What I’m Reading | Food Related Stories

I’ve been finding a lot of great food related stories online lately, what with the whole debate on Measure 92 and all. I wanted to share some non-GMO related interesting food pieces I’ve been reading in the last week. I would love to see what you’ve been reading too! If you’ve got a great piece you’ve been reading please post it as a comment or tweet me!

What Kids Around the World Eat for Breakfast | NY Times Online

I didn’t realize how kids ate in different countries until I studied in Germany in high school. I thought it was the BEST THING EVER to get to eat bread, butter, meat, and cheese for breakfast because that’s what I normally ate for lunch! It was weird, and I loved it. That said, lunch was like dinner, and dinner was cake (hehe)–this article gives a very good idea of what some kids in other countries eat for breakfast. The above picture is Nathanaël from Paris–he’s my favorite picture in the whole article–that said, it’s full of cute kiddos.

As A Chef, I Wish Yelp Didn’t Exist | A Restaurant Confessional (NSFW – Language)

I enjoy a good chef confessional–this one caught my attention as I have very mixed feelings about using Yelp, be it to find a place or review a company. I’ve learned not to go off on a rant about a place as it’s not constructive, but sometimes I think giving an honest opinion about a place is their chance to better the product–if it’s something I feel the need to tell someone working there (either “WOW this is amazing” or “You should probably be aware that _____”) then perhaps it’s worth a quick mention on Yelp. Yelpers need to learn how to put themselves in the owner’s shoes though too. It’s incredibly personal to hear bad things about your business, but we all know you aren’t a one-man-show, so perhaps it can be a helpful way to point out issues in consistency, service, or something else. I enjoyed this chef’s take on Yelp reviews even though I may not agree with the whole confessional.

What the World Eats | National Geographic

Now this is a fun one–take a look at how many more calories we eat from 50 years ago–how about percentage of meat consumed per country? I really enjoyed playing with the slider on this article and seeing the vast differences from country to country and from the 60’s on up through today. The only thing that I thought was misleading is that the writer lumped sugar and fat together–I’m of the opinion that sugar is much worse for the body than fat is.

What have you been reading lately? Where do you go online to read?

Fall, Recipe Time, Soup's On

Spicy Tomato Soup

Spicy Tomato Soup with Smoked Cheddar Chicken Quesadillas | The Spicy Bee

Fall soups are where it’s at, especially when your tomatoes are starting to get to the point of no return. It only makes sense to have them added to a melty cheese sandwich or, better yet, SOUP. I grew up eating Campbell’s Tomato Soup out of a can–and while those memories are great, I strive to create something healthier that is:

a. High fructose corn syrup free
b. Lower preservative laden
c. Gluten-free (and dairy-free if you omit the manchego)
d. “Flavoring” free
e. Spicy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now now, what about canned tomatoes? Well, yes we could get into fisticuffs about the acidity of tomatoes and their negative affects on the lining of some cans (buy BPA free please!)…even AFTER all that, I still feel like it’s a step up from Campbell’s.

I feel like once you realize the ease of this recipe, you may feel like I do. From what I can tell, this recipe will FREEZE beautifully too, so long as you do not add the coconut milk until after you re-thaw (so cool, cap, and toss into the freezer after the * below).

Spicy Tomato Soup

(Featuring Smoked Cheddar Spinach Quesadillas)

Spicy Tomato Soup with Smoked Cheddar Chicken Quesadillas | The Spicy Bee


  •  8-10 large, ripe tomatoes (may sub for 1 28oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 16oz jar/can tomato sauce
  • 1 fresh cayenne pepper
  • 1 small yellow pepper, deseeded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 32oz container coconut milk (will be added to taste)
  • 3/4 c shredded manchego cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado


In a blender, combine all tomato products, garlic, cayenne, and yellow pepper, and blend until smooth. Add the mixture to a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste; simmer for 20 minutes.* Check the spice after the simmer, and, if needed, add coconut milk to the mixture, whisking in 1/4 c at a time. Plate and top with avocado and manchego. This is also great topped with sour cream and your favorite tortilla chips. Soup should be creamy with a healthy kick! This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free (should you omit the cheese), and serves 4

My new combo is having this soup alongside a tried and true (albeit, messy) Smoked Cheddar and Spinach Quesadilla.

 This is my favorite recipe for a spicy tomato soup. What food did you grow up with that you long to make healthier?

Drinks, Fall, Sponsored Post

Cocktails with RAFT Syrups

RAFT Syrups Cocktail Recipes #Portland | The Spicy Bee

I’m always excited to get to know Portland local businesses and their product. I recently met and created cocktails with RAFT Syrups founders; two lovely ladies (Sook Goh & Roslynn Tellvik) who have developed a product, of which I’m already a huge fan. I mean, who doesn’t love natural soda syrups that will bring your soda water or cocktail to the next level?

RAFT Syrups Founders  #Portland | The Spicy Bee


You know my favorite was a bourbon-based cocktail. I hope you get a chance to enjoy this recipe by RAFT Syrups!

Fig Bourbon Cocktail

RAFT Syrups Cocktail Recipes #Portland | The Spicy Bee


2 oz. bourbon
1 fresh fig, cut in half
1 TBS RAFT Lemon Ginger syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
1 oz. sparkling water


In a cocktail shaker muddle fig and RAFT Lemon Ginger syrup into a paste. Fill shaker about halfway with ice cubes. Add bourbon and lemon juice. Shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail coupe or other pretty glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a fig slice. If you’re feeling smoky, try RAFT Smoked Tea Vanilla in place of RAFT Lemon Ginger (One 5 oz. serving).

The flavors currently available are Hibiscus Lavender, Smoked Tea Vanilla, and Lemon Ginger. Bottles are normally 12.7 oz and available for about $19 each (although they also have a fun size for their giftpack that are 3.4oz–$29 for pack of 3). The syrups are created by a slow brewing process and once opened, it’s suggested you refrigerate them. They have a shelf life of up to a year and are relatively low sugar! Each tablespoon contains about 12g of sugar and 50 calories. What about a good Mojito/Nojito? Little known fact–a Mojito was my very first alcoholic beverage ever. I know, I’m also surprised. Adding the Hibiscus Syrup really creates a new profile I really love.

Hibiscus Mojito

RAFT Syrups Hibiscus Mojito  #Portland | The Spicy Bee


1.5 oz. of silver rum (omit to make a nojito)
2 TBS RAFT Hibiscus Lavender syrup
2 lime wedges
10 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig to garnish
sparkling water
crushed ice


Add about 1/2 cup crushed ice to a 16 oz. glass. Squeeze lime wedges into the glass and drop them in. Add mint leaves. Muddle. Add about 1/2 cup more crushed ice to glass. Pour in rum. Top with sparkling water. Stir in RAFT Hibiscus Lavender and garnish with a sprig of mint (one 16 oz. serving).

Buy Local: PDX

If you’re looking to find some of the RAFT Syrups for yourself, you’re in luck! You can now purchase them through Hollywood Beverage (where I found it below!), Beam & Anchor, 1856, Hop & Vine, The Meadow, and New Deal Distillery.  Looking for RAFT Syrups in Seattle? They’re carried in the north as well! Check out Capco (West Seattle), Pacific Food Importers (SoDo), Sugar Pill (Capitol Hill), and Wine World (University District). Everywhere else? You can order ONLINE here. Make sure to sign up for their weekly recipe email and you will get 15% off your first order.

RAFT Syrups Cocktail Recipes #Portland | The Spicy Bee

I found all three flavors at Hollywood Beverage! Huzzah!

For more recipes, information, and ideas, check out RAFT Syrups’ site HERE.

Try some more new recipes!

Aubrie @ PDX Food Photographer | Pink Panther, Fig Bourbon (same), Raspberry Lavender, Toddy

Jenni @ A Well Crafted Party | Lemon Ginger Drop Cocktail