Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"refreshing sweet and spicy jicama salad" {vegan recipe}

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i. love. jicama. so does he:

 in case you're wondering, even though it has a crunchy, sweet, and starchy flavor profile, it's low in calories, high in fiber, and contains vitamin C and lots of other nutrients! 

i'm not gonna lie - before it's prepared, it's big and ugly and brown, and it's a pain in the neck to peel.  but once you get through that rough, tough, inedible skin, you find a yum-town crunchy snack that is delicious with almond butter slathered on it, and oh-so-good julienned as a slaw.

let's be honest - i used the food processor to get mine all slivered, but it tasted perfectly delicious without all the painstaking labor.  so there.

this recipe was shared by lindsey-lou at allrecipes.com.  it's a hot & spicy, but bright and juicy, jicama salad.

i paired it with a chipotle pork tenderloin, but i think it would be really good topped with southwestern grilled chicken as a main-dish salad, as well.

my sweet e. added some lime zest and the zest from the orange, and that really made the dish!

always use fresh citrus juice when you can.  more nutritious and much yummier.

love me some fresh cilantro.

toss... and enjoy!

let us know if you try this dish.  whatcha think?

Monday, August 13, 2012

cheddar-y beer muffins

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often we get a craving for something yeasty and buttery to go with our dinner. and we always want it fast, because by the time we think of adding it, we're minutes away from having cold steak or soggy salad.
these "muffins" have the texture of a drop biscuit; they are a variation of a beer bread recipe that is MUCH faster because the bread is baked as muffins. they're buttery and hearty and they'd be amazing with a thick, rich, beefy stew.  they're also perfect with a crisp dinner salad.

added bonus: there's less chance of fighting-to-the-death over the last slice when the portions are already divided!

Cheddar-y Beer Muffins 

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
4 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (use the good, real stuff)
1 Bottle Dark Beer
8 Tablespoons Salted Butter, Melted & Divided
1 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a 12-cup muffin pan, drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon melted butter into each cup.  Place in oven for approximately 5 minutes to brown slightly.

Meanwhile, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Stir in the remaining melted butter.  Next stir in the beer and then the cheddar just until combined.

Using an ice-cream scoop, plop the batter/dough into the muffin cups.

Bake approximately 15 minutes or just until the top is done and springs back slightly, or a knife inserted into a muffin in the center comes out clean.

If desired, you can brush muffin tops with more melted butter, or just butter the insides (yum!).

Enjoyed every bite of these on "cheat day," and I'll be working on a grain-free version next!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

all-natural (not scrambled) hair treatment

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if you're not on the pinterest wagon, bless you.

you've probably got oodles of free time and gobs of real-time projects and accomplishments. 

me, i've got 'em all... in my imagination. and i'm good with that. 
because someday, when life is less full of crazy-days and preschoolers-through-teens needing conversation and snuggles, and clients awaiting galleries, and the hubs and i can settle in for a nice drink in the middle of the day (!!),
i'll have lots of projects and recipes i can make, because in my worry-free way of digital hoarding brilliant forethought, i've saved them all.

and for now, when there is a free moment (or a persistent-as-a-bulldog beautiful and sweet pre-teen girl behind my office chair), we'll grab a fun project or two and try it out!

case in point: my inner fashionista pin-board. it's where i save all the cool nail and hair and fashion ideas i dream of, or i think my girl will want to try.  her hair's as long as rapunzel's, and she's been frustrated with it lately, so we decided to try out this recipe for a natural conditioner.  it was a fun adventure. we think it made her hair and scalp softer, but she definitely needed two shampoos.  so it may perhaps have undone the whole "natural" thing.  nonetheless, we had fun concocting!

this recipe:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
1 cup warm water

whisk and drizzle over head; massage into scalp.
relax for fifteen minutes before rinsing (or washing twice.  :)  )

try it?  leave a comment and let us know what you thought!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

1920s speakeasy dinner {tampa food photographer}

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McCormick Spice hosted a "Dinner Party Chain," and as weekly winners for our 1920s Speakeasy Themed Dinner Party idea, we hosted a couple friends... for dinner and drinks. 

The theatre major in me was a happy girl... great food and good friends who're willing to get all dressed up? Um, yes... 

 The day of the soiree, I texted the gang to get them in character: “Hey, doll-face, grab your cake-eater and hop in the jalopy and head on over for some giggle water and eats and maybe we’ll wind up with some sweets and a cup of joe… But to get in, you’ll need to speak-easy and be sure to tell the lad at the door that everything is Jake… And remember, no bug-eyed Betties or flat tires allowed…” (be sure to google something like "1920s slang" for a translation...)

Our awesome oldest was on hand (in costume, of course) to greet guests and require the aforementioned secret password. He also passed the shrimp cocktails.

 appetizers... and a show.  :)


The menu was delicious (click on the titles for recipe links):

Shrimp Cocktails with Remoulade (McCormick recipe book)

Relish Tray  & Deviled Eggs (made with McCormick spices)

Molded Gelatin Salad (Allrecipes.com – a cucumber gelatin)
Bourbon Spiced Ribs (Allrecipes.com with my twist – McCormick Bourbon Spice blend)


Lady Baltimore Cake and Frosting (Allrecipes.com)

(punch was a non-alcoholic spin, as not everyone wanted to indulge)

 one guest may or may not have snuck in her own outlawed goods...

sneaking in the hooch.

We chose our guests as a group that we'd been wanting to connect, and as friends we knew would go all out with the theme. In all, it was a long day of well-worth-it love-labor in the kitchen, and a wonderful evening of fun and food and friends. 

ready to throw your own dinner party?  share a link!