My Absolute Favorite Dip – EVER!

26 Jul
Garlic-Onion Cheese Spread Garlic-Onion Cheese Spread Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  • In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and preserves until blended. Stir in the onions, bacon, garlic and pepper. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with crackers. Yield: 2-1/4 cups.

Classy Jello Shots…Yes, classy!

1 Jul

Let’s admit it – Jello shots aren’t exactly classy – But these one’s are!

I was first introduced to these little delights when a friend brought them to my birthday party in 2011. They have been a summer staple ever since.

You can use any kind of fruit and any flavor of Jello, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of lime Jell-O
  • Limes (as many as you would like)
  • Your choice of liquor.  *Absolut Citron or tequila with the lime??

Cut the limes in half lengthwise and clear out the insides. This part can be brutal. Jeff and I spent an hour on this part. I’m sure there is an easier way, but I’m not quite sure what it is…

Prepare the Jell-O according to the instructions on the box. Reduce the water portion by ¼ cup and replace with your alcohol of choice.

You want to make sure that your limes are set onto a surface that will keep them up right. I used a muffin pan. Pour your Jell-O mix into the lime shells and then place them into the refrigerator to set over night or for however long the Jell-O box instructs

When they are ready, cut each lime in half to make the perfect bight sized lime Jell-O shot!

 

Try these variations:

Watermelon in a Lime shell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon

Strawberry Margarita

 

 

Five Controversial Decor Items (And Why You May Want Them)

20 Jun

Five Controversial Decor Items (And Why You May Want Them)

I found this article on RealSimple and had to repost…

People can be judgy, but don’t let the haters keep you from having what you really want in your home. Here are five infamous items and why you might just want them after all.

1. Wall-to-wall carpet— Carpet may have been on the design outs the past decade or so but it seems to be poised for a bit of a comeback, and more importantly, how much do you think you’ll enjoy those concrete floors during a middle-of-the-night bathroom run in January? Hardwood is hot, but let’s face it, carpet is comfortable.  It’s warm, absorbs sound and even insulates your room.

2. Cowhide rugs— On the outrage spectrum, from full-on fur to a leather boot, a cowhide seems to fall somewhere in the middle for most people, yet is understandably a no-go for some.  My (vegetarian by the way) two-cents take is this: it’s graphic, it’s organic and it’s low-profile. If you aren’t anti-hide, it can be a durable choice – so, if you like it, go for it.

3. Fake plants— For those of us (I’m guilty) who will never keep a houseplant alive for more than a week, fake plants may be the only way we’ll ever get the color and texture of plants into our space. Fakes have come a long way, but use them sparingly and remember, dusty leaves are not your friends.

4. Painted wood— Want your bureau a different color? You can — it belongs to you!  Don’t let fear of the wood-purists keep you from realizing your DIY vision.  Just remember that it’s usually a one-way street. Form a clear plan before taking the plunge because, without miles of sandpaper, there’s no turning back.

5. Reproductions of famous works of art— There’s no rule that says you can only decorate with original art.  If you love Monet (and that pesky museum isstill rejecting your loan request), there’s no reason you have to live without his water lilies in your life. While posters can feel a little dorm-room-depressing, done right, a framed poster or reproduction can look great and remind you of the art you love so much.  Just nix the sticky tack, okay?

What do you think? Which eschewed items do you still love?

(Image: Bethany Nauert / Traci’s Incredible South Pasadena Home)

Pretty Pretzels

19 Jun
Thought these would be a nice treat to go along with beer for all the Bruins games we’ve been watching…
30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels.

makes 8 – 10 (or more) depending on size

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm water (lukewarm, no need to take temperature)
  • 1 packet active yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 – 4.25 cups all-purpose flour + more for the counter surface to knead (or mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour)
  • 1 large egg
  • course sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir with a spoon until fairly mixed, about 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast will remain. Add salt and sugar; stir until fairly combined. Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Continue to add more flour until dough is no longer sticky. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and shape into a ball. With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 1/3 cup sections. This measurement does not have to be exact – use as much or little dough for each pretzel as you wish – the size of the pretzel is completely up to you.
  4. Roll the dough into a rope with an even diameter. My ropes were twenty inches long. This measurement will depend how large you want the pretzels. Once you have your long rope, take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the egg and pour into a shallow bowl or pie dish. Dunk the shaped pretzel into the egg wash (both sides). Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 425F degrees. Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the tops. Watch closely to avoid burning.
  7. Allow to cool and enjoy. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 4 days (will lose softness). Pretzels freeze well.
  8. *If you’d like to make cinnamon sugar pretzels, mix 1 Tablespoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar and coat pretzels instead of using salt.

Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Frosting

14 Jun

Step aside, bikini…

Ingredients

Brownie Cupcakes
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Cookie Dough Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp milk (I used vanilla almond milk, but soy or regular would be fine)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper cups.
  2. Melt butter in the microwave in a large microwave safe bowl. Mix in the sugar until smooth and microwave for about 1 minute. Stir the mixture until smooth again. Whisk in the vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together the salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, and flour. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and stir until completely combined.
  3. Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake in the prepared muffin tin for about 8-10 minutes (mine took a little under 9 minutes). Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  4. For the frosting: With an electric or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla and beat well. Stir in the flour and salt until doughy. Stir in the milk and beat until fluffy. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Notes

*I find these cupcakes are best served cold. I kept mine in the fridge. It also helped to avoid the cookie dough frosting from melting.

*You could easily use boxed brownie mix as a shortcut, but you would need to adjust the frosting accordingly since the cookie dough frosting recipe below only makes enough for 10-12 cupcakes.

*Depending on how full you fill the muffin tins, you could get anywhere from 9-12 cupcakes. I filled mine about 2/3 full.

Funeral Potatoes (served at the funeral of a long lost Colorado girl)

13 Jun

These so-called “funeral potatoes” have been in my family for many years and they have become a staple at all our family gatherings since before I can remember…To be honest, I’m not even really sure where the name comes from but I do know that this dish has been served at a good chunk of the funerals I’ve been to over my lifetime…

The recipe is a simple one. But, truth be told, you can find a very similar one on the back of an Ore-Ida bag. Pretend I didn’t mention the previous point because I like to think this is some sort of top secret family recipe that has been passed down for generations. Wherever it came from, I know one thing- this recipe brings me home, and that’s all that really matters to me.

Obviously, these potatoes have been on my mind. When I thought about what to post today, two things kept coming up. Funeral potatoes and being homesick for Colorado. Well, perfect- the two naturally come together…

I made these infamous funeral potatoes a couple weeks back at a party we had. As I was mixing and stirring up all of the ingredients, I couldn’t help but think about CO. It’s been almost five years now since I have lived there, and I’m starting to feel like that part of me is getting lost (hence the title: funeral of a long lost Colorado girl). Don’t get me wrong, my life here in Boston is fun and it’s an experience everyone should have. But, I’m in dire need of laid back-ness. I miss home. I miss home so much  it hurts.

So, I’ve made it my mission, starting today, to remember my Colorado roots more often and start incorporating my “Colorado self” into my everyday life. I cannot forget that Colorado girl. I cannot forget the landscape that taught me about spirituality and God. I cannot forget the people who shaped me into who I am today. I cannot forget the unforgettable experiences I have had from growing up in CO.

I DO NOT want to have a funeral for the Colorado girl in me. I want her to live and live loudly (and proudly). So, I’ll start by making funeral potatoes, tonight. :)

Here’s the infamous, VERY TOP SECRET, cannot be found anywhere recipe:

2 lbs frozen hash browns (I use the diced kind)
1 stick of butter
1/2 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup

1/2 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup diced onion

1 cup corn flakes (crushed)
salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:

1. Defrost potatoes, melt half of the butter, and mix together all ingredients (except corn flakes- those are for the topping).

2. Melt second half of butter and mix with corn flakes. Place on top of the casserole.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in a 9×13 baking dish

PS.- Try crumbling 1/2c bacon on the top. :)

Oh, and I just had to add this…

http://youtu.be/Rt75y38J00s

Weekly Music Pick

12 Jun

I haven’t posted any music/entertainment for a while. This one showed up in my feed this morning and has been playing ever since…Gotta love Jamie Dee!

Keeping White Jeans, White…

7 Jun

image

Now that summer has unofficially arrived, it’s time to take your white jeans out of the closet. Here’s how to keep your favorite pair pure all season.

-Wear jeans no more than two times before cleaning them.
-Avoid using chlorine bleach, which can cause yellowing. Instead use an additive-free version, like Vaska Oxygen Bleach (to buy: $7, poppyfieldsshop.com).
-When jeans begin to look dingy at the seams, add a half cup of White Brite (to buy: $14, walmart.com) to the washer and presoak for five minutes.

Summer Party Ideas

6 Jun

Summer fever is in the air and that means outdoor BBQ’S, roof deck soiree’s & get-together’s at the beach…

My husband and I just closed on our first home and we most certainly will be having a house warming party this summer (I hope). Not only do I want to share our new home with our friends and family, but I also desperately need to get rid of some of the elk meat from Jeff’s hunting trip in Colorado last October. So, an elk BBQ it is!..with the addition of some fun summer faves like these:

Frozen Grape Kabob’s. They are my favorite summertime cool-down treat, and so much better for you than a Popsicle.

Caprese Sticks. I make these at almost every party I host because they are just so easy. Drizzle with a little fig balsamic and there you have it!

A personal veggie cup? Ok, how come I haven’t thought of this before?

Strawberry Bruchetta? Yes, please! (it’s goat cheese, basil, & strawberry with a dash  of peach balsamic)

Instead of a Jello shot, try a Jello slice…(cut your fruit in half, pour in mixture & refrigerate. Once congealed, cut in half to make slices).

Prosciutto and melon skewers- to die for.

Mango salsa. Here’s the recipe I use click here

White sangria pops. oh, yessss!

Getting the Perfect Glow

31 May

Summer is basically here and let’s face it, you’re probably as pasty as Michael Jackson. The long, cold winter has had it’s way with you and the sight of your bikini body is blinding…It’s ok!

Over the last week I’ve been playing around with some fake tanning lotions and sprays and I’ve got a (temporary) solution for you until you can start basking and baking in the sun.

Luckily, these options are tried and true- so I promise you wont look orange and/or blotchy.

Here is what you’ll need.

Neutrogena Micro-Mist (I used the DEEP shade- but go with the lighter shade if your skin is lighter)

Neutrogena MicroMist Tanning, Sunless Spray, Deep

Clarins Tanning Lotion for face (optional)

Sugar Scrub (This one is from Bath & Body Works and is my favorite)

Forever Red Golden Sugar Scrub - Signature Collection - Bath & Body Works

Before you apply any of the above tanners, take a nice hot shower and exfoliate like a mad person with a soap scrub. Make sure to scrub particularly hard on the ankles, toes, knees and elbows.

When you get out of the shower, dry off and DO NOT apply any moisturizer or deodorant. I know this may be tough, but moisturizers and deodorants create barriers on the skin and make blotches. This leads me to my next tip…

I suggest doing your tanning prep/application in the afternoon. If you have an event, do your tanning ritual the afternoon before.

Next step, apply the tanning spray. Do this step outside- you will need good ventilation. If you can have someone apply it for you, even better…

Spay all over your body & get a nice coat. You will feel sticky at first, but this goes away in just a few minutes as it starts to dry.

For the face, you can apply the Neutrogena. But, make sure to spray it in your hand and apply manually. I’ve gotten good results that way- but I’ve also just sprayed my face, and that works, too. I would avoid getting in in your hair, so put a towel over your hair if you’re using the spray.

If you’re not planning to tan your whole body, and just want a nice glow on your face, apply the Clarins. It’s a great tanner that doesn’t smell too badly. However,  it’s for the face, only. I suggest taking a wet q-tip and wiping your eyebrows down afterwards. You really don’t want the tanning solution in your hair. Last spring, I had orange eyebrows for a month after tanning and going in the sun.

Don’t put any clothes on for about 10 minutes after your tanning session.

Your tan will develop over the next 3-6 hours, so don’t shower. I usually shower the next morning so that the solution really soaks in.

If you wake up and your too orange, just use the scrub to tone yourself down.

And now, you’re a bronze goddess.

How to Set the Perfect Table!

10 May

I’ve always struggled with remembering which side the fork, knife and spoon go on when setting a table. On top of remembering that, which side does the napkin go on AND what about the wine and water glass? I’m not saying I’m one of those people who stresses myself over this kind of stuff, but at the same time, there are occasions where it just might matter… So, I found this cool little chart and a ‘saying’ to live by so that remembering is no longer a problem!

perfect-table

To follow up, I thought it might be nice to share this diagram. What to do with it all once it’s set (in case you’re like me and always need a refresher)!

Bacon Weaving…

9 May

No words needed.

Mhhhhhhh *-*

Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Alfredo Pasta

7 May
Sweet roasted red peppers in a creamy and tangy goat cheese alfredo sauce served over pasta. How can you go wrong?

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo Pasta

Here’s the Recipe:

(Makes 2 servings)

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 Roasted Red Peppers, coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful basil
Directions
  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  2. Melt the butter in pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the cream, goat cheese, parmesan and roasted red peppers and simmer until the cheese has melted.
  4. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, add the basil and puree with a hand blender or in a blender or food processor.
  5. Serve hot over the pasta garnished with more parmesan and basil.

Beach Reads

6 May

Let’s start out by saying that I’m not a fan of reading for pleasure. I’m just not one of those people who can sit down with a good book and get lost in the afternoon. But,  I wish I was.  I must have some sort of A.D.D. because I simply can’t stay focused enough to read line after line…Unless of course it’s something like Fifty Shades of Gray, but that’s another story.

Luckily, I like to post things that my reader’s can relate to and enjoy- so this is one of THOSE posts…

Yesterday, on my flight home from Annapolis, I read (yes read) an article on the top beach reads. So, I wanted to share because it looked like there were some interesting books out there that even I might try.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Bestselling author Hosseini returns with an instantly relatable novel that follows generations of a troubled family across the Middle East.

For fans ofNew York: The NovelThe Kite Runner.

No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey

One woman is forced to surrender her aristocratic lifestyle when her husband loses his job—but the three friends who she finds in Manhattan pick her up one experience at a time.

For fans ofThe Girls’ Guide to Hunting and FishingSex and the City.

Nice is Just a Place in France by The Betches

The creators of Betches Love This tackle life’s difficult challenges (frenemies, boyfriends, hangovers) with a satirical guide about ‘how to win at basically everything.

For fans ofIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)Bossypants.

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Bestselling author of Prep Curtis Sittenfeld breaks new ground with this supernatural story you won’t be able to put down about twin sisters who can sense the future.

For fans ofHer Fearful SymmetryAmerican Wife.

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Set in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, two typists engage in an unforgettable flapper-era friendship.

For fans ofRules of CivilityThe Great Gatsby.

Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

A historical novel that introduces—and gets to the bottom of—Sigmund Freud’s intimate and scandalous love life.

For fans ofThe Paris WifeThe Chaperone.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

From debut writer DiSclifani comes a story that would make even Holden Caulfield Blush about teenage Thea Atwell and how she learns to find herself during a summer of sex and secrets.

For fans ofPrepThe Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel

Hope, a divorced mother who runs a bakery on Cape Cod, reconnects with her grandmother, whose onset of Alzheimer’s spurs the revelation of a family secret about the Holocaust.

 

Juliet in August by Dianne Warren

The Canadian town Juliet plays the main character in this tale of how a quirky cast of characters handles knowing everyone’s business but not speaking of it.

 

Salad Jars

3 May

Look at this fancy little idea. Perfect for healthy eating and advanced planning. I’m so sick of buying lunch at work because  it’s expensive and unhealthy. These salad jars are just the thing I need.

THE ARRANGEMENT
From BOTTOM to TOP:
Dressing
Shredded carrots
Cherry tomatoes
Sunflower seeds
Hard boiled eggs
Baby spinach

DIRECTIONS
1) Arrange ingredients in a large mason jar
2) Store in fridge for up to a week
3) When ready to eat: shake jar, place on a plate, and eat!

You can make any arrangement you want… you can add red onion, cucumbers, radishes or peppers. Always remember to put the dressing at the bottom and the lettuce at the top—a MUST. As long as the dressing does not touch the greens this will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week!

****NOTE****

If your making a few salads at a time for the week, you MUST remember to vacuum seal the Mason Jars. (Mason jars can be bought at Wal-mart, and various grocery stores) They must be vacuum sealed to remain fresh and crisp Here are two different ways to vacuum seal a mason jar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhb1gfVSB9Y

Non Foodsaver vacuum seal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMDfyRjfBbc

My Summer Must-Haves

26 Apr

Comfy Flip Flops

Vineyard Vines – $45.00 http://www.vineyardvines.com

Patchwork Seersucker Flip Flops

The new Phillip Phillips Album (love!) http://www.target.com

Kiel James Patrick Bracelets

How cute are these!? – $58 https://kieljamespatrick.com/product/936

Light-weight PJ’s

JCrew- $89 http://www.jcrew.com

Vintage short pajama set in stripe

Floral Print iPhone Cases

Lilly Pulitzer – $26.00 http://www.lillypulitzer.com

iPhone 4 Case

Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray – 28$ http://www.sephora.com

(Gives you that “just off the beach” look)

Bright colored/chunky necklaces

Stella and Dot – $228. (out of my $ range, but you get the idea)

Bamboleo Necklace

Mason Jar mugs for cocktails

6 for $30 http://www.poterybarn.com

(There’s nothing better than drinking from a mason jar in the summer)

Floral Prints

Loft Shorts – $44 http://www.loft.com

Ray-Bans in fun colors

Fresh flowers somewhere in your home

Maxi Dresses

JCrew Factory- $84 http://www.jcrewfactory.com

Factory V-neck chevron maxidress

Anything with an Anchor Print…

JCrew Factory- $36 http://www.jcrewfactory.com

Factory 3" printed stretch chino short

A good fake tan, $38 http://www.nordstrom.com

Clarins is my favorite brand of liquid bronze.

Rompers

Loft – $70 http://www.loft.com

Cherry Cheesecake

18 Apr

Cherry Cream Cheese Pie

This is my grandmother’s recipe, but I found the recipe online, too. Some of the recipes called it ‘cherry cream cheese pie’…

It is by far the easiest pie/cake I have ever made, and it’s my husbands favorite. So, that’s a win – win for me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 or 9-inch) prepared graham cracker or baked pie crust
  • 1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling, chilled

I made my own graham cracker crust:

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker
crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
2. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 7 minutes. Cool. If recipe calls for unbaked pie shell, just chill for about 1 hour.

Instructions:

  • BEAT cream cheese until fluffy in large bowl. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
  • POUR into crust; chill 4 hours or until set. Top with desired amount of cherry pie filling before serving.
  • TOPPING VARIATIONS:
  • BLUEBERRY: Omit cherry pie filling. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in medium bowl; mix well. Add 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice then 2 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries; mix well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until thick and clear. Cool 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool 15 minutes. Spread over pie. Chill thoroughly.
  • CRANBERRY: Omit cherry pie filling. Combine 1/3 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water and 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries; mix well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Spread over pie. Chill thoroughly.
  • FRESH FRUIT: Omit cherry pie filling. Just before serving, arrange well-drained fresh strawberries, banana slices (dipped in lemon juice and well drained) and blueberries on top of chilled pie. Brush fruit with light corn syrup if desired.
  • AMBROSIA: Omit cherry pie filling. Combine 1/2 cup Smucker’s® Peach or Apricot Preserves, 1/4 cup flaked coconut, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in small saucepan; cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Arrange fresh orange sections over top of pie; top with coconut mixture. Chill thoroughly.

5 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water in the AM

9 Apr
 Number 1
It balances pH–Lemon is an acidic food, but once metabolized, it becomes alkaline.  I work very hard at keeping my body alkaline.  Why?
Number 2
It keeps skin clear and glowing!   I have noticed this.  Hydration from drinking lemon water is great for moisturizing our skin from the inside out.  Lemon also contains lots of Vitamin C, which helps with wrinkles and blemishes.
Number 3
It kick starts the digestive system–a big glass of lemon water is a great way to start the day.  It encourages the liver to produce bile which in turn aids in digestion.  It increases urination which helps purify it.  It also helps with heartburn and constipation.
Number 4
It helps with weight loss–I have read that keeping the body in an alkaline state helps people lose weight faster.  Lemons are high in fiber pectin, which helps keep one full, longer.  They also have a diuretic effect, which helps with water weight gain.
Number 5
It helps control the coffee habit–I will drink coffee sometimes, but only if I have had my entire glass of lemon water.  Many days I feel like the lemon water wakes me up more than coffee does…
…which brings me to bonus Number 6:
It helps kick the pop (soda for you East Coast people) habit--I have found that adding lemon to sparkling water and adding a whole lot of ice satisfies any soda craving I might have.

Snacks for Spring: Fruit Salsa with Baked Cinnamon Chips

8 Apr

Ingredients:

For the fruit salsa:

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples – peeled, cored and diced
8 oz raspberries
1 (16 oz) carton of strawberries, diced
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp fruit preserves, any flavor (I used strawberry; would only use 2 tbsp next time)

For the cinnamon chips:

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray
Cinnamon sugar:
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar, and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees.
2. Coat one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle tortillas with desired amount of cinnamon sugar, cut into wedges, and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spray again with cooking spray (not necessary if using melted butter).

3. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture. This salsa can also be served with cinnamon graham crackers or cinnamon pita chips. Best when made and eaten the same day otherwise the fruit gives off too much juice and it gets runny!

Enjoy!

Orecchietta with Mini Chicken Meatballs

19 Mar

This recipe is basically like a deconstructed chicken parm….mmmmm.

Orecchiette pasta can be hard to find so you may need to venture to a pasta shop… But, the rest is easy peasy.

Picture of Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs Recipe

Ingredients

1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup grated Romano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, hot
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 ounces bocconcini mozzarella, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine.

Using a melon baller (or a teaspoon measure), form the chicken mixture into 3/4-inch pieces. With damp hands, roll the chicken pieces into mini meatballs.

In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the basil. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the chopped basil.

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