Category Archives: Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Spicy Spanish Rice with Lime Crema

March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patty’s Day friends. I’m off on an adventure today.  I’m headed to Sweden with my Mom. We are so excited. My Grandpa was Swedish and a few years ago we went a visited all his extended family. We are going back to see them all again and of course doing a little site seeing. I’m pretty anxious about leaving my family, but I’m also very excited to spend this time with my mom. I feel very selfish taking this trip. But I really feel like I need a break. I’ll be sharing lots on Instagram and IG stories. I’m really excited to soak up all that awesome Swedish design and style. I’m hoping to come back super inspired and a lot little stressed out.

Spicy Spanish Rice with Lime Crema

I thought I’d send you into the weekend with a yummy Spicy Spanish Rice and Lime Crema recipe. This easy recipe uses Natalie’s Carrot Tomato Celery Juice, but I know it’s not available were everyone lives. So, a good substitute is V8 juice. I love a good one pot recipe. And the Lime Crema might be one of the best things I’ve made in a while. I kind of want to drizzle it over EVERYTHING!

Get the full recipe HERE!

Spicy Spanish Rice with Lime Crema Spicy Spanish Rice with Lime Crema Spicy Spanish Rice with Lime Crema Spicy Spanish Rice with Lime Crema Spicy Spanish Rice with Lime Crema

Have a great weekend!

Food & Drink

Mango Ginger Mocktail

March 7, 2017

This mocktail is definitely influenced by my South Pacific childhood. I grew up with a huge mango tree in our yard. It had so many mangos, that we just couldn’t eat them all. And ginger – well I think it’s my favorite flavor in sweet or savory food.

Mango Ginger MocktailThis fun mocktail is dressed up with edible flowers floating in eat glass. Did you know that pansies were edible, well they are (most varieties). Just be sure to buy them from an organic grower, you don’t want to put a whole bunch of chemicals and pesticides into your pretty drinks.
Mango Ginger Mocktail

Perfect for a Spring Brunch or Easter Dinner, this recipe can be made in a large pitcher to serve a crowd. Go check out the recipe over on Natalie’s Orchid Juice Company’s site.

Mango Ginger MocktailMango Ginger Mocktail

Food & Drink

Whole 15 – Day 1

March 1, 2017

As you may no, this January I completed my 3rd Whole 30. On Monday I mentioned that I would be starting a Whole 15 on the 1st of March. So, here we are!  And I’m not sure if I’m mentally prepared, but I’m diving in. The thing with Whole 30 or any plan that involves you really thinking about what you are putting into your body, is that it takes time and effort. Meals have to be planned ahead and a lot of grocery shopping and cooking has to take place. There are very few shortcuts. So, to help you get started (if you want to join me), I’m sharing Day 1 of my Whole 15 and a whole bunch of great sources for good recipes.

Whole 15 - a 15 version of the popular Whole 30 Program

Day 1

Breakfast (as seen in the pictures)

  • Bullet Proof Coffee
  • Poached Eggs
  • Greens tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Roasted Beets



  • Baked Sweet Potato, rubbing in coconut oil and sea salt and then baked
  • Spinach, sautéed in garlic and ghee
  • Steak, grilled and thinly sliced


  • Apple and Almond Butter

Whole 15 - a 15 day version of the popular Whole 30 Program

I am headed on another trip March 17th, so this is a good way to combat some of the damage I may do while traveling. It’s just a great reset for my body after having a month of slowly slipping back into my bad habits.

Who wants to join me? I’m sharing lots of what I’m eat over on Instagram Stories.

Food & Drink

Lemon Old Fashioned Donuts

February 27, 2017

Let’s call this my last hurrah. And I’m telling you, these Lemon Old Fashioned Donuts were sooooo good. On March 1st, I’m going to take on a Whole 15. It’s really just a 15 days of eating the Whole 30 plan.

Lemon Old Fashioned Donuts

As you know, I finished a Whole 30 in January and I’ve been trying to eat healthy all February, but it’s easy to make a yummy treat and then want to enjoy it with the rest of the family. So, to give myself a little reset, I’m taking on a 15 days of clean eating. If you’d never tried to tackle a Whole 30, this might be a great place for you to start. I’ll be sharing my experience and recipes here and on Instagram stories. So, if you’d like to join me, I think it could be nice to have some moral support and accountability.

Lemon Old Fashioned DonutsLemon Old Fashioned Donuts

But, until Wednesday is here, let’s just talk about these yummy homemade donuts. Really, there is nothing better then a fresh donut. They are always best still warm and a little crunchy on the outside. Our lemon tree is still going strong, so we are making lemonade everyday and baking and cooking with them A LOT!

Lemon Old Fashioned Donuts

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying

With an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice , lemon zest, milk and vanilla well.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour salt and baking powder to remove any lumps. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix on low until the dough comes together. This will be a very wet, sticky dough. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on a well floured surface.

Lemon Old Fashioned Donuts

Place the cut donuts into oil that is heated to 190 C. I used a candy thermometer to help me keep the heat regulated. Fry the donuts about 2 minutes on each side, or just until they are a nice dark golden brown. Place the fried donuts on paper towel lined cooling racks. While the donuts are still warm, dip them in the lemon glaze and place on another cooling rack to drip. Garnish each donut with a little fresh lemon zest.  Lemon Old Fashioned Donuts      Lemon glaze

  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

With a whisk, mix until there are no lumps and the glaze is a nice smooth, thick consistency. Add more powdered sugar if the glaze is too thin. Lemon Old Fashioned DonutsLemon Old Fashioned Donuts

I hope your Monday is off to a great start! And here’s to eat well, even if there are a few treats along the way. (wink, wink)

Lemon Old Fashioned Homemade Donuts

Food & Drink

Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho

February 24, 2017

I’ve been trying really hard to eat healthy since the beginning of this year. I finished a Whole 30 and I’m trying really hard to continue healthy. But, with a trip to NYC, that involved a lot of carbs, and family visiting, I’ve struggled. Life is like that I think, ups and downs and a lot of playing catch up.

Right now (after finishing a bowl of captain crunch), I’m back to eating clean and healthy. And this Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho is far from boring. Food is so much more then just fuel for me, it has to taste good and be interesting. As the days get warmer, this easy cold soup will be a great lunch for me.

I photographed these as little individual appetizers. Now I need to host a party and serve this refreshing starter. Who wants to come?

Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho

A couple months ago I shared a post about how my job is so much more then just Oleander + Palm. And one of the things I do is create, style and photograph recipes. This is one of those recipes. I created this easy soup with Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co (it’s really the best juice you guys). This is a really fun part of my job. It stretches my creatively and I really have grown to love food photography.

You can get the recipe HERE! Oh and there are a lot of great drink recipes over there as well, be sure to spend a little time checking out some of the yummy cocktails and mocktails.

Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho

Have a great weekend friends. I’m excited to be home for a change. It sounds good to have a couple days to catch up around here.


Food & Drink / Travel

What to Eat in New York City – (Vacation like a Blogger)

February 17, 2017

The Best NYC Eats

You guys I LOVE New York City! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my husband and I got away last week for a few days and had the BEST time in NYC. And as any good blogger would, I shared lots of food and coffee pictures on instagram.

One of the most important parts of vacation is what I eat. I spend many hours each week shopping for and preparing meals for my family. So, when I’m exploring a new place, I want to eat interesting, delicious, new things (that I don’t have to cook). So, I’ve put together an Oleander + Palm What to eat in New York City guide. I’m sure there are a ton of “Best NYC Restaurant” lists and posts out there. But, when I searched, all that came up were either 1) way out of my budget or 2) just too predictable or touristy. So, my husband and I made it our J-O-B to find the yummiest, not-so-pricey, food in New York City. Now, we are not New York City experts (I’ve only been a total of 5 times) and have never lived there, but I think our list will definitely not disappoint you. Oh and I should mention that we walked or rode the subway everywhere, so these we are easy places to get to.

As Californians, Mexican food was definitely not on our radar (we’ve got the good stuff here). We were looking for fun eats that can’t be found in Bakersfield. We also are pretty thrifty and love to live big without spending a lot of coins. So, most of our meals and treats were easy on the wallet.

Vanessa’s Dumplings

We found this place by accident, but totally lucked out. And we both ate for under $11 total!!! That’s a huge win in NYC. You have to order the Honey Ginger Hot Tea, it has big chunks of spicy ginger in it. All of the dumplings were super fresh, but the spicy fried dumplings were our favorites.

Pastrami Queen

If there is a deli sandwich to be had, I always go for the pastrami or a reuben. So, I’ve had quite a few in my lifetime. I’m telling you that this was the best pastrami I have ever had. So ya, order the pastrami for sure, but the matze ball soup was really good on a cold day.

Cafe Henrie

Hip and totally trendy with some slightly inappropriate art (that’s the hip mom in me talking). Not sure if I’d want my teenagers to see the neon light near the bathrooms. I know, now you want to go see it. But, the food – I’m pretty sure everything here is good. I went for the instagram happy food like the Mr. Pink Bowl (which has beets and I LOVE beets) and the acai bowl. I also had a cardamom coffee with cream, and it was really yummy. If you are there for the instagram images, be sure to wait for a table near the windows. The back of the restaurant got a little dark. But, those pink tables by the window were perfection.

What to eat in NYC

Yemen Cafe

This is a must for us when we are in NYC and yes, we ate there twice in the 4 days that we were there. So, we did live in Yemen for two years, so this place feels familiar and brings back lots of memories. But, really, if you like unusual food, then you need to try Yemeni food, because it’s really yummy and super unique. Be sure to order salta or fahsa, it comes to the table bubbling in a stone dish. These are meat and veggie stews that you eat with warm, fresh flat bread. And definitely order the hot tea with milk, it’s bottomless and so delicious.

The best New York City food.


If you are in need of a late night sweet treat, a lot of their locations are open till 11 pm. Oh ya, we were making an ice cream and cookie run around 10:30 pm one night. Try any soft serve they have on tap. We’ve had the cream cheese sage (at Momofukus) and the cereal milk soft serve with the crunchy cereal topping was so good.

What to eat while in New York City


Everything you eat here will be fantastic. But, we do have a few favorites. The Nutella Cafe is a must. They have crepes, pastries, gelato, and fancy coffees topped with mounds of molten Nutella. We also love the roasted meat sandwiches that are served in the back of the store. There is a rotisserie that roasts a couple different kinds of meat everyday. It’s sliced right in front of you and piled on a fresh crunchy roll and topped with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and pepper. My son, who is 13, had the sandwich about 4 years ago and still refers to it as the best thing he’s ever had to eat.

New York City's best food

Shake Shack

There is usually a very long line. But, if you are just in need of a sweet treat, there is a separate shorter line for ordering frozen custard and shakes. I always just stick with a scoop of the chocolate frozen custard, but I know their shakes are pretty much off-the-hook.

Brooklyn Bagel or Milk + Honey

When in NYC, bagels and cream cheese are a must. Milk + Honey was right around the corner from our hotel, so it was a super convenient breakfast on the go. We also stopped in at Brooklyn Bagel one morning. They had a huge selection of bagel and cream cheese flavors. I’m sure any bagel you have in NYC will be better than most, but these were two spots we really enjoyed.


I kind of feel like I’m a donut expert and these are the best donuts I’ve ever had. You guys, I’ve had Blue Star, Randy’s, Tim Hortons, Voodoo, you name it. Besides my mom’s homemade donuts, these are #1. The Passionfruit Cocoa Nib and the Lemon Poppy Seed are my faves and usually I’m a chocolate or coconut girl. They have a location in Manhattan, but the trip to their Brooklyn shop is worth it, that’s where they are made. So, get there early and be ready for a carb experience like no other.

What to eat in New York City


I’m not a cheesecake expert, but you should have a slice or two. We had cheesecake after seeing a broadway show at Juniors. It’s probably a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s right in the theater district and the cheesecake was pretty awesome.

Martha Stewart Cafe

If you walk The High Line, which I totally recommend, be sure to walk an extra block to Martha’s Cafe. I had to! I’ve seriously been a fan of all things Martha since 1996, so I had to go. And in 100% honesty, it was the best latte I had the whole trip.

What to eat in New York City


I think this was our most expensive meal of the entire trip (around $50) and I’m pretty sure it was worth every penny. And actually it counted for two meals because we ate Sunday brunch at Buvette. The pastries are to die for, perfect little croissants, almond brioche and madeleines. We ordered a Croque Monsieur with gruyere, ham and herb d’provence – it’s really just the fanciest grilled cheese you’ve ever had.

Now, it’s your turn. What do you recommend folks eat while in NYC? A recommendation from a real person is always the best so I’d like to know what awesome things you’ve eaten there.


Food & Drink

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

February 7, 2017

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

I’m such a fan of sweet and spicy and shortbread cookies are my go to. Chocolate and chipotle are a match made in heaven for me, so this recipe is on a regular rotation in my kitchen. I served these at last week’s workshop, and I’m pretty sure they were a hit. A good cup of coffee and a couple of these Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies, and I’m a happy girl.

I haven’t given Valentine’s day too much thought yet, but at least I’ve made some cute heart shaped cookies. To give these a pretty Valentine’s day vibe, I dipped them in pink royal icing. Check out this post for easy smooth royal icing tips and tricks.

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-3 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg

With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, chipotle powder. Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk to combine and remove any lumps. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar and butter mixture and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Place the cookie dough in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ on a well floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper. Cut into shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 F for about 10 mins.

This recipe is modified from Martha Stewart’s Halloween Cookies.

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

Food & Drink

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

January 30, 2017

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade MocktailPink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

The best way to chase away those Monday blues is with a Mocktail!  And I’ve got a really fun one for you. It’s not only the prettiest shade of pink, but it’s a very unique flavor that I’m sure you will love. Don’t worry, it’s not overly spicy.  It has just a tiny bit of heat, just enough for make it interesting.

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade

Start by making the pink peppercorn simple syrup.

Pink Peppercorn Simple Syrup

  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. pink peppercorns

In a small pot, combine the sugar, water and pink peppercorns. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes on high. Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely. Pour the syrup through a fine metal sieve to remove the peppercorns. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Pink Lemonade

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grenadine syrup

In a large pitcher combine all the ingredients. Mix well until all the sugar is dissolved.

  • club soda or sparkling water
  • lemon slices for garnish

In a glass filled with ice, add 3-4 tbsp. of pink peppercorn simple syrup. Add equal parts lemonade and club soda. Stir and garnish with a slice of lemon and a few whole peppercorns.

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

I served this with as a grown up cocktail this weekend at my latest workshop. A little gin is a fun way to spike this tasty drink.

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

Food & Drink

Milk Mocktails and Appetizers

December 19, 2016

AdvertisementMilk Mocktails and Appetizers Milk Mocktails and Appetizers

I’ve partnered with got milk? to share two new fun mocktail recipes with you today. It’s the season for entertaining, so why not try something new – Milk Mocktails are where it’s at. These really are fun for the whole family. For your next get together, I suggest skipping dinner and serve mocktails and appetizers. These recipes are jam packed with flavor.

Milk Mocktails and AppetizersMilk Mocktails and Appetizers


On the menu:

  • Earl Grey and Lavender Milk Steamers
  • Iced Gingerbread Milk
  • Mini Cranberry Baked Brie
  • Sage Shortbread Cookies and Wensleydale with Cranberries

Earl Grey Lavender Milk SteamersEarl Grey + Lavender Milk Steamers

Earl Grey and Lavender Milk Steamers

  • 2 earl grey tea bags
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender
  • 1tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • steamed whole milk

Bring the water to a boil. Add the tea bags and lavender, allow the it to steep for an hour. Strain the tea and lavender. In a small pot, bring steeped water and sugar to a boil. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a mug combine 2 tbsp. of the syrup with a cup of steamed milk. If you don’t have a milk steam or frother, milk can simple be heated in pot to the point just before it boils.

Top each milk steamer with a sprinkling of dried lavender.

Milk Mocktails and Appetizers - Earl Grey Lavender Steamers and Mini Baked BriesMini Cranberry Baked Bries


I’ve never met a guest that didn’t love baked brie, and how can you resist then adorable mini versions. Warm Earl Grey and Lavender Milk Steamers served with a piping hot baked brie is the perfect combination to warm you from the inside out on a chilly winter evening.

Mini Cranberry Baked Brie

  • pre-made puff pastry
  • mini brie or a large brie cut into 2 inch cubes
  • cranberry sauce (or any other fruit preserve)
  • 1 egg

Cut the brie in half and spoon 1 tsp. cranberry sauce into the middle on the brie. Cut 5 inch. circles of puff pastry. Place the brie in the center of the pastry and wrap the pastry around the cheese. Beat the egg with a fork, using a pastry brush, brush a generous amount on the pastry to glue to edges together. Cut a small star shaped pieces of the the pastry and top each brie with a star. Brush the entire pastry wrapped brie with the egg wash. Bake at 400 F for about 18 mins. or until golden brown.

Mini Cranberry Baked BriesSavory Sage Shortbread Cookies


A savory sage shortbread is a surprising treat. Paired with Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries, this pile of cookies and block of cheese was gone in no time. It’s a rich bite, so icy cold, spicy Gingerbread Milk is a perfect match.

Sage Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  • a pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, beat the butter on high for a minute. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the flour and salt and beat again until smooth. Add the sage a mix until it is incorporated evenly.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out 2 inch circles. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cookies in the freezer for at least 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 350 F, bake the cookies until just golden brown on the edges, about 12 mins.

Savory Sage Shortbread CookiesIced Gingerbread Milk Mocktails

Iced Gingerbread Milk

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2tsp. ginger
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • whole milk
  • ice

In a pot, combine the first 8 ingredients, bring to a boil and cook for 4 mins on high.  Cool and store in an sealed jar or bottle. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

In a glass filled with ice and cold milk, stir in 1-2 tbsp. gingerbread syrup.

Iced Gingerbread Milk MocktailIced Gingerbread Milk MocktailsMilk Mocktails and Appetizers

This post is sponsored by got milk? (Food Loves Milk!) Thanks for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Milk Mocktails and Appetizers

Food & Drink

Pineapple Kumquat Cardamom Marmalade in Pineapple Jars

December 6, 2016

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade

With the Holiday season here, I’m looking for some great hostess gifts to take to all the parties and events that there are to attend. I love taking something homemade, so this year, I’m making this Pineapple Kumquat Cardamom Marmalade. It might be the best preserves I’ve ever made. Or Kumquat tree is loaded with sweet, juicy fruit so I wanted to use them in a jam of some sort. This marmalade is definitely a twist on the traditional, with the taste of the tropics with sweet pineapple and a little spice with a healthy dose of freshly ground cardamom (my FAVORITE flavor!!!!!).

And to sweeten this gift a little more, I cut out cute little vinyl pineapples from Damask Love’s designs for the Cricut Gold Explore Machine for JoAnn Fabrics. This adorable modern pineapple is the perfect finishing touch for this homemade gift. Really, there’s no other label needed for these preserves. Whoever receives this marmalade is sure to remember the gift giver.

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade

You know I’m a huge fan of Cricut. It’s really the best crafting tool I own. I can give gifts a custom look with very little time or effort.

I cut this pineapple shape in both white and gold vinyl and using transfer tape, adhered them to the outside of the filled jars.

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade

Pineapple Kumquat Cardamom Marmalade

  • 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups of thinly sliced kumquats ( I used my mandolin slicer and then cut those slices in half)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1tbsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 envelope liquid pectin

In a large heavy sauce pan, combine all the ingredients except the pectin. Stir to combine. Heat over high heat until the marmalade come to a rolling boil. Boil one minute and then add the liquid pectin. Bring back up to a rolling boil and boil for one more minute. Remove from the heat.

Pour the hot marmalade into prepared canning jars. Seal and process for at least 10 mins. in boiling water.

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade