We’re trying something new today, folks… and something tells me you’re going to like it. Why, you ask? Well, because it includes tequila. I’ve yet to make you any cocktails, and generally that’s because I’m the world’s worst bartender. That being said, I do make this one thing… this one thing with tequila, that should be made on sunny summer days when there is absolutely no driving happening, that should be enjoyed with friends, out of straws with umbrellas preferably. Friends, I’d like to introduce you to Beergaritas. So pull out that lawn chair, turn on them sprinklers, and get some summer all up in your glass.
1 Can Frozen Limeade (12 Oz.)
1 Can Tequila (12 Oz.)
1/2 Can Triple Sec (6 Oz.)
2 Light Beers
It all starts with a little can of Limeade… seems innocent enough, doesn’t it?
And then the booze comes out. Add a shocking amount of tequila to your limeade concentrate… an entire can. Yes, I’m for real. This is getting REAL.
And if that wasn’t enough… and trust me, it isn’t enough- you’re going to fill that can 1/2 of the way up again with triple sec. Oh. My. Yum.
It just gets more fun every minute, my friends.
Stir it up!
And a glass full of ice… man, this drink is basically like hydration-central.
Fill ‘er up!
Your friends will be happy. And that’s what this is all about, right? Making people happy. So drunk… excuse me, drink up.
This girl has a Momma who can eat the SAME thing every single day for months. I am NOT one of those people- I am one of those people that has to keep one hundred and twelve snacks on my person at any given time just in case my mood or appetite might change and my pre-planned afternoon snack is no longer enticing.
Anyway, her current thing is granola. Granola every morning… every. single. morning. And this isn’t something she’s been doing for months, it’s literally something that she has been doing for YEARS.
So, for Mother’s Day I decided to embark on granola. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. I literally screwed this stuff up twice before the 3rd batch finally came out correctly. Sometimes coming up with a new recipe is like that… Fail #1: Golden raisins should not go in the oven. Crispy raisins are not delicious. Fail #2: Do not try and do laundry whilst toasting your nuts. You will burn your nuts. Alas, after 3 trips to the grocery store and countless shouted profanities, I bring you attempt #3… delicious granola goodness.
Fruit & Nut Granola
1 1/2 C. Almonds, Roughly Chopped
2 C. Pecans, Roughly Chopped
1/4 C. Coconut Oil
3/4 C. Honey
1.5 C. Quaker Oats (Not the instant kind)
1.25 C. Grated Coconut
1 t. Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
Golden Raisins and Dried Blueberries to your liking
Choppety chop up those almonds. Try not to let too many jump off of your cutting board in the process.
Then chop your pecans too. BTW you could use whatever your favorite nuts are… cashews or walnuts are totes fine with me.
Then throw your nuts in a cast iron (or other heavy duty pot) with the coconut oil and get those nuts toasty- about 5 minutes on medium heat should do the trick.
Pull the nuts from the heat and let them cool down a bit. The coconut oil, almonds and pecans are going to make your kitchen smell SOOOOOOO good at this point. Then your cinnamon gets thrown in and it’s going to be good smells overload. Add that salt too ;)
And then your honey gets added to the mix!
Then throw in the coconut flakes… Many yum points.
And your oats. Voila, it just became a health food. Because oats are healthy, duh.
Find a handsome man to stir for you. He’s the cutest, right?
So it’s not going to be super sloppy at this point, but it should be pretty moist. Heat your oven to 325 degrees!
Spread the mixture evenly on a cookie sheet and throw it in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir the mixture so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, and put it back in for another 10 minutes.
When it comes out the last time you can sprinkle your blueberries and golden raisins on top and let the granola cool completely!
It’s SO pretty, right? Wait patiently… it takes a long time to cool.
Did I take a close up? Duh. Too pretty not to.
Then using a metal spatula and all your arm muscles, scrape it off your cookies sheet and break it apart as much, or as little, as your heart desires.
A little ribbon goes a long way, my friend.
Your bikini is calling you. Do you hear it? It’s screaming at you from the deep, dark corner of that drawer you haven’t opened in months. It wants out. It’s seen those beautiful bright rays of sunshine creeping into your bedroom windows lately, and it knows… it knows that you’re going to have to get your butt in a bikini very, very soon. Never fear, Elise is here- with a delicious green smoothie that promises NOT to taste like grass and still fill your body with all the nutrients it needs to start it’s day without the Egg McMuffin, side of bacon, hash brown, and frappucino that you’ve been consuming for breakfast lately. Also, I’m going to try something new and plug my fave smoothie ingredients, as well as tell you the calorie counts as we go along. Let me know what ya think…
Then make one, duh. Your bikini will thank you.
Green Smoothie Ingredients:
4 T. Fat-Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt (I like Chobani, Frozen into 1 T. Yogurt Cubes)
1 Frozen Banana
1 C. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 T. Vanilla Protein Powder
1 T. PB2 (Or Standard Peanut Butter)
1/2 Bag Spinach
Makes 2 Smoothies
Start with your frozen greek yogurt cubes at the bottom of your blender.
I LOVE to freeze my yogurt into cubes for smoothies because standard ice cubes just never create the consistency I’m going for… 1 ice cube is typically about one tablespoon.
50 Calories + 0 Fat
(25 Calories per serving)
Then add your frozen banana. See? No ice necessary. I despise icy smoothies- I want my health food to taste like a milk shake. Duh.
120 Calories + 0 Fat
(60 Calories per serving)
Next up is the almond milk! The stuff Silk makes only has 30 calories… big win, people, big win.
30 Calories + 2.5 G. Fat
(15 Calories + 1.25 G. Fat per serving)
Then a tablespoon of vanilla protein powder- I like the one made by Muscle Milk.
52 Calories + 2 G Fat
(26 Calories + 1 G. Fat per serving)
Then another tablespoon of PB2. It’s epic, get on board with this PB powder that works perfect for smoothies and has like one millionth of the fat and calories.
30 Calories + 1 G. Fat
(15 Calories + 0.5 G. Fat per serving)
Then fill your blender to the top with spinach – which usually requires 1/2 of a 10 oz. bag.
30 Calories + 0 Fat
(15 Calories per serving)
And blend away!
You’re probably going to have to give it some love, during this process… blend a bit, then move the mixture around with a spoon, then go back to blending, until it is smooth.
When it’s done, it should look like this…
And there you have it-
312 calories and 5.5 g fat for the recipe, or 156 calories and 2.75g fat per serving
Man… you look skinnier already, get out that bikini!
Guess what? I made you muffins. Oh, and not just any muffins, my friends. I made you muffins a la Kathryn Choy. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know my extraordinarily beautiful and lovely friend, Kathryn Choy. This girl’s all that and a batch of freshly baked muffins. She’s kinda a big deal. She makes muffins. Great ones. KC’s muffins are not only totally delicious, they’re also super easy to make, AND they only require one bowl! You know how I feel about dishes, so clearly the small cleanup aspect of these muffins scores major points for me.
These muffins are so simple, in fact, that they’re the perfect option for the next Saturday you want to wake up, play a little Suzy Homemaker, make your house smell like heaven, and impress overnight houseguests or roommates with your ability to create muffins from scratch. Over breakfast I would definitely advise of finding some way to mention that these most definitely did NOT come out of a box. Gloat a bit. You deserve it.
1 3/4 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt
1 C. Buttermilk
1/2 C. Oil
1 t. Vanilla
1 C. Mix-Ins
3 T. Sugar + 1/2 t. Cinnamon
Start with your dry ingredients- the flour. sugar, salt and baking soda.
One lonesome egg goes into the dry ingredients…
Then the buttermilk… did you know you can make your own buttermilk with perfectly good normal milk + vinegar? Gross. Let’s just say I don’t typically have many reasons to buy buttermilk…
Then the oil!
And then the every-so-crucial vanilla…
Then give it a good whisk! Ok, here comes the fun part… the reason the recipe reads “mix-ins” is because you can add whatever you have on hand! KC loves chocolate chips in hers, but she is also famous for her blueberry rendition… I had blackberries…
Blackberries that were so pretty… they needed their own photo shoot… outside… with natural light… and my cutting board in the grass? I was going for artistic, so sue me.
Mix-in whatever mix-ins you choose.
Because my mix-in was fruit, I decided to throw in some lemon zest and cinnamon too. That’s what’s great about this recipe, you can get a bit creative ;)
Oh-so-adorable muffin liners are always highly encouraged. I mean, I did make these just for all of YOU!
Fill your muffin liners up about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to the top.
Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mix on top and then place them in an oven that has been pre-heated to 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
They should be puffed up just slightly when you pull them out.
Serve ‘em up while they’re still warm!
Matty took a big bite so you can see how perfect and delish they look inside ;)
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make me the happiest. This simple macaroni salad is one of my Momma’s signature dishes. Whenever I make it, I think about her. It’s her go-to, family BBQ, summertime side dish and I love, love, love it. Over the years I’ve shared it with other loved ones, including one of my best friends form college, Lauren. She asked me to share the recipe on my blog so that she could make it for her daughter, Harper’s, 1st birthday party. I like to think that Harper will grow up thinking of this macaroni salad as HER Momma’s signature side dish… and that definitely makes this recipe worth sharing.
Momma’s Macaroni Salad
3 C. Uncooked Macaroni Pasta
3/4 C. Finely Chopped Red Onion
3/4 C. Finely Chopped Celery
3/4 C. Mayonnaise
2 3.8 Oz. Cans Sliced Olives
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Start by boiling your eggs. 10 eggs is a lot, but according to Momma, all 10 are totally necessary.
Then choppety chop chop your celery. Celery is gross, but apparently it’s necessary for this recipe. I asked Mom, she insisted.
And then the onion. I had applied mascara, hence it was necessary to use the choppy device you see in the background. Choppy device = No mascara streaming down my face. Good call.
Throw your onions and celery into a bowl, and then move on to ALL of those eggs…
Then boil that pasta, and give it a rinse before adding it to your large bowl as well.
Finally we get to those delicious little olives. I wanted to add 2 cans… Mom said no. This CLEARLY isn’t my recipe as I obviously would have ditched the celery, added more olives, and probably found a way to include a pork product, alas, it’s Momma’s recipe, so we’re doing it Momma’s way…
Why is mayo so gross, and yet so delicious? In it goes!
The beautiful Momma herself salt and peppered here… Workin’ hard, looking great- pretty typical for her ;)
She mixed it for me too…
There you have it… go ahead and enjoy a spoonful of happiness.
I’m not much of a breakfast person. In fact, usually, the hour between when I wake up and rush out of the house, is the only hour that I don’t want to inhale every ounce of food around me. However, on the occasion that I do want food in the morning, I rarely crave what one would typically think of when referring to “breakfast food.” Nah, it’s typically during these morning hours that I want Chinese food, a deli sandwich, macaroni and cheese, or cookies. Luckily for me, there is small societal loophole available for exploitation. Some brilliant rainmaker came up with the concept of a socially acceptable breakfast cookie, and named it… biscotti. Absolutely brilliant.
8 T. Butter
2 C. Flour
1/4 C. Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 T. Espresso Powder
1 C. Shelled Pistachios
1 C. Dark Chocolate Chunks
1 Package Chocolate Almond Bark
Start with your sugars and butter.
Cream them together with an electric mixer.
Then the eggies… continue to beat…
Until you’ve got a lovely little batter goin’ for yourself :)
On to the dry ingredients! In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder. Mix em’ up. You’re doing great, I can just tell.
Then add your dry ingredients to your batter.
And then we get to the REALLY good stuff. The chocolate chunks and pistachios. Oh delicious perfect batter, how happy you make me.
Then place some wax paper in a cookie sheet and form a log with your hands. It should be about an inch tall. Length and width can be flexible to your liking. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
When you pull them out of the oven, let the cool for about 5 minutes and then slice them.
Then place the slices back into the oven at 300 for another 5-7 minutes to get them crispy at the edges.
You’re getting close, I promise. Pull our your chocolate almond bark and break it up so that you can melt it in the microwave.
Get it melty, and then dip your biscotti in the chocolate. Set your cookies aside to dry on wax paper.
Congratulations, you’ve officially satisfied all of your adolescent breakfast desires. Yep, folks, you’ve made cookies for breakfast!
Guess what? I made you something that will not induce a heart attack! This recipe includes plenty of healthy ingredients including the super-hippie, and very trendy grain, quinoa. This was my first attempt at quinoa. Here’s what I took away from this experience:
1. Quinoa is very needy.
a) I have to rinse it?
b) Why doesn’t it come rinsed?
c) Do you have any idea how small it is? Do I look like I keep cheese cloth just lying around the house?
d) Fine, a strainer will work.
e) I toast the quinoa before I boil it? Is there a hidden camera somewhere? Let me get this straight… I’m going to TOAST it before submerging it in hot water just to make it soft and squishy. What the heck was the point of toasting it in the first place?!?!
2. It’s kinda worthwhile.
Alas, you’ll have to see for yourselves…
Corn and Black Bean Salad over Baked Corn Quinoa Cakes
Corn and Black Bean Salad:
1 Can Corn
1 Can Black Beans
1/2 Red Onion
4 Roma Tomatoes
Fresh Chopped Cilantro
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Baked Quinoa Corn Cakes:
1 1/2 C. Quinoa
3 C. Vegetable Broth
1 C. Frozen Corn
6 Green Onions
1 t. Onion Powder
1 t. Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Let’s start with the neediest component of this meal… your quinoa. Even when you buy this silly stuff from fancy places like Whole Foods it requires rinsing.
Spoiler Alert: There’s no easy way to do it. It sucks. A strainer is your best bet.
See? A strainer like this will work ok.
And then we’re going to toast the quinoa, just until it turns a teensy bit toasty brown. Then add it to your boiling water (no joke) for 15 minutes. Cover until your quinoa is soft and can be fluffed with a fork. Then set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile, focus on the good stuff, the mix-ins!
Beat your eggs…
Then chop up your green onions and add them to the mix as well…
Next up is the frozen corn!
And finally your seasonings get added to the mix.
Generously spray a foil-lined cookie sheet so you’re ready with a place to put your cakes when they’re formed!
Finally, your cooked quinoa gets thrown in now!
Now we form our cakes! It’s important to remember that this is not a beauty contest! Put 1/2 c. of the mix in a cup, then flip the cup upside down on the sheet to create a somewhat circular shape, and press down until the surface is even-ish. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, then flip before putting them back in for another 10.
Phew, now on to your corn and black bean salad… ready? GO!
Start by rinsing your black beans and corn.
Then choppety-chop your red onion and add that to the mix as well…
Next up is your chopped tomatoes!
Lil’ bit o’ lime :)
What mexi-salad would be complete without fresh cilantro? It smells soooooo good when you chop it up!
Why, hello there, pretty!
Let the flavors get friendly with each other for 20-30 minutes or so. Just cover it up with saran and throw it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve!
Serve the salad on top of the warm quinoa cakes and you’re going to be a very happy camper ;)
A wise friend once said to me that chocolate and peanut butter were the best combination ever, and that she firmly believed the two should get married and make little choco-PB babies. Well said, Kathryn, well said. While I agree with my astute and beautiful friend, I’m going to argue that there is a better combo out there, one yet even more appealing than the choco-peanut butter babies… and that, my friends, is the cheese and bread combo.
Cheese and Bread were sitting in a tree K – I – S – S – I – N – G, first came love, then came marriage, then came CHEESY BREAD BALLS in the baby carriage.
Did I really just write that? Eh, it happened… make this appetizer, pop one of those babies in your mouth, and take my word for it, the yumminess might make you a bit wacky too.
Cheesy Baked Bread Balls
2 Cans Buttery Biscuits
1/2 C. Olive Oil
1 T. Paprika
1 T. Garlic Powder
1 T. Onion Powder
1 t. Sea Salt
1 t. Rosemary Powder
1/2 t. Black Pepper
1 Pound Monterey Jack Cheese
It’s so easy. Just wait and see :) Mix all of your spices together in a bowl…
Yea, Yea! Yummy spices!
Now add your olive oil…
Now choppety-chop-chop up that cheese. You’re probably going to need to taste test the cheese while you’re at it…
Pilsbury + Butter Tastin’ = Delicious heart attack. Worth it.
Time to get your hands dirty! Cut each biscuit into thirds and roll each segment around a cheese chunk.
Repeat until you can fill an entire greased 13×9 dish. Oh yea, lookin’ good now…
Using a basting brush, paint your little cheese balls with your spice-packed olive oil and pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
I now pronounce you Cheesy Baked Bread Balls. You may kiss the appetizer!
If you aren’t “paleo,” and if you don’t belong to a Crossfit gym… you know you’re curious. Crossfit, paleo… it’s EVERYWHERE, right? What’s up with these people that eat like cavemen, pay 1 billion dollars per month on their gym memberships, and have super human strength? Dude. Your muscles have muscles.
I’ve tried crossfit- and there’s definitely something to it. Your in and out of the gym in under and hour, leave with a great sweat, and have accomplished both strength training and cardio by the time you walk out the door. But let’s get real folks, this blog is not about exercise… little miss “Does sitting on an exercise ball at work count as a cardio workout?” is not an exercise expert, so I’ll let y’all judge for yourself if the crossfit thing is for you. Let’s get right to the food.
I’ve tried like a gazillion and twelve diets, so I know a thing or two about them, and can tell you that this paleo diet might just have something to it… So here’s the deal… my very basic understanding of this paleo thing, which came completely from Wikipedia and other web sources, basically instructed me that this diet involves a lot of fish and grass-fed animal meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts and restricts you from eating grains, potatoes and other delicious carbs, beans, dairy products, processed oils and refined sugar. The justification behind the food one should consume is that it mimics the diet of the Paleolithic era, and modern humans are still genetically adapted to this diet, making it the ideal for human health and well-being. Bam. I’m careening on the edge of science blog now, right?
So here’s what I learned in this venture. 1. Cooking without oil is tough, 2. What the hell is a legume? (Answer: Beans, you dummy), 3. You can eat paleo and eat well.
Fish is easy peasy and it’s a great go-to healthy dinner item that I make all the time, but the real standout star in this meal is the mash. I would never have attempted it had I not been going for “paleo,” but I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and the cross between healthy fiber-ful veggies in a form that still made me think of mashed potato, comfort food, pillows of wonderful. If you haven’t tried paleo, here’s your chance to give it a shot. If you are paleo, this one’s for you. Enjoy!
Sweet n’ Spicy Salmon over Cauliflower and Carrot Mash
Sweet n’ Spicy Salmon
4 Salmon Filets
3 T. Pure Maple Syrup (Apparently a debated inclusion into the Paleo diet- but c’mon the pure grade comes from trees, right?)
3 T. Chili Powder
1 T. Cumin
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. White Pepper
Cauliflower and Carrot Mash
1 Head Cauliflower
1 Yellow Onion
6 Garlic Cloves
1 T. Rosemary
1 T. Thyme
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Mix together everything in the salmon sauce and paint it onto the filets. Throw them into the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15-18 minutes at 375 degrees.
Chop your onions and garlic and grill them (without oil) in a frying pan, with your spices, until everything is soft.
While that’s happening steam your cauliflower and carrots until they are soft.
Then the soft onion mix goes into your food processor.
And the soft veggies get added too…
Definitely the noisiest part of this recipe… make that food processor do WORK!
Until… Voila! You have mash!
Now comes my favorite part… making it pretty before you destroy it with your fork :) Mash first…
Look how gorgeous your salmon is when it comes out of the oven!
You know where that loveliness goes… Right on top!
If eternal happiness could be found in a skillet, it would most definitely taste like this.
Stop everything and make this. I’m being serious. It’s mood altering, magical, life changing, drool on your keyboard, perfect. Seriously though, I’ve never done better, if I do say so myself. It’s the end of your new years diet, and the beginning of a really fantastically delicious heart attack. Worth it.
It all began in a posh tech company cafeteria. A cafeteria offering free breakfast, lunch, and dinner to all employees. A perk destined to make those with no self-control whatsoever (read: ME), incredibly fat. Every Friday, no seriously, EVERY Friday, a cafeteria located directly beneath my desk at work serves… wait for it… Bacon Fried Rice. Yea, you heard me right. Bacon. Fried. Rice. Every freaking Friday the smell of bacon grease wafts gently up through the air vents to taunt me. It begs me to go downstairs for just one little scoop… or two, or three, or a small mountain- it’s all you can eat and FREE for crying out loud! Let’s just say, despite my best intentions, I’ve succumb… once or twice.
I mean really though, could anything BE more perfect? Salty bacon, warm rice, little sprinkles of color from the carrots and peas, topped off with fresh green onions. Let’s just get straight to the point- I’m obsessed. Like, I DREAM about this stuff. I absolutely had to try to make it myself, and, instead of making an entire batch por moi so I could scarf it down like a little piggy, I decided to use my lovely friends as guinea pigs. In honor of the last night of gluttony before millions of Americans pledge to go to the gym, cut out carbs, drink more water, and stop boozing so hard… New Years Eve. What a great way to say goodbye to 2012.
Bacon Fried Rice
4 C. Jasmine Rice
16 Oz. Bacon
1 Yellow Onion
8 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 C. Frozen Mixed Veggies (Carrots, Peas & Corn)
1/4 C. Soy Sauce
Prepare your rice according to the package directions. Ideally, your rice is going get a bit stale before you add all of the other goodies to it, so try to do this in advance. I made my rice in the morning when I planned to serve it for dinner that night.
Let your fluffy rice hang for a while.
I like to call this sun setting on onions.
HA. Chop the onions & scallions… you know the deal ;)
Ahhhh, yea… there’s the good stuff.
Get that bacon GOOD and crispy, because it softens a bit later when you add the veggies which contribute moisture.
I’m basically a food scientist, guys.
I hate chopping garlic. I buy jarred. There you go, folks, you know all of my secrets now.
Can we pause for a moment and admire this skillet? Bacon, garlic, onions… I’m hungry.
It quite literally gets prettier and prettier.
Most people would do peas and carrots, but I never miss an opportunity to add corn to my concoctions.
You’re getting so close. Are you excited yet? I am.
So excited in fact, by this point I’m dancing in the kitchen, hopping anxiously from one foot to the other, quite literally squealing with delight.
Put your bacon and veggie mix aside for later.
Then, get to scrambling those eggies :)
I think you know me well enough to know what I’m greasing my pan with… If you’re new, it’s bacon grease. Duh.
Give your eggs some love… a simple scramble! Then set them aside, you’re going to need that frying pan again.
You want to give your rice some crusty edges too, so throw it in the skillet with the leftover grease to warm it up a bit.
Once your rice is warmed up and got some crusty edges, add the eggs and the bacon/veggie mix.
Pairing note: The complex flavors in this dish are served best alongside cold, cheap, canned, American brew.
Guys… OMG, GUYS! LOOK! Are you seeing this? It’s just delightful.
And there you have it. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you never knew you needed from the rice in your life.