May 28, 2015
My kids are nuts for lemonade and I think they may have been making it since they were about 3!
In the summer the kids enjoy both making and drinking lemonade infused with strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry. To make Strawberry Lemonade (or any fruit infused lemonade) as smooth as water, we make homemade simple syrups from whatever berry they are interested in. That way they get the full berry flavors with the plus of no chunks of fruit to clog their straws...They love it!
It's not bad with some vodka either ;)
Check out my post on how to make both the Strawberry Simple Syrup and the Strawberry Lemonade over on So Fab Food.
May 22, 2015
Who Loves Avocados??
If you love avocados, what's your favorite way to eat them? They are just so delicious and good for you to! You can work them into breakfast, lunch dinner or even dessert! Woot!!
Take a look at these gorgeous California Avocados that I was sent. They were
almost too pretty to eat...Almost!
What dishes would you whip up if a hoard of avocados landed on your doorstep?
California Avocados are in season now and puuurrrrfet! So look for them and make good things...lots and lots of deliciously good things. Then tell/show me via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram what they are so I can be inspired to make them too and share your creation with California Avocados!!
I decided to make a riff on traditional Eggs Benedict. I made Eggs Benedict with Avocados Sriracha Hollandaise & Avocado Cream. It was SO delicious. It exceeded my expectations. I wanted to incorporate some heat into the Hollandaise, plus add some extra straight up Sriracha then cool it down with some avocado cream. It may not be the prettiest dish you have ever laid your eyes on HOWEVER it all works together in perfect harmony!
THIS was spot on...I mean the yolk mingling with the avocados and double sauces and double...yes double bacon! It was one of those times you eat (even if you are by yourself) and with your mouth full...Utter sounds of delight like "ooomffff, oooohhhh, mmuufffppphhh!" Then you try to swallow real fast so you can experience it all over again, lol! That may or may not be a direct quote!
All I can say is EAT THIS!!!
This is my second recipe creation in partnership with California Avocados and so far, in my mind anyway, I am 2 for 2! I am trying to come up with things a little different. Last month we were asked to "California-ize" a dish. So I did did a riff on Garlic Bread, and called it California Garlic Bread.
So if you love California Avocados as much as I do...stay tuned to see what other delights I have in store for you!
Learn what makes California Avocados SO special. For recipe ideas, tips and everything avocado, visit their website, follow them on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram...You will not be disappointed!
Eggs Benedict with Avocado, Sriracha Hollandaise & Avocado CreamSriracha Hollandaise
Homemade or store-bought Hollandaise sauce
Make your Hollandaise sauce, then add some Sriracha sauce to it until you can taste the heat (or to your liking). If you need a great recipe - Alton Brown's is the best, and what I use!
1/2 TBS grapeseed or olive oil
2 TBS fresh lemon jucie
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Kpsher salt & Pepper
Combine all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste & adjust to your liking.
1 TBS vinegar
Bring water with 1 TBS vinegar about 3 inches deep to a boil in a saucepan (one that has a lid). Crack your egg into a small ramekin. With a spatula or large spoon, swirl the water vigorously until a small vortex appears. Quickly slide your egg into the vortex. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow your egg to poach 3 1/2 -5 minutes...depending on the size of the egg and your preference for the poach (set your timer). Quickly and gently scoop out your egg when done with a slotted spoon, and place it atop your Benedict base, season the egg and continue to build your Eggs Benedict..
Eggs Benedict Assembly
Flatbread (or English Muffin)
2 slices Canadian Bacon
4 slices of Avocado, seasoned
Crumbled bacon (why not!!)
If using an English muffin for a base, toast it. If using flatbread, cut a circle of flatbread for your base with a biscuit or pastry cutter. Lightly oil a pan and sear the bread on both sides, just until it is warm with the beginnings of a crunch.
Sear your Canadian bacon in the same pan. Place that atop your bread. Place your avocado slices atop your Canadian bacon, gently slide your poached egg atop the avocado, spoon on Hollandaise, use a small snack bag (snip off one corner) to squeeze some of your avocado cream over-top, drizzle additional Sriracha (if you want heat) and sprinkle bacon over-top.
Now you are ready to feast!! Keep repeating the recipe until you are full!
Some of my food blogger friends are also creating delicious avocado recipes this season...Check out these fabulous looking Salmon Meatballs with Avocado Cream, These stunning Avocado & Hemp Seed Arancini and this Egg & California Avocado & Eggs Flatbread Recipe (You know I love flatbread!).
May 14, 2015
Take a walk, a bike ride or drive around with your windows down and you are going to smell it...It's grill season!
How much use your grill gets used kind of depends on where you live unless you are one of those crazies (like me) that will grill in just about any weather or temperature...the post man has nothing on me when it comes to grilling! After all...food pulled hot from the grill just tastes SO good!!
My 10 year old daughter is almost always by my side in the kitchen, helping me prep or taking the lead on her own dishes. My 13 year old son is there sometimes. I think it may or may not have something to do with him & his buddies schedule when it comes to saving the world or something via his XBOX. Boys!
Anyway, Once Connor turned 13, I decided it was time he learned to understand the grill and so far he is enjoying it! It's a skill that most men possess (a lot of us do women too) so I figured I'd get him started.
I am working with Saber Grills this year on a Grilling With Kids Series. Check out my latest post over on their site and see a neat trick to teach your kids to tell how "done" a steak is. My kids and I share The 3 Things Every Kid Needs To Learn How To Grill. So why not start now?
Oh and if your kid wants to make a heart-shaped burger...go right ahead and let them!
May 11, 2015
My kids will at least try any fruit or vegetable I put in front of them...then they give their opinion. I've always asked them to at least try whatever it is I lay out for dinner. It seems to me that the repetitive exposure helps them decide then they can easily move from "what is that" to "can I have some more."
As a parent you've just got to love that! My 10 year old daughter regularly asks for Brussels Sprouts & Bacon for dinner...plain old steamed broccoli is a favorite of both my kids and fruit...well I can never have enough fruit in the house!
One area which I know I can do better when it comes to feeding my children is frozen treats. The kids and I make our own water ice, sno cones & ice cream from time to time...but they could eat something frozen every-single-day...then it hit me! Why not simply use a great good for you juice like Bolthouse Farms, combine it with some vanilla yogurt and make better-for-you popsicles that they can eat till their heart is content!
No cutting, no juicing, no mess...easy peasy!
So that's what I did...why did it take me this long to do that??
When I heard about The Produce For Kids Healthy Eating Campaign, I knew I would happily be a part of it! After all it is a seriously great mission!
In addition, the Produce for Kids campaign, which has raised $5 million for children’s charities since 2002, will raise funds to benefit charities that support children, including Produce for Kids’ primary philanthropic partner Feeding America as well as other local community children’s organizations.
“It is our mission to educate families about the benefits of eating nutritious produce as part of a healthy lifestyle,” said John Shuman, president of Produce for Kids. “We are extremely proud of the $5 million we have raised thus far to support local children’s charities and are excited to partner with Feeding America this year to help fight childhood hunger.”
Many fabulous food brands are supporting Produce For Kids! I love supporting brands that
find great ways to give back!
Some of the grocery retailers participating in the include ACME Markets, Associated Wholesale Grocer’s Major Savings, Advantage, Independent, Country Mart, Homeland and United Divisions, Meijer Stores, Niemann Foods, Inc., Price Chopper, Publix Super Markets and Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc.
Also, be sure to check out Produce for Kids on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for more info on the campaigns, healthy eating tips and tricks and delicious recipes that call for spring produce!
2 Ingredient Fruit & Yogurt Popsicle's
15.2 oz bottle of Bolthouse Farms fruit juice
(I used both Amazing Mango & Berry Boost)
8 oz your favorite vanilla yogurt
In your popsicle molds, simply combine yogurt and juice, freeze overnight and serve! Gently add in the yogurt 2-3 teaspoons per mold, gently pour juice over-top each yogurt addition. Makes enough for 6 standard sizes popsicle molds.
May 7, 2015
How about making hot & delicious Garlic Knots fresh from your oven in under 20 minutes start to finish?
As a tween/teen one of my favorite treats were the Garlic Knots from the local pizza place. My friends an I would take the 15-20 minute walk to the local shops, stop at Pizza City and order a few knots then lick our fingers on the walk home. Maybe it was the taste of freedom, of being on our own with a little bit of money as we began to spread our wings and tinker at the adults we were to soon become...but those hot &buttery bites were the bomb!
Flash forward to today...I often have a houseful of kids hanging out, ages 10-13, Garlic Knots are one of those quick dishes that can a crowd of kids look forward to with eager anticipation and devour with enthusiasm! Plus they then all think you are a rock star because you made them, lol!
You know I like making people happy through food :)
Personally, I'd choose some steaming hot hunks of deliciously cooked dough slathered in garlic and butter over pizza any day! I like to dip mine in a little bit of pizza sauce, mmmm!
Maybe its a Philly thing? I grew up in Philly...you know home of the soft pretzels (yum!) so to me getting my hands on a hot crispy dough in the form of a pretzel, garlic knot or Stromboli even is a magically delicious experience...still! !
I don't bother making my own pizza dough, and I don't buy it frozen from a store. Instead, I pop in my local pizza place and get 1-2 disks of pizza dough. No mess, no work, no wait. I use it for a variety of our favorite dishes like breakfast pizzas, flatbreads and pizza bites.
My pizza guys take each disk of dough out, love it up for a minute with a little extra flour, nestle it into a box and home we go....for $2.50 per dough...you can beat it! I let the pros make it for us!
A hot oven plus the dough, butter, garlic and seasonings are all you really need to make yourself some Garlic Knots and if you want to load them up with some fresh herbs, cheese and butter like I did the last time I make them then goooo right ahead, betcha no one will complain!
Another great use for Pizza Dough is this fun & delicious
Homemade Garlic Knots
1 disk of pizza dough
2 TBS olive or grapeseed oil
1 stick butter
4-5 cloves of garlic
Kosher salt & pepper
1-2 TBS chopped parsley
Optional: Pizza sauce
Extras for Loaded Garlic Knots: Mozzarella cheese & crispy bacon
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your dough on a clean, floured surface. Using a pizza cutter cut the dough in half, Then pick up the dough and work it a little with your hands to stretch it out. I am not a pizza pro which means no throwing it up in the air for me. Instead I think of it as a steering wheel and turn, turn turn the dough allowing its own weight to stretch it out a bit. until its about 1/2 inch thick and in rectangle shape .
Cut the dough into strips about 8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. To shape into a knot simply...gently tie it as you would a shoe by making an "x" then looping one end through, pull it gently until the knot is loosely formed, then tuck the ends under and place it on your lightly floured baking sheet, pizza tray or stone. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Be sure to leave room between each knot since they will rise while baking.
Brush the knots with a bit of oil, then pop them into the oven.
Melt the butter, mince the garlic and combine the two into a small bowl. Season with some salt and pepper, stir it up well and if you like add in 1 TBS chopped parsley. Once the knots begin to turn golden, remove them from the oven (10-14 minutes...depending on size and preference of the color of the crust). Immediately dunk them one by one (or use a pastry brush) into the butter mixture and serve.
To make the loaded Garlic Knots 2-3 minutes before the garlic knots are done to your liking, pull them out of the oven and quickly brush them with the garlic butter mixture, sprinkle them with Mozzarella cheese and place them back into the oven until done. Pull them out, brush them again with a bit of the garlic butter mixture, sprinkle with bacon and some extra parsley and serve.
Colleen's Notes: We are garlic lovers, so the fresh taste of garlic on these knots is a welcomed bite. If you want less of a "bite" from the garlic, simply melt your butter in a small pot along with your minced garlic. A couple minutes of heat will tame the garlic down a bit.
May 1, 2015
Looking for Cinco de Mayo Cocktail Inspiration?
I can't get enough Mexican food..I think about some form of it almost daily! You?
And the cocktails for Cinco de Mayo? Ummm...heck yes to any Margarita or tequila inspired cocktail! I am in!
Casa Noble and Corona Extra have teamed up to come up with a few fun cocktails to celebrate Cinco de Mayo that should make both beer lovers and cocktail lovers excited! Icy cold beer combined with truly delicious tequila and a few other add-ins, yield some delicious results!
I made their Corona Sunrise, I liked the idea of citrus in the combination. It was pretty to look at, crisp and delicious!
My friend Linda from the food & cocktail website, Giggles Gobbles & Gulps knows her spirits...after all she was a bartender. She made this Cucumber Chelada Beer Cocktail that I am going to try this weekend. It looks and sounds so delicious and refreshing!
Who is ready for some Cinco de Mayo funnnnn??
Thank you to Corona Extra & Casa Noble for sponsoring this post, as usual, all opinions are my own.
One of the most important factors in a great tequila is the agave. Casa Noble is a distillery as well as an agave grower with more than 3000 acres of agave fields in the hills by the city of Tequila. The agave is grown without chemicals which yields an organic tequila that just one taste is all it will take to make you a fan. I love the cork! Once I uncorked the bottle, I stood and inhaled the fragrant scent and I smiled. I knew I was in for a treat! The beautiful bottle the extra touch of a cork, the smell the pure taste...Casa Noble is a quality (and delicious) tequila!
I am kindof obsessed with the stopper :)
Corona Extra is at just about every party we host or attend - everyone just loves the flavor. Adding it to this cocktail is a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This is a great partnership!
1.5 oz Casa Noble Crystal
2 oz orange juice
1 oz grenadine
Combine Casa Noble and orange juice in a pint glass, add grenadine and ice then fill with ice-cold Corona Extra, garnish with an orange wheel and enjoy!
Colleen's Notes: I chose to make this with fresh squeezed Minneola (Honeybell) juice and it was delicious! I can't get enough of them this season!