Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Strawberry Jalapeno Simple Syrup

We had a weekend cool- down and a few days that felt so nice, breezy and almost cool, but the hot weather is back. Truthfully, I LOVE IT. I'm a Summer girl for life and as muggy and hot as it gets here, I would take these days over gray snowy ones ANY DAY. When Fall rolls around I'll be all Pumpkin spice love yesssss the best time of year is around the corner but for now, I'm sticking with Summer.

I'm coming at you mid-week with a happy hour hack that's sure to make your 5pm cocktail a little bit sweeter...and easier! My friend April shared this simple syrup tip last week and I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. Sure, simple syrup is simple enough on the stove, but why not make it simpler by making it in the microwave! Bonus points because you make it right in the mason jar so no need to transfer the mixture for fridge storage. That part is already done for you. I was shocked at how well this worked and how easy it was. Definitely a trick to have up your sleeve in a pinch or when you need a cocktail mixer for an impromptu night with friends.

The best part, is that you can totally add in any fruit and herb infusers that you have on hand which will allow you to get a little creative with your flavors! I did strawberries and jalapeno slices here and it was heavenly! This was extra delicious as a margarita mixer with some Tequila, lime juice seltzer and a splash of the syrup- and my sweet pregnant friend also enjoyed it in some orange la croix! Getting creative here, folks and you don't even have to enjoy this with alcohol. My other favorite way to enjoy a flavored simple syrup is with some Tito's vodka and Spindrift! PSA: If you grocery shop at Harris Teeter, Spindrift is BOGO this week and also $1 back on Ibotta! Not familiar with Ibotta? It's the easiest way to shop and get money back on things you are already buying at the grocery store. Sign up with my referral code HERE. (this is not sponsored! I just love using it, love getting cash back every few weeks and want to share with you all!)

 All you need is sugar, water, flavor infusers, a mason jar and 90 seconds in the microwave. Boom. And if you want to do this on the stove the old fashioned way, that works, too.

Whether you take a short cut or 

Strawberry Jalapeno Simple Syrup 

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 strawberries, thinly sliced

In a mason jar, combine the water and sugar. Place in microwave for 90 seconds. If the sugar appears to have not fully dissolved yet, microwave in additional 15 second increments. As soon as no more sugar granules appear present, add in jalapeno and strawberry slices. Let the mixture come to room temperature. Strain out the berries and peppers if you like, or leave them in the mixture. Store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Italian Potato Salad

I love Summer eating, but what I don't love is feeling full and bloated and just blah from the heat and a big plate filled with ALL THE FOOD. There are so many fresh ingredients available to us in the Summer and along with that comes many ways to lighten it up any way that we we can do things like have an extra glass of wine or save room for an ice cream sandwich, am I right!? It's all about balance, after all. 

Ditch the heavy mayo based salads and get on board with this super simple Italian style number. It's so much lighter than most potato salads with bright and fun colors that look pretty on any delicious spread. Parsley adds a green punch and it's unique flavor while red peppers offer some sweetness and new texture. I love the simplicity of this dish, using only olive oil as the dressing and letting the fresh herbs and veggies do the rest of the work. Leaving the skin on the potatoes is also a key step! Adds so much more. 

I grew up eating this and everytime I make it, it's a huge crowd pleaser. Not your typical potato salad and an unexpected twist on a cookout staple. I promise if you bring this along to your next get Summer get together, everyone will thank you. 

Italian Potato Salad

3-4 pounds of red skin potatoes, washed with the skin left on
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
big handful fresh parsley, chopped
2 roasted red peppers, cut into thin strips
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Wash and chop potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on how big your potatoes are. Boil until you can pierce them easily with a fork, but not so long that they are falling apart. 

While the potatoes cook, prep your onion, garlic, parsley and roasted red peppers. 

When the potatoes are done, drain and rinse with cool water and let them sit a few minutes to cool off. Cut them into smaller chunks and place into a bowl with the onion, garlic, parsley and roasted red peppers. Drizzle all over with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss it all together and adjust your salt, pepper and olive oil to your liking. Serve at room temperature. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July!

Stars and stripes forever! Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and Happy Birthday America! 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Faves

A quick little edition of Friday faves to kick off the weekend and head into July! 

I need this Tequila Rose Spritz in my life ASAP. Rose is having a moment right now and I'm loving it more and more. Not going to lie though, the tequila is what sold me on this. Adding to my cocktail que! 

This tequila rosé spritz cocktail is perfectly refreshing for hot summer nights. A mix between a margarita and spritzer, this starts with muddled strawberries and honey, a shot of tequila and is topped off with your favorite rosé wine! I #tequila #rosé #wine #spritz #cocktail #strawberries
image via How Sweet Eats

These Buffalo Burgers from The Defined Dish were a great deviation from a basic grilled burger. I used lean ground beef and added some green onions to the meat as well. We ate them on top of arugula with caramelized onions and some roasted okra on the side! 

Image via The Defined Dish

I've never made it a secret that I love a good neutral nail color. I recently got this Orly color (Kiss the Bride) in a gel manicure for a wedding a few weekends ago and I'm in love! I grabbed a regular bottle of it immediately. This color is GOOD. 

Orly Nail Lacquer, Kiss The Bride, 0.6 Fluid Ounce

Meet my afternoon dream team. This Starbucks iced coffee from the grocery store refrigerator section is all kinds of magic. I don't know what they put in it but I think it's a hundred times better than the iced coffee from an actual Starbucks store. I love it with a splash of half and half and lately have been adding a quick pour of the Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coconut for a little island flavor. Seriously the best.

These Beautycounter products have been game changers for my skin- especially the Cleansing Balm and Countermatch Sleep Recovery Cream. These are both SO GOOD. 

WE HAVE BLUEBERRIES! Our favorite neighbors moved and we transplanted their blueberry bush to our house. It's been moved twice now so I was a little worried about it but we've been getting a good handful of berries. It doesn't make up for all of the berries I buy at the store every week, but it's fun to have our own homegrown blueberries! 

Hope everyone enjoys another wonderful Summer weekend! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Pan Seared Tuna with Coconut Aminos, Ginger, Jalapeno + Lime

GIVE ME ALL THE SEAFOOD. I would eat fish every night if I could. I'm obsesed with sushi and I fell into a deep deep love with ceviche while we were on our honeymoon in Turks and Caicos in 2010. When I crave fish, I almost always want that sushi-soy flavor to go with it. 

If you like fish and fresh Summer flavors, there is nothing not to love about this recipe. I made it on Monday night and cannot wait to make it again. Fresh wild caught tuna was on mega sale at my Harris Teeter this week so I pounced. My sister's fiance made it over the weekend and when they sent me a picture, I immediately started drooling and saved the recipe.

This meal is restaurant quality and SO SIMPLE. Perfect meal to treat yourself with during the week or enjoy on the weekend while entertaining friends. It's that good. I like my tuna on the rare side, but you can sear it longer on both sides to cook it through. Either way, the flavors are bright and intense. I just can't stop thinking about the tuna! 

Obsessed with this dinner is an understatement. 

Pan Seared Tuna with Coconut Aminos, Ginger, Jalapeno + Lime
recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

2 handfuls cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced (about 4 Tbsp. lime juice)
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tuna steaks or medallions (sushi quality)
1 ripe avocado, sliced

In a mixing bowl, combine cilantro, jalapeno slices, garlic, lime juice, coconut aminos and 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir to combine. 

Place a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Transfer tuna steaks to the pan of hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side (longer to cook the tuna through). This will form a light crust. Pour half of the cilantro mixture over the tuna in the pan to coat the fish. Serve with the remaining cilantro sauce and fresh sliced avocado. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Spiked Spa Water

Apparently #TitosTuesday is a thing and since I meant to post this little cocktail recipe yesterday, let's just pretend it's still Tuesday. 

Summertime happy hours are my favorite. We eat later dinners and spend lots of time outdoors during that chunk of time between afternoon naps and when it's time to start cooking. Around the fire pit on our outdoor patio is my favorite spot to sit. It's so easy to grab a quick glass of wine or an icy cold beer from the beverage fridge, but lately I've been super into this little Tito's concoction. It's light and refreshing and I won't call it "healthy", but it's certainly a cleaner beverage option- and we are loving it. 

Just a little Spindrift, lime/lemon, some mint if you have it and a splash of Tito's- that's it! I've done this with many of the Spindrift flavors, but the cucumber is just the best. Tastes just little spa water...with an upgrade.

Spiked Spa Water

2 oz. Tito's vodka
wedge of fresh lime
Spindrift Cucumber 
Mint leaves, torn and muddled

Start with a wedge of lime and squeeze it into the bottom of your glass. Add mint leaves and muddle them a bit. Pour in 2 oz. of vodka and finish with a pour of Spindrift- more to water it down and less for a stronger drink. Give it a quick stir and add finish with ice and another wedge of lime or lemon. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Summer Strawberry + Avocado Salad with Prosecco Vinaigrette

Every season is salad season in our house, but there is something so extra tasty and fresh about salads in the Summer. I love the simple cooking that comes in the Summer. Grilling some meat or fish and making a giant salad filled to the brim with goodness to go on the side. Easy, satisfying and on the lighter side for these Summer scorcher days. 

This is my current Summer salad crush and we've been having some version of this at least once a week. I looooove the combination of the strawberries and avocado and the crispy bites of bacon are just the best. I don't always add corn but when I do, it adds a whole new level of flavor. This salad is great on it's own as a side, or add some grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon for a full meal. So much flavor going on here!! And I don't know how I ended up with Prosecco vinegar in my pantry instead of champagne vinegar, but dare I say I'll be buying the prosecco again and again. The dressing is the icing on the cake here. 


Summer Strawberry + Avocado Salad

5 oz. container of your favorite salad greens (I like half baby greens mix and half arugula)
5-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 avocado, diced
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 cobs corn, cooked and the kernels cut off

Assemble all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss with prosecco vinaigrette to combine. Serve immediately.

Prosecco Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. prosecco vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste to your liking.