame it on the pregnancy, but I kind of always want to eat a cake.  I keep it in check, because I don’t want to gain 75 pounds, but I’m definitely indulging a bit more regularly.

And then my friend Amanda went to vegan culinary school.  And she made this coconut whipped cream for me.  And it’s ridiculous.  So amazing, and I don’t even like coconut!   You guys, it’s just whipped coconut milk, a little bit of sugar and a hint of vanilla.  That’s it.  So I feel like I can eat it by the spoonful (and sometimes I do).

It’s super easy to make, but be forewarned, the can of milk will need to be refrigerated for about 24 hours, so you do need some time.  See, when it’s cold, the milk hardens and you can whip the crap out of it.  Apparently some brands don’t harden as well as others, but this Golden Star from Ralphs has worked perfectly for me, so I’ll stick with it.

I’ve been spooning it on top of fresh fruit, but you could put it all over anything and I’m sure it would be super tasty.  Seriously, try it.
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Coconut Whipped Cream


1 can coconut milk

2 Tbs powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla


Refrigerate the can of milk for at at least 24 hours.  Scoop the hardened coconut milk into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, being careful to avoid any liquid milk (there may be some on the bottom of the can).   Whip for a few minutes, then add sugar and vanilla.  Continue to beat until fluffy, not too much longer.

Enjoy!   I’ve spooned it over fruit the last few times I’ve made it, and served with a wafer cookie.  So good!  If for some crazy reason you have leftovers, just be sure to refrigerate in an airtight container.

As for the extra liquid at the bottom of the can, Amanda suggested I freeze it in ice cubes and drop in to a glass of bourbon.  That sounds amazing and I will do that as soon as I can get back to straight bourbon.  Or, add to a morning smoothie!


February 20, 2015 The Kitchen


I’m not saying it was the worst kitchen in the world.  I’ve seen some kitchens that need to be ripped out before I would allow myself to spend the night in the house.  Chris wanted to buy one of those houses once.   But it was bad.  Tiles were popping up and the layout was terrible and the appliances were old.  But we spent over two years with it, learning the house and really figuring out what we wanted from a new kitchen.  We built it for entertaining and the hours spent agonizing over a drawing on a napkin as we drank wine were totally worth it.   It was important to us that we be able to entertain, but still be part of the party.  We wanted to be able to cook, but not be impeded by well-meaning guests who wanted to chat.  We wanted to be able to do it all, and that kind of kitchen design is a tough one.  But LOOK!  It worked!

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I spend a lot of time in here.  Very little of it is in a gown, full make-up and heels, sitting on the counter reading Julia Childs cookbooks.  I mean, some of it is, but very very little.

Kitchen 0002 The Kitchen

You guys, this backsplash.  Ohhh I fell in love with it, and hard.  Well, not this one.  I fell in love with one that was similar, but was more contrasting… darker lines against lighter lines.  And it was $100/sq ft.  And we needed a lot of it.  I spent months trying to convince Chris that we could do it!  That we could have it… I LOVED IT!  He’s saner than I am, so it was a hard no there.   So I found a place that would custom make it for me, for $42/sq ft.  He was going to budge, I could feel it!   And then, we were looking for marble slabs at Surfaces USA and I started to wander as Chris was chatting details.  And I stumble upon this.  We were able to get it for $9/sq. ft.  NINE DOLLARS!  I guess it’s still way pricier than a lot of tiles, but I was saving $91/sq ft people!   And four years later this continues to be one of my favorite parts of our kitchen.  Worth every single penny.

Kitchen 0003 The Kitchen

The countertops are carerra marble, and I love them.  The etch pretty badly, but that just makes me feel like they are really lived in.  Like wrinkles on a woman that you know has spent her life laughing… each one of those marks is from a great party with wonderful friends.  Chris doesn’t feel the same way and I’m not sure that I’ll ever convince him to do it in another house.  So maybe we just never move.

The pulls & knobs are from the now closed Mother of Pearl & Sons Trading in Studio City.  I’ve got to find a new hardware place… any recommendations?


Kitchen 0004 The Kitchen

These light fixtures were a splurge.  But I’d seen them in a magazine years and years before we started renovations and loved them.   I didn’t know who made them, but I was sure they were crazy talk expensive.  So I kept trying to find something similar, but never did.  Then I’m browsing through Circa Lighting and there they are!  It was early morning and I jumped on the bed, woke Chris up with my screaming and told them they were coming home with us!  I think he was too confused to argue.

Kitchen 0005 The Kitchen

The Bar Cart was a Craigslist find.  The guy had two of them and I hate that I didn’t buy them both.  I don’t need them both, but it is oh so pretty.

Kitchen 0006 The Kitchen

It’s now one of my favorite rooms in the house and we spend all of our time here.  Get togethers are more casual and our poor dining room gets very little love these days.  But crowding around the island with our people is so much nicer icon smile The Kitchen
Photos: Heather Kincaid

Florals: Floral Crush

Hair & Makeup: Moira Taylor

Dress: Morning Lavender 

February 18, 2015 Passion Fruit Curd

As much as I’d love to make an entire cake, I just don’t have enough passion fruits to do it yet (because I’m sure people are stealing things from me).  So, I make half recipes for other little bits of goodness that I can mix in to other things.  Passion fruit is a REALLY strong flavor, so this works in my favor!

Curd!  You can make small amounts and it goes pretty far.  And you can mix it in anything.  Today I mixed it with fruit and yogurt and it was delicious.  Or you could make a pound cake and slather it all over the place.  Or on vanilla ice cream.   I haven’t done that one yet, but I’m sure it will be incredible.  Do it and let me know!

I took the recipe from here, it was super delicious and incredibly easy.

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Passion Fruit Curd


2 eggs, plus 2 extra yolks

5 tablespoons fresh passionfruit pulp

1 oz unsalted butter cut into small dice

1/4 cup superfine sugar


Put all the ingredients into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir constantly until the mixture starts to thicken and take on the appearance of a thin custard.  Continue to cook, still stirring, until it thickens further, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat immediately so as not to overcook.  Ladle the curd into a clean jar or container, and leave to cool before covering and refrigerating.

Note – don’t let the water in the pot boil.  I did and I’m pretty sure I overcooked it a bit.  It’s fine, tastes great, but the texture is a little chunkier as opposed to smooth.

Mixed in with yogurt and some fresh fruit, it makes for a delicious snack!  Enjoy!