Cinnamon Orange Animal Crackers

July 15, 2014

cinnamon orange animal crackers cinema and spice 2

NOAH comes out on Digital HD today and we thought you’d be needing a themed snack for this epic adventure.  The digital release of the movie comes with extra behind the scenes features (which we usually don’t get that excited about) BUT this one explores the making of a life sized ark & filming in Iceland, which is pretty badass.

We experimented with many of our favorite cookie recipes here, and we had such a hard time finding one that was the right texture for these animal cookie cutters. While the cutters are super cute, heed this warning: they are HARD TO USE.  You need a non-sticky dough and a lot of flour to make it work.  We ended up using this sugar cookie recipe and we reduced the sugar, swapped out the white flour for whole wheat, and added some orange zest and cinnamon. They are a little chewier than traditional animal crackers but delicious all the same.

cinnamon orange animal crackers cinema and spice 3


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • animal cookie cutters (we used these from Sur La Table)


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.  Using an electric mixer or hand beaters, mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add in the egg, milk, vanilla and orange zest and beat until combined.  Slowly incorporate the flour mixture.  Shape the dough into two flat discs and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for about an hour or until thoroughly chilled.

Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough to be about 1/8″ thick.  Cut out animal shapes and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment or a baking mat.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-10 minutes, until just browned.

Makes about 40 small animal crackers

Cinnamon Orange Animal Crackers Cinema and Spice

Guilt Free Tapioca, please!

July 14, 2014

guilt free tapioca pudding cinema and spice

Guys, we’ve done it. We were on the quest for a delicious, sinful tasting dessert that is actually (almost) good for you, and we have some great news to share.  We made tapioca pudding with unsweetened coconut milk, stevia (which is a natural sugar free sweetener) and more egg whites than egg yolks. Hurray for guilt-free dessert! Throw some chia seeds on the top and you’ll be all set for… something. We like ours with a lot of fresh muddled raspberries, and if we’re feeling fancy we add a few chocolate chips and blueberries. Enjoy!


  • 1/3 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cup coconut milk (one 13.66 ounce can)
  • 4 teaspoons Truvia (or 1/3 cup sugar, if you must)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 inch vanilla bean, split
  • 1 egg yolk (whisked)
  • 2 egg whites (whipped)


In a medium sized pot soak the tapioca pearls in the water for 30 minutes.  Be careful not to over-soak or the pudding will lose its texture.  Turn the burner to medium heat and add the coconut milk, Truvia, sea salt, vanilla bean and egg yolk.  Whisk together and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and stir frequently for 10 minutes.  While the tapioca is cooking, whip up the egg whites using an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks.  Once the pudding has cooked for 10 minutes, add 2/3 cup of it into the egg whites and whip again to combine.  Pour the egg white/pudding mixture back into the pot and simmer over low heat for 5 more minutes.  Remove the vanilla bean and scrape any excess seeds from the pod into the pudding.

This pudding is best served cold, so wait awhile to refrigerate it and enjoy once fully chilled.

Serves 4

guilt free tapioca pudding cinema and spice 2

Sugar Free Granola

July 7, 2014

Sugar Free Granola Cinema and Spice

Granola is one of our favorite breakfast foods.  Pair it with yogurt, milk, fruit, or throw some in a ziplock and keep it in your purse for emergency snacking. This recipe also includes our latest obsession: Truvia.  It’s a mix of stevia and erythritol (a sugar alcohol derived from plants that is low on the glycemic index and calorie-free).  Truvia is easy to find at most grocery stores and is not as bitter as most stevia-based sweeteners.  We use it in this recipe and we promise that once you try it, you won’t miss your sugar laden granola recipe.

Sugar Free Granola Cinema and Spice 3


  • 3 cups rolled oats (if you’re gluten intolerant, make sure to buy oats processed in a gluten free facility)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 10 packets Truvia – (or 2 T and 1.5 teaspoons)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½  teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie blend spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground vanilla beans (optional)


Mix all ingredients and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until browned, stirring occasionally.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Makes 5 cups of granola

Sugar Free Granola Cinema and Spice 2

Homemade Pop Tarts

July 4, 2014

cinema and spice homemade pop tart

This is something we’ve been dreaming about posting for a while, but we wanted to wait for the right occasion.  4th of July is just a no brainer because these are red (strawberry), white (icing), and blue (blueberry). So here we are.

These are pretty easy to make.  You can use store bought jam (we used our favorite local jam from SQIRL), and they make the perfect 4th of July breakfast or treat for a BBQ.  Make a bunch and save them to eat for the next few days. Make sure you don’t put the frosting on until right before you eat them, that way you can re-heat them whenever you want.  Happy 4th!

homemade poptarts cinema and spice

Adapted from King Arthur Flour


  • 2 cups unbleached flour (plus additional for rolling out)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 additional egg to use as egg wash
  • Blueberry jam
  • Strawberry jam


  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Use your hand (or a food processor) to work the butter into the mixture until the mixture sticks together when you squeeze it. There should still be small lumps of butter visible. In a small bowl, whisk together one egg and the milk. Add this wet mixture to the dough and stir until just combined. Knead lightly on a floured surface and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and split into two even halves. Roll the first half into a rectangle about 7” x 9”. The dough should be about 1/8” thick. Cut this large rectangle into 4 smaller rectangles (they will measure 3.5” x 4.5”). Gather the scraps of dough and roll them out again, cutting out more rectangles. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

To assemble the pop tarts, spoon a tablespoon of jam into the center of one rectangle and cover with another rectangle of dough. Carefully use your fingers to seal the edges of dough all the way around the tart. Then, use a fork to make a design around the edges of the pop tart. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Once you have assembled all of the tarts, whisk an egg in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush (or a clean paintbrush) to brush a very light layer of egg on the surface of each pop tart. Pop the tray into the refrigerator and let the pop tarts chill for 30 minutes before you bake them. Use this time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the tarts for 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Allow to cool.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, salt and milk. Drizzle right before serving.

Makes 8 pop tarts

homamde poptarts cinema and spice

Grilled Jalapeño Lemon Margarita

July 4, 2014

grilled jalapeno lemon margarita cinema and spice

We’ve been looking for a new margarita to serve at our summer gatherings because, frankly, we’re a little tired of the same damn margarita over and over and over again. The spiciness from the jalapeño is mild, in case you were nervous, and the smokiness from the grilled lemons is very apparent in the drink.  If you’re a fan of a sweeter margarita, add in an extra splash of the simple syrup.  This will certainly be a crowd pleaser.

grilled jalapeno lemon margarita cinema and spice 2


Simple syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 grilled jalapeño


  • 1.5 oz strained lemon juice (grill lemons before squeezing)
  • 1.5 oz white tequila
  • 1.5 oz grand marnier
  • 1 oz jalapeño simple syrup


First you’ll need to grill the jalapeño and the lemons on a grill, either gas or charcoal will do the trick.  Grill them until they have char marks and are soft, and don’t worry about burning them a little.

F0r the simple syrup you’ll need a small pot to bring the water, sugar and jalapeño to a boil.  Let the boil roll for a few minutes and then set to the side to cool.

Mix together the proportions for one cocktail in a shaker with ice and stir or shake to combine.  Pour into your glass with new ice (and a rim of salt, if you like) and enjoy!

Makes one cocktail (and a lot of extra simple syrup!)

grilled jalapeno lemon margarita cinema and spice 1

Dark Chocolate Bars

June 26, 2014

Handcrafted Dark Chocolate Bars

To be perfectly honest, candy making is not something we know a whole lot about. We’d always ogled over other people’s chocolate recipes, but we hadn’t ventured into the world of chocolate making in depth. Until… I (Natasha) decided that I NEEDED a dark chocolate bar with big chunks of kettle chips on top, and since I didn’t know where to get said chocolate bar, I decided we would make it. We messed up a lot of chocolate before we figured this out. Unlike many recipes, chocolate is not forgiving.  You must be exact, cautious, and patient.  These bars are so worth it when they’re done though, and they make a really thoughtful gift if you’re into sharing.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Double boiler
  • Meat or candy thermometer
  • Chocolate bar mold
  • Hair Dryer (yes, you read that correctly)
  • Spatula


  • 8 oz dark chocolate (between 60-70%)
  • Toppings (we used Mother’s Animal Cookies, pistachios, fennel pollen, sea salt flakes, and kettle chips.)


In your double boiler melt 2/3 of the chocolate (this does not have to be an exact amount) until the candy thermometer reads 120 degrees. Remove from heat and add in the rest of the chocolate little by little, stirring constantly, until the temperature has dropped to 90 degrees.  Once the chocolate is the proper temperature, take the hair dryer and quickly heat the chocolate mold by blowing hot air for about 5 seconds on each side. This ensures that the chocolate pops out of the mold when it’s hardened.  Pour the chocolate into the molds, making sure to not overfill.  Top with anything that you want. We put sea salt flakes over all of the bars and then added fennel pollen & pistachios to one, Mothers Animal Cookies to another, and tons of Kettle chips to our last bar.

Pop the trays in the fridge until hardened (about 20 minutes). Pop them out of the mold and enjoy!  Store in a cool, dry location (not the refrigerator: that’s just for initially hardening the bar).

Makes 4 bars (each bar measures 2 1/4″ x 5 1/2″)



Bacon Caramel Corn

June 13, 2014

Bacon Caramel Corn Cinema and Spice 1

This year, tell your Dad you love him with bacon. We don’t usually make recipes this decadent, but Father’s Day happens once a year, and everyone needs a cheat now and again.  And if you’re going to cheat, cheat with bacon caramel corn.

bacon caramel corn cinema and spice

If you’re reading this and it is now past Father’s Day, this recipe also qualifies for other “it happens once a year” events… like birthdays, half birthdays and National Popcorn Day. What we’re trying to say is that you should make this recipe because it’s delicious.


  • 1/2 cup popping corn
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 strips thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


First, pop the popcorn.  In a large pot with a lid, heat up the olive oil over a medium flame with 3 kernels of corn. When the kernels pop, it’s time to add the rest. Shake the pot around until the popping becomes infrequent. Watch out! You don’t want to burn the popcorn. It’s easier to pull out the unpopped corn than it is to unburn it (because you can’t do that). Set the popcorn aside.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a pan, fry the bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and leave the bacon grease.  Add the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt and stir to combine. Continually stir until the mixture comes to a boil, and then let it sit (no stirring!) for 5 minutes.  Remove the mixture from the heat and add in the vanilla extract and the baking soda.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn and shake or stir to coat.  This step isn’t that easy, so it helps to add the caramel in stages and mix with a big spoon.

Pour the popcorn onto a lined cookie sheet and bake until the caramel becomes firm, about an hour. It’s definitely delicious unbaked, but the popcorn will become soggy if you don’t bake it.

What you do with the extra bacon is up to you. You can just eat it, you can chop it into tiny bites and toss it into the mix if you plan on eating it immediately, or you can save it for another recipe.

Serves 4

Paprika Roasted Chicken

June 5, 2014

paprika spiced roasted chicken cinema and spice

“Orange is the New Black” is back and we’re ready to binge watch. Last season we loved the episodes about the wild chicken. Red (the cook) found out there was a chicken on the property and sent everybody out on a wild goose chase (pun intended) to capture the bird.


We’ve created the chicken dish that we think Red was dreaming of making.  It’s a simple paprika roasted chicken: super tender and delicious with favorite flavors used in Russian cuisine (besides cream, because that’s gross).


  • 1 4-5 lb chicken
  • butchers twine
  • 2 cups fresh dill
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed & peeled
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 russet potatoes (optional)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper into the cavity and fill with the dill, onion and garlic.  Tie the legs together so that the vegetables stay inside, and rub the paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of both salt & pepper evenly over the outside of the bird.

Cook until the internal temperature of the bird reads 160 degrees (about an hour and 15 minutes) and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can cut up a couple russet potatoes and roast the chicken on top of the slices.We always do this because they get delicious and crisp this way, plus if you prop up the chicken on top of the potatoes the chicken skin is crispy all around. Magic.

Serves 4


Gluten Free Mini Vanilla Doughnuts

June 4, 2014

gluten free mini vanilla donuts cinema and spice julianna strickland natasha feldman

For National Donut Day, and also just because we wanted to make donuts, we made these gluten free cake donuts and ate them all. We rarely make these oily treats, but when we do, they’re delicious.  We made these gluten free because Julianna is on a gluten free diet, and also because there are enough delicious regular donut recipes out there in the world.  These are best warm, so make them right before you want to devour them.

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  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 5 cups gluten free flour (we used King Arthur Flour, but if you have money to burn the Cup 4 Cup flour is really good)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • peanut oil
  • 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (for mini donuts)


  • I cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter



To make the donuts, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted (and cooled) butter and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt & xanthan gum.

Slowly add the wet mixture into the dry and mix until well incorporated.  Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.

In a large and deep pan, heat enough oil to cover 1 inch of the pan.  Heat over medium flame.

While the oil is heating, roll out the dough onto a floured surface and use a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut out circles.  Use your finger to puncture a whole in the center of the donut (we know, it’s kind of gross. use a small round cookie cutter if you must…)

Drop into the oil once it is hot and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. If the donuts brown too quickly, reduce the heat.  Break open the first one to make sure it’s cooked in the middle.  If it is a little under, leave the donuts in for a bit longer.  Place donuts on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

To make the vanilla glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl.  Add in the cream and the vanilla extract, and stir until the consistency is smooth.  Dye with food coloring if preferred.

To make the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring constantly to keep the mixture from burning.  Spoon on to the donuts and allow to cool.

Makes 18 donuts

Vegan Grain Bowls

June 3, 2014

Vegan Grain Bowls cinema and spice

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  This is my favorite meal.  Any combination of grains, beans, veggies, and dressing, and I’m in heaven.  A big bowl of healthy food feels so nourishing and simple and comforting to me.  When I cook dinner, it’s often just different variations of this.  Feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables, or if you’re not vegan, add some chicken or an egg on top.


Vegan Grain bowls cinema and spice 2

Grain Bowl Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 cups cooked beans of choice (we used lima beans)
  • 1 cup fresh greens (we used arugula)
  • Blistered cherry tomatoes (recipe below)
  • Roasted cauliflower (recipe below)
  • Fresh herb dressing (recipe below)


Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package.  Combine the cooked quinoa with beans, fresh greens, blistered cherry tomatoes, and roasted cauliflower into four bowls and top with dressing.

Serves 4




Blistered Tomatoes


  • 15 cherry tomatoes


Spread the tomatoes on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Roast at 425 degrees until blistered (about 20 minutes)




Roasted Cauliflower:


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 10 cups florets)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Toss the cauliflower florets in a bowl with the oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes at 425 degrees.




Fresh Herb Dressing:


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 16 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of ground pepper


Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Blend on high until well combined.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

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