AKRPhoto.com: Blog https://www.akrphoto.com/blog en-us (C) AKRPhoto.com [email protected] (AKRPhoto.com) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:08:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:08:00 GMT https://www.akrphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u871007726-o8028865-50.jpg AKRPhoto.com: Blog https://www.akrphoto.com/blog 120 120 DIY Tamari Roasted Almonds https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/6/diy-tamari-almonds Tamari Roasted Almonds RecipeTamari Roasted Almonds RecipeTamari Roasted Almonds Recipe

I absolutely love tamari roasted almonds. I can snack on them every day! Unfortunately, they are very expensive to buy pre-made in the store. The plus side is, they super easy to make yourself! Buying in bulk and making them yourself is also way, way cheaper. Save those extra dollars for wine! Hello! (This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which may earn me enough for a beer, but not enough for a pony!)

Let's get on with this deliciousness. Trust me, you're best off making two batches!

Tamari Roast Almond SuppliesTamari Roast Almond Supplies

Buy yourself a pound bag of raw almonds. One pound should evenly fill an average sized baking sheet. I like to line my baking sheet with foil, for easy clean up. Pre-heat your over to 325 degrees. Spread your raw almonds out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for ten minutes.

Raw AlmondsRaw Almonds

Pull the almonds out of the oven and toss them in a mixing bowl and lower the oven to 300 degrees. Add 3 tablespoons of organic tamari to the bowl, along with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. You can omit or use different oil, if you wish. If you like your almonds saltier, grind a bit of fresh sea salt in. Or try ground garlic, that is my favorite! Like spicy? Add some cayenne pepper. There's all sorts of possibilities! Or mix and match by mixing one ingredient in the sauce, and a different one for a sprinkle on top, adding a different layer of flavor. 

Tamari Coated AlmondsTamari Coated Almonds

Put the almonds back on the baking sheet in a single layer. Return to the oven for 5-6 minutes. Stir the almonds and bake another 5-6 minutes. They will be slightly chewy while fresh and hot, they will crisp up as they cool. If you like them extra crispy, bake them an extra minute or two, but be careful not to burn them! Remove from oven and let them cool entirely; store them in an airtight glass container or ziploc bag. Enjoy!

DIY Roast Tamari AlmondsDIY Roast Tamari Almonds

You can find all the ingredients you need in my Amazon aStore


-1lb. raw almonds

-3Tbs tamari


-1Tbs coconut oil

- 1/4tsp. garlic powder

- 1/4tsp. red cayenne pepper

-Ground sea salt - to taste


-Pre-heat oven to 325. Arrange raw almonds in a single layer on foil lined baking sheet. Bake almonds for 10 minutes. 

-Remove almonds from oven and reduce heat to 300. Put the almonds in a bowl and add all desired ingredients. Stir thoroughly.

-Return to the baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake for 5-6 minutes at 300. 

-Stir almonds and re-arrange. put back in oven for 5-6 more minutes. 

-Remove from oven and let cool entirely. 

-Store in airtight container or ziploc bag. 





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SteakBar Sunday Brunch Buffet https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/5/steakbar-brunch SteakBar ChicagoSteakBar Chicago

For my first Sunday funday back in Chicago, we decided to brunch at SteakBar. What a great decision! This is by far my new favorite brunch to date.

SteakBar Buffet Brunch$35 SteakBar Brunch, all you can eat.

A very interesting space, with a lot of mix and match, yet sleek decor. Your eyes can't help but wander and take in all the sights. The next thing you will notice, is the fabulous looking food everywhere! There are literally three floors of food, everywhere you turn, more food! It was amazing! I couldn't even believe my eyes. There's even food in some of the stairways between floors. After ordering our old fashions, our first stop was the oyster and shrimp bar between the main and upper level. They had several choices of different sauces and spices to top your fresh seafood with. I couldn't decide where to start. I tried several different combos and loved every single one. Sunday brunch at SteakBar was already off to a great start.

Oyster and Shrimp BarOyster and Shrimp Bar Oysters and ShrimpOysters and Shrimp

Next up we checked out the upper level. Omelet bar, several meats, ridiculously huge juice and bloody Mary bar, fried foods, salads, you name it! I ate a little bit of everything. My favorites on this floor were the mini corn dog bites, cheese curds, and the hash. 

Omelet BarOmelet Bar Bloody Mary BarBloody Mary Bar

Next we ventured all the way down to the bottom floor to check out the crepe and waffle bar, which was neighbored by the mac and cheese bar. I stuffed my fresh made crepe with Nutella, whipped cream, banana, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Several passersby said the gummy bear and Nutella combo was amazing, and that I need to try it next time. (Oh for sure, there will be a next time for this spectacular SteakBar brunch!) I then filled a plate with all three available types of mac and cheese. Truffle mac, pepper jack and traditional. I topped the traditional with pickled onions, the pepper jack with bacon, and the truffle with cherry tomatoes. The truffle mac was my favorite, but all of them were delicious. I ate every bite! 

Fresh Made CrepeFresh Made Crepe Mac and Cheese three waysMac and Cheese three ways

Sadly, I was too full to hit the butcher shop section. I had to save a tiny bit of room for desert! 

Butcher Shop Meat CounterButcher Shop Meat Counter

There were so many deserts, more than I imagined. From the donut wall to the mini cupcakes with mini shots of fireball on them, I was amazed! I picked four to try. Orange dream, key lime, raspberry panna cotta and blueberry cheesecake. I'm a sucker for cheesecake! The orange dream and the blueberry cheesecake are fighting over first place, with the panna cotta closely following. I wish I had saved more room for desert, they all looked incredible, I could eat one of everything. 

SteakBar DesertsSteakBar Deserts Donut WallDonut Wall Fireball CupcakesFireball Cupcakes

This was one of the most incredible brunch buffets I've had in Chicago in quite a while. Not only was the selection ridiculously huge, but everything was absolutely delectable! I was not at all disappointed with anything I ate or drink. I had the Caribbean Old Fashioned with my brunch, and I loved it. If you are indecisive about food, or you have guests in town, or really any reason whatsoever you can come up with... you simply need to go check out SteakBar. You will not be disappointed! (More food pics in the gallery!)


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Italy. The beginning! https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/5/italy-1 Itinerary: Milan, Venice, Florence, La Spezia/Cinque Terre. (The travel bug has bitten me hard!)

This trip started out as a reunion with the 30+ people I shared a wonderful experience with on a mission trip in Brazil. It quickly faded to just me! Well, and three of the Italians, who will be meeting me for the weekend. Mari was my roommate in Brazil, I am so excited to see her! (Let's not forget also Roby, Cinzia, and Enrico!)

Italy crew! Italy crew!

About a week and a half before the trip, it kind of all fell apart. I had to re-plan and re book my trip ASAP. I was definitely panicking a bit! I immediately began investigating; texting friends and scouring the Internet. I had most of the important stuff mapped out within a couple hours!

The first thing I would check out if you're looking to experience things on a more local level, and also looking for places to stay for free (yes FREE) definitely look up couchsurfing.com. You can talk to many people all over the world who are willing to share their homes with you, or are at least willing to go out and show you around and spend time with you! I managed to line up exploring buddies for most of my trip with only about a weeks notice, and the offers are still rolling in! You can also turn on location services to see who is nearby and wanting to go out at any time!

If you are not keen on staying in the homes of strangers you can definitely find cheap deals online for both hostels and private rooms. I have had the best luck with booking.com and eurocheapo.com. AirBnB is also another great resource! I managed to book rooms for five days in four different cities for around $325. Not too shabby at all! In Venice and Florence I am staying in women's dorms at hostels, in La Spezia and Malpensa I am staying in private rooms in hotels. All of my rooms have really great ratings and reviews. I will provide updates after my trip!

Now, you also need some way to get around. I picked a few cities and booked a few train trips. If you don't want to be on a schedule, you can grab a train at any time. If you like to have a plan, like me, can book all your tickets online in advance! The best deal I found was through italiarail.com. I also opted in for the italiapass, which gave me no service fees, plus discounts on all kinds of things all over Italy. Not only did I get a great deal on all of my train trips, but I also received coupons and discounts for tours, restaurants and shops! I don't know about you, but I love me some discounts ;)

Most things I decided to not book ahead, as I was not sure what my travels would bring me. I did make one dinner reservation in advance, because it seemed like a popular place that could get booked up. Of course, I have a coupon for it! Free antipasto and 15% off my bill; thank you, italiapass. I also booked an all day bus tour out of Florence ahead of time; again, it sounded like something that may book up. The bus trip is a tour through the Chianti countryside, stopping in 2-3 towns and a wine estate. Lunch and wine tastings are provided.. I was sold! I also got 10% off this tour thanks to italiapass.

As for the rest of my trip, I will figure it out as I go along! I may buy a hop on hop off boat ticket in Venice, so I can cruise around the island, or go out to LIdo, Murano or burano. I may also have to hop on a gondola ride. In Florence I may pick up a walking tour or wander by myself. From La Spezia I may take a boat or train north a few cities and hike my way back, or vice versa. No matter what I do, I will be enjoying myself, taking a lot of pictures, and eating all the food! I am so excited!

I wrote this while in flight, a couple hours before touchdown in Milan. The beauty of writing, is that you can do it anywhere! I will keep updating as I can! You can follow along my journey by following my Instagram www.instagram.com/_akrphoto.com Many pictures to come! Photo galleries will be uploaded once I am back in the states.


Terrace view of Duomo

[email protected] (AKRPhoto.com) Florence Florence, Italy Italy La Spezia La Spezia, Italy Milan Milan, Italy Venice Venice, Italy accommodations discounted hotel stays in Italy train trips travel travel planning travel resources traveling to Italy https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/5/italy-1 Sun, 14 May 2017 10:28:33 GMT
Roatan, Honduras https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/4/roatan-honduras I am thrilled to tell you about my recent trip to Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras. AKA Roa. I only spent a couple days there, but it was a ton of fun. Lounging, snorkeling, shopping, adventuring, eating, you name it! I was lucky enough to join my good friend and her family for this trip. Before you go, there’s a few things you cannot go without. The sun is so bright and the bugs can be really bad at night. Do yourself a favor and before you depart and order yourself some good reef safe sunblock and bug spray. My favorite bug repellent is Natrapel, it uses picaridin instead of deet and it works great! My skin is oh so sensitive, and I have no problems with it. The rest of your beloved belongings will depend on your activities in Roatan. If you are spending a lot of time out on the water, or your skin is super sensitive, rash guards are a really good idea. I love Salt Life rashguards! Any good quality rashguard is great, they provide spf 50 sun protection, yet they are lightweight and durable. You can order those online before you go, or you can find them along the beach shops when you get there. A good wide brimmed hat is a plus too. You can find all of these items in my shop at the bottom of the blog, and don’t forget to browse through the full gallery of pictures! 

Bananarama boatsBananarama boatsBananarama boats

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive beer money (not enough for a pony) if you make a purchase using those links. 

We arrived on the island midday on Sunday. You get a lovely view of parts of the reef and island as you fly in, the airstrip is right along the ocean! Roatan is beautiful, lush jungle in the middle of the ocean. Most resorts can arrange airport transfer for you for a minimal fee. We stayed at Bananarama which is in West Bay, it was a 30-40 minute drive from the airport. We stayed in a beautiful 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo. It was just a short walk to the center of the action of the Bananarama resort, yet it was still in a very quiet setting. Bananarama has four restaurants on site, a beautiful beach, and a lot of activities! We relaxed and hung around the resort Sunday. Perfect after spending the day flying. If you don't want to stay in a resort, there are plenty of places available to rent, short or long term, on AirBnB!

Sunset, West Bay, HondurasSunset, West Bay, Honduras

On the road into Banarama you will find a few cafes, shops, and bars. What you really need to look for though is the silver shack with no sign, it has amazing food! You will see all the locals there in the morning. We ordered baleadas every morning for breakfast, they are amazing. I had beef, chicken, and the egg baleadas. All of them are good! You must get there early or they will sell out of the meat! Not only is the food delicious, but it is cheap, it is only one dollar per baleada and they are a very decent size. These really are a must eat! There was free breakfast offered at Bananarama every morning, which we also took advantage of. Typical breakfast (eggs, beans, plantains and crema), tacos, waffles, fruit. It seemed to be a rotating menu.

Chicken baleada insidesChicken baleada insidesChicken baleada insides

(Inside my chicken baleada!)

On Monday we went to Little French Key, it was a perfect day as there were not many people there! Little French Key is a private island with beautiful beaches, exotic animals, good food and drinks. It is farther north on the east side of the island from where we were staying, about a 50 minute drive. You could buy different packages for the day which included different things. We purchased the cheapest package so we could pick and choose what activities we paid for. You could snorkel, kayak, or paddle board for an extra fee. The service was excellent, the drinks were cold and delicious, and the lobster tacos were phenomenal! When we returned back to Bananarama for the evening, we decided to take a walk down the beach and find something different for dinner. We came across Beacher's, which was a great find! That evening they had lobster on special. $22.50 for three lobster tails and two sides, and they were absolutely delicious. Worth every penny! 

Lobster tacos!Lobster tacos!Lobster tacos!

(Lobster tacos!)

On Tuesday we took a full day snorkel trip to Cayos Cochinos. Cayos Cochinos is a set of two islands and 13 cayes just off the coast of the mainland. It was about an hour boat ride to visit Cayos from West Bay. After checking in on Cayo Menor, we watched a short video and headed out into the cayes. We hung out on a small caye for a while and had rum punch, fresh fruit, and some snorkeling time. We then headed to Chachahuate which is a small Garifuna community. We ate lunch with the Garifuna people and jewelry was available for purchase from the children. Lunch choices were grilled fish, fried fish, or fried chicken all of which came with rice and beans and plantains. You could also purchase rolls for cheap, totally worth it, they were so so good! We then took off for another caye, where we relaxed for a bit. After relaxing and hydrating (or drinking more rum punch), we headed out for another snorkel session! We snorkeled out around the caye and eventually the boat came and picked us up and we headed back for Roa. This was definitely a good day to be slathering on the sunblock and wearing rashguards. It was a long day in full sun! When we got back we decided to eat dinner at Vintage Pearl, which is a steakhouse and wine cellar within Bananarama. The wine was great, the filet was perfectly cooked and the mashed potatoes were incredible. I could have eaten another pound of those potatoes!

Cayos CochinosCayos CochinosCayos Cochinos

Wednesday was our last full day in Roatan. After our daily baleadas we headed down to the beach. We lounged, we swam, we walked the beach and checked out other resorts. You will find all kinds of live music and different activities up and down the beach! Plus plenty of shops and all kinds of random people selling food, drinks, and souvenirs. We hopped on a water taxi and headed up to West End. You can get water taxis all day while it’s light out for three dollars per person. It is approximately 6-7 minutes by boat to get to West End. West End has even more shops, restaurants and night life. Our first stop was Shawn Jackson Photography and Fine Art Gallery. His photographs are amazing! We then walked a few minutes down the street and has some amazing rotisserie chicken at Creole's Rotisserie Chicken. The chicken was nice and juicy and the portions were huge. I had a half chicken which came with two sides, I was stuffed for the rest of the day! After lunch we took a stroll down the main street and poked around in a few shops, we found amazing freshly made chocolate! Yes, I brought a few bars home. We finished up our West End adventure with huge rum punches at Lighthouse Reef, rum punch is so good! Upon our return we took to TripAdvisor to pick out dinner. It directed us to a restaurant down the street called Lala Gallery and Garden Cafe. This was my favorite restaurant the whole trip. The place was very beautiful and artsy, nestled back in the trees off of the road. Lala has a few tables outside and inside is an art gallery and shop. The shop had local honey, all kinds of arts, textiles, lenca pottery, jewelry, and knick knacks. When the food came out I was wow’d! Every bite was incredible. The ceviche was delicious and so was my thai shrimp salad. I ate until I was so overfull, I just couldn’t stop! All of their food is made from scratch as ordered. Even the banana bread was fresh baked after we ordered it. Lala also tries to use all organic foods when possible. This place was a total gem, I wish we had found it sooner! Sadly, after dinner, it was time to pack up our things so we could be ready to go back to the airport Thursday. 

Creole's Rotisserie ChickenCreole's Rotisserie ChickenCreole's Rotisserie Chicken

(Creole's Rotisserie Chicken)

Lala Fine Art GalleryLala Fine Art GalleryLala Fine Art Gallery

(A peek of some of the beautiful art at Lala Gallery and Garden Cafe)

Thursday was our last day in Roatan. Bananarama rents out paddle boards, kayaks, and also offers dive trips and other excursions. So we got up early and got out on the paddle boards for a bit!  It was so nice to be out on the water before the beach got busy. Seeing the beach and the crystal clear water from the paddle board was an awesome experience. It was my first time paddle boarding! I loved it! I think I’m going to need to buy a paddle board when I get home. Seriously. Once our time was up we took a quick dip in the ocean and headed back, packed up the last of our things, and the hotel bus took us back to the airport! You only need to allow yourself about two hours to get through the airport. If you go on a super busy day you may need a little more time. I hear Saturdays are pretty nutty. We had no problems getting through in a timely manner and had time for lunch. It was smooth sailing the whole way back! 

First time paddle boarding! First time paddle boarding! First time paddle boarding!

(First time paddle boarding!)

I would highly recommend visiting Roatan for a few days if you need a quick ocean getaway. I could see myself taking a lot longer trip here too! There is so much to go do and to see. You can definitely keep yourself busy! Flip though the gallery to see more of our adventures. 

Reef view from plane Reef view from plane Reef view from plane

Next up is more pottery, and then my trip to Milan! Stay tuned friends! 

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[email protected] (AKRPhoto.com) Bananarama Caribbean vacation Caribbean vacation tips Honduras Roatan Roatan, Honduras West Bay West Bay, Roatan West End West End, Roatan beach time beach vacation boat trips island vacation island vacation tips paddle boarding snorkeling vacation vacation tips https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/4/roatan-honduras Sun, 30 Apr 2017 23:30:21 GMT
Golden Milk for the Win! https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/4/golden-milk Running back and forth from my full-time job, the pottery studio, and desperately trying to have a social life gets me feeling a little run down sometimes. One of my favorite ways to support my body is to make and consume golden milk. It is a slightly sweet and spicy cup of creamy, golden goodness! It is warm and comforting, and you can add or swap ingredients to your taste. 

Turmeric is very antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it can be helpful in fighting many different health conditions. It is important to use the peppercorns in the recipe, so that you absorb more curcumin from your drink. For more info on the health benefits of turmeric, visit Dr. Khong's blog and read all about it. Drink to your health! 

First, you will need whole or ground turmeric. (If you don't know where to find good quality turmeric, you can purchase organic turmeric on Amazon through this link. I have also included a handy store at the bottom of the page!)

Whole turmericFresh, whole turmeric

Ground turmericOrganic, ground turmeric

(I made the little spice bowls! You can view current items for sale in my shop.)

I always add a few peppercorns, and sometimes star anise and clove. You can also add cinnamon and cardamom. Yum! 

Peppercorns, clove, and star anisePeppercorns, clove, and star anise

Tonight I used the whole turmeric, some fresh ginger root, and all the spices mentioned above. 

Fresh ginger rootFresh ginger root

Chop up about an inch of ginger and a few nubs of turmeric. Add chopped roots and spices into 2 cups of almond milk (I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk). 

Spices added to almond milkSpices added to almond milk

Simmer the mixture on low heat until orange and fragrant. I simmer anywhere from 20-45 minutes, depending on how strong and spicy I want it. The longer you simmer, the stronger the flavors will be! If you are not using whole roots of anything, you don't need to simmer as long. 

Golden MilkGolden Milk

Once you're done simmering, let the mixture cool a bit. Use a small strainer to strain out your mash and pour your liquid into mugs or jars for storage. 

Straining spicesStrain the spices out of the golden milk

If your golden milk is too strong or spicy, you can dilute it with more almond milk. You can also add a bit of honey to sweeten it up!

Finished Golden MilkFinished Golden Milk

Local raw honeyLocal raw honey

Golden Milk 

2 Servings 


- 2C almond milk 

- 2T ground turmeric OR  a few pieces of whole turmeric 

- 5-10 whole peppercorns

Optional Ingredients:

- 1 inch chopped ginger root

- 1-2 whole cloves

- 2 star anise

- 1/2t cardamom

- 1/2t ground cinnamon (or one stick)

- 1t honey


- Pour 2C almond milk in a sauce pan. 

- Add the turmeric, ginger, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over low heat. 

- Add optional dry spices and continue simmering for at least 20 minutes (up to 45   if using whole roots). 

- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

- Use a small strainer to remove the chopped roots and spices.

- For a sweeter milk, add 1t honey. 

Enjoy while warm! 

You can make a bigger batch and store in the fridge up to a couple days. 

Have any other favorite spice or taste variations? Share them in the comments! 

Make your life even easier and have all the ingredients you need for your golden milk delivered right to your door! Sign up for Instacart and get grocery delivery in as little as an hour. Use my referral link to get $10 off your order and FREE shipping! Happy shopping! 

You can also purchase all the ingredients you need in the store below! 

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[email protected] (AKRPhoto.com) almond milk cloves golden milk health drink healthy healthy drink nutrients peppercorns star anise turmeric https://www.akrphoto.com/blog/2017/4/golden-milk Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:27:40 GMT