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. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

I feel like we are always in a season of TREATS. It's like there's always a reason to celebrate something and treats are always a MUST.  I have a long list of favorites and go-to recipes when these occasions arise but when I needed a dairy free recipe last month for a preschool birthday celebration, I was up for the challenge.

This is a first for me- these cupcakes are completely vegan! We aren't going vegan in this house but I've never made a vegan dessert before and this recipe is too good not to share. 
I made this recipe for Will's class to accommodate some allergies and will definitely keep this recipe as my go to next time I need something allergy friendly! 

The key to the frosting is letting the dairy free butter come to room temperature. DO NOT MELT IT. I have a little trick of microwaving dairy butter in 5 second increments to get it to room temperature quickly, but do not do this with the vegan butter. It melts quickly and then your frosting will be toast. Trust me when I say to take the time and let it come to room temperature on it's own. Your frosting will be creamy and dreamy- pinky swear! 

The texture of the cake is rich and dense and since the amount of vanilla in the recipe is on the larger side, the flavor is super vanilla-y! Classic vanilla cupcakes with a vegan twist- you won't even miss the dairy 

P.S. Don't skimp on the sprinkles! (to keep these 100% vegan, make sure you are using sprinkles that don't contain dairy- check the ingredients list)

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Babble

Makes 10-12 cupcakes

1 cup Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flavorless oil (I used canola- grapeseed or safflower would work, too)
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used Ripple plant based milk)
1 Tbsp. vanilla 
1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with 10-12 liners. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix until combined. Add remaining ingredients (oil, non dairy milk, vanilla and apple cider vinegar) and beat on medium speed until no clumps remain. 

Fill the cupcake liners with batter 3/4 to the top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean. The cupcakes should bounce back slightly when pressed. 

Let cool completely before frosting.

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature (I used Earth's Balance brand)
2 tsp. vanilla 

in the bowl of an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, beat butter until soft and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Turn speed down to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, another 2-3 minutes. If the mixture seems too wet, add in a little more powdered sugar as needed. Transfer frosting to piping bag and frost!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June Cookbook Club: Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

Good morning! And how are we already into mid-June?! The summer days are slow and easy but time still seems to speed by. 

For the June edition of Cookbook Club, Allie and I chose a book by one of our favorite food bloggers, Fast and Slow by Gina Homolka of Skinnytaste. I love love love this book and I love Gina even more. She is one of the very first food blogs that I started reading and still remains one of my favorites. Her recipes are wholesome, healthy and super family friendly! I'm confident that anyone who frequents her blog or owns any of her cookbooks will tell you the same. 

I love Gina's approach to cooking so much. Her recipes never lack flavor and I've never made anything of hers that disappointed. Fast and Slow is filled with recipes that come together quickly as well as ones that cook all day in the slow cooker- all things that are especially appreciated during the busy weeknights that we all seem to have! 

I'm pulling out an old recipe from my archives to share with you all from the book because it's one I seriously go back to over and over again. I have made so many things out of this cookbook but the Caulflower Potato Tacos have been my favorite by far. It's such an unexpected combo of ingredients and flavors which is why I think we love it so much. I've only actually made these as tacos twice, but the cauliflower potato mixture is on regular rotation on our dinner menu as a side! The flavor is unbelievable and the addition of the Lime-Cilantro Chutney takes it to another level. We love this dish so much! Perfect for a meatless Monday or using the cauliflower potato mixture as a flavorful side like we do most times. You can find this recipe on an older post HERE.

Here are a few other favorites from this cookbook!

I especially love panzanella salad in the Summer and this one is DELICIOUS! Especially with farmer's market or garden fresh tomatoes.

Cold Peanut- Sesame Chicken and Spiralized Cucumber Noodle Salad- this is RIDICULOUS. So good, light and fresh for Summer! I pick up a rotisserie chicken when I made this meal and will often times sub in almond butter for the peanut butter and it's just as delicious. The dressing is my favorite part of this and I always like to make a little extra to dip veggies in as a snack!

If you follow any Whole30 or Paleo bloggers, you know that eggroll bowls are all the rage right now. I've tried several and this is the best recipe I've found. It comes together seamlessly and in no time at all.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I've had it for over a year now and it is still front and center when I grab a stack of books to look through as I meal plan on Sundays. 

Don't forget to link your favorite recipe from the book below! We are taking a break from Cookbook Club for the Summer but will likely pick it back up again in the fall. If you have any book ideas or books that you want to see featured, leave it in the comments below. Happy Cooking!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Loving Lately + Fitness Inspo

Summer is in full swing over here and we are loving these carefree days and a break from the everyday schedule. It's been nice to spend mornings at the pool, eat later dinners and just be outside! (as long as it's not 1000 degrees!) As every season changes there's something I love about each one but really, Summer is my favorite. Also...PEONY SEASON! Freaking out over these gorgeous flowers like everyone else on social media but really, I cannot resist when I see a giant display of them at this tome of year. 

A few things I'm loving lately...

I went back to my beloved Neutrogena for a summertime face and it's like being back with an old friend- the kind you pick right back up where you left off with. It's smooth and light and feels great on my face. I like minimal face makeup in the Summer and this stuff is perfect. The Neutrogena Healthy Face Tinted Moisturizer was my go-to for 10 years and now I'm wondering why I ever switched! I still love the it Cosmetics CC Cream but I think that will be more of a Fall/Winter product for me. 

I have found my new health and nutrition guru and I'm completely on board with this way of eating and structuring my meals. Kelly Leveque is a celebrity health and wellness consultant with all of the right information. She has a science and medical background and truly knows her stuff. Her approach is simple and makes so much sense. Protein, fat, fiber and greens are her "fab four" and the way she explains it in her book couldn't be easier to understand. For a quick intro to her approach with food, I recommend listening to her interview on Rachel Hollis's podcast, Dais from this past April. It's FULL of so much good info. A few friends recommended this specific interview to me and I ordered Kelly's Book, Body Love, immediately after listening. 

My sisters and I started Annie Downs's 100 Days to Brave and it's so good. It's the perfect daily devotional and I love the premise of it all. I read Annie's book Let's All Be Brave a few years ago and re-read it again recently. So much goodness in that book and the devotional is proving to have more of the same. 

Did you know George Clooney has his own brand of Tequila? Well, he does and it's amazing. Casamigos on the rocks with a little lime seltzer and a wedge of lime is EVERYTHING. Get on it! The backstory on this easy drinking stuff is great, too! 

My workout game has been strong lately and I feel like I'm in a good groove. I enjoy exercising and getting sweaty and really working hard. I also enjoy mixing it up and have found over the years that I can't do the same thing every day. Earlier this Spring, I went back to my beloved BBG Guides by Kayla Itsines and 3.5 years later, I'm still convinced that these are some of the best home workouts that you can do. When I track myself with progress doing these workouts and really focus on my eating, I see great results. Bonus points because it's super convenient for busy moms with young kids. I amped up my BBG workouts recently and started adding more running intervals in between. Our home gym makes this easy whether I get up and workout before my kids wakeup, or if I sneak in a naptime sweat sesh. We don't have a treadmill in our garage (yet), but our driveway is fairly long and I'll do 3-5 minute running intervals up and down the driveway. I'm sure my neighbors thing I look like a hamster, but it gets the job done! All this to say- do what works for you and be consistent! Also- you can't outwork a bad diet so really, all of this starts in the kitchen, too. And water. Lots and lots of water- especially in these hot Summer months! 

Make it a wonderful week, everyone!!