Category Archives: Life

Summery Citrus Blanc

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This weekend was incredible! We went to a Cubs game and despite the weather in the morning, it turned out to be a beautiful day.  The Cubbies pulled out a win!!  We went to several of our favorite pre and post game spots as well as some new ones.  There as one theme I noticed at each bar, skinny cocktails.  These cocktails seem to be all the rage since the release of Skinnygirl margaritas.  I have to say they are pretty delicious, but the hubby and were looking for something a little different while grilling out.  We had several things on hand and just decided to experiment.  Well after a few failed attempts, this was the recipe we settled on.  It is so delicious, and for under 50 calories per drink you cannot go wrong.  This will definitely be an easy go to summer drink for us.  The below recipe makes one drink.

Summery Citrus Blanc

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces Savingnon Blanc wine

3/4 ounce Triple Sec

1/4 lemon juiced

1/2 lime juiced

cut lemons and limes for garnish

 

Add 1 cup of ice to a cocktail shaker.  Juice the 1/4 lemon and 1/2 lime in the shaker.  Add the vodka, wine, and triple sec.  Shake vigorously, then strain into highball glass filled with ice.  Garnish with additional lemons and limes. Enjoy!

Champagne Punch

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We had such a busy, but rewarding weekend.  We stained and painted our porch this weekend with the help of my wonderful in laws.  It seems like with each passing day we are working on projects that make me in awe that is is our house.  Everyone of course has their dream mansion, but to me this home is my dream.  We are making it in to our own each day more and more, and when we decide to move some day it will have given us so many memories.This weekend really solidified how much we are doing to make this our own home.  It looks wonderful! I cannot wait for it to dry so we are able to grill on it and I can post pictures.  But, don’t tell anyone the picture was taken on our still drying newly stained deck!

Well, as you can see we have had quite the weekend, so we thought a cocktail was in order to celebrate. While watching , the show,Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello”, we saw an amazing light cocktail.  Well, let me digress for a second.  when we were in Napa and Sonoma, I was able to meet and talk with Chef Chiarello at Bottega it was AMAZING!

Now that I have shamelessly plugged one of my favorite chefs in the world, back to what I was saying.  My hubby found an amazing light cocktail, which mimicked the light notes in Chef Chiarello’s cocktail, but was very different in flavor.  It truly made both of us smile at the thought of toasting to our new porch.

Champagne Punch

from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

1 thinly sliced peach
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Simple Syrup
1 bottle champagne or other sparkling white wine (We used Cava)
 
Directions

In a pitcher, combine ice, peach, raspberries, blueberries, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Slowly pour in champagne or other sparkling white wine.

Avocado, Tomato, and Mango Salsa

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When Friday rolls around at 3 pm, most people are  just trying to get through the next couple hours to start their weekend.  I am sitting there instead thinking about all the amazing things that I want to make over the weekend and how I can incorporate them into our weekend plans.  This weekend is no exception.  We are going to our first Symphony on the Prairie  tomorrow night!  This is something the hubby and I absolutely love going to, and this time we are going with some good friends so I can make a larger amount of food then normal.  This made my mind race with recipes, and I was sitting at work reeling to get home so I could start my menu items for tomorrow.  I decided on a Mexican theme for the evening.  Our appetizer is going to be this delicious salsa. I have been in love with this salsa since the first time my mother-in-law made it for us.  Trust me once you make it, you will end up eating it with a spoon and forgetting about tortilla chips.

Avocado, Tomato, and Mango Salsa

from Allrecipes

Ingredients

1 mango – peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic. Stir in the salt, lime juice, red onion, and olive oil. To blend the flavors, refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.

Tex-Mex Casserole

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So this past weekend we went to Chicago for 24 hours, yes I said 24 hours! And let me tell you, we packed so many great things into that time.  We went to the Cross town Classic and our Cubbies WON, then we went to ride the ferris wheel at Navy Pier since the hubby had never been.  We decided that night we would do what we love best, trying 3 or 4 restaurants and getting an appetizer and cocktail at each. We went to Dick’s Last Resort, Bin 36, House of Blues, and Smith and Wollensky.  It was such a great night! Then we returned home to pick our little doggies up and go out to the in-laws.  It was a wonderful BBQ with family, and also I have to admit I loved seeing my little Killian on a pool raft.

So after a simply AMAZING holiday weekend, I needed something comforting yet light.  This seemed to fit the bill in my mind, but I was unsure how it would come together.  I mixed a couple of our favorite dishes, and then added some extras hoping to give it more flavor.  Let me tell you, it turned out great!  The dish had the comforting macaroni taste, yet it was so light.  It also had the wonderful spice level I was hoping to achieve.  My hubby added a little hot sauce and taco sauce to the top of his, and the flavors truly began to pop. It is a quick and easy meal too, beacause I made it before tennis and popped it in the oven with no hassle when we came home.

Tex-Mex Casserole

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup sweet onion, grated
1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon 25 % Less Sodium Montreal Steak seasoning
16 oz. crushed tomatoes
1- 10 oz can of Rotel Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups frozen corn
2 ounces shredded Mexican 4 Cheese blend
1 1/2 cups dried macaroni style pasta
1 cup shredded Mexican 4 Cheese blend

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray.  In large skillet brown ground beef with onions, bell pepper and red pepper flakes. Season with Magic Dust or steak seasoning.  Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, oregano and chili powder. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the frozen corn and simmer for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the 2 ounces of cheese until melted. Gently stir in the cooked pasta. Pour all into prepared casserole dish and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

Let me introduce myself

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By profession I am a scientist, by choice I am a chef. I love to cook different and exciting things. I cannot wait to share my culinary travels with you. My husband is wonderful in being my tester for all new recipes, and our two adorable dogs love to sniff what I’ m cooking. Cannot wait to share my first recipe with you!