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Thirsty-Thursday--Blackberry Cape Cod

I love a Cape Cod on a hot evening.
Tart and fresh.
It makes a great cocktail.

I especially love a Cape Cod cocktail mixed with other fruit.
Sometimes just for a little extra sugar kick,
without the added refined sugar.

This cocktail is one of those perfect fruit combinations--
cranberry, blackberry, and lime.

Blackberry Cape Cod

8 blackberries
1/4 lime, quartered
6 ounces cranberry juice
3 ounces vodka
lime wedge

In a shaker, combine the blackberries and limes.  Muddle the fruit until you release all of the juice.  Add ice, cranberry juice, and vodka.  Shake until well combined.  Pour into a glass over ice and garnish with a lime wedge.


Spinach Artichoke Jalapeño Poppers

One of my very best friends is allergic to all green peppers.
I think that being allergic to peppers is about as bad a being allergic to peanut butter.
I feel so bad for her.

Actually, I try really hard to be an awesome friend though.
I read ingredients on jars, ask waiters if there are any peppers in certain dishes, and always make food without peppers of any type when she is joining me for dinner.

I made these when she didn't come over.
I made these mainly for me (and the hubs).

Spinach Artichoke Jalapeño Poppers

1- 6 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1-10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 ounces shredded provolone cheese
2 ounces shredded fontina cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
10 jalapeño peppers, halved with seeds removed
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
20 slices center-cut bacon
canola oil

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the artichoke hearts, spinach, cheeses, and garlic powder.  Place the jalapeño peppers on a flat surface and stuff liberally with the cheese mixture.

Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon.

Heat your grill to 400 degrees.  Rub the grill with canola oil lightly (this will help them to not stick).  Place all the peppers on the grill.

Cook until the bacon is done, about 20 minutes, turning twice.


Foodista Feature

I'm so excited!!!

You all know how I love a cocktail and today my 

was chosen as the drink of the day on 

Please stop by Foodista and check it out!!

Thirsty Thursday--Blueberry Margaritas

I think that berries go exceptionally well in a margarita.

I've made them with strawberries, blackberries, and now blueberries.
(When I venture to the farmer's market this summer, who knows what we'll be able to make.)

The berry margaritas are usually a bit sweeter than citrus fruit, 
but I'm not complaining.
It's really just what kind of taste you are going for...
a little more sweet or a little more sour.

Both are great.

For these margaritas I made the simple syrup infused with the blueberries.
They don't muddle very well and I really wanted to get all of the flavor from these little berries.
It's  a little bit more trouble (having to think ahead)
but worth the effort.

Blueberry Margaritas

For the blueberry simple syrup:

1 1/2  cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups blueberries

For the margaritas:

3 ounces blueberry simple syrup
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
3 ounces tequila
1 ounce Grand Marnier (or any other type of Orange Liqueur)
lime wedge
coarse salt

To make the simple syrup:

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water, and blueberries. Using a wooden spoon or a potato masher, mash the blueberries to release as much juice as possible.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Allow the mixture to boil for 8-10 minutes or until it is thickened to the consistency of a syrup.  Strain the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely. At this point you can refrigerate the mixture and keep for about a week.

To make the margaritas:

In a shaker filled with ice, add the blueberry simple syrup, lime juice, tequila, and Grand Marnier.  Shake until well mixed and pour into a glass garnished with coarse salt.  Garnish with a lime wedge.


I was featured on

Foodista Drink Blog of the Day Badge

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Do you ever just want to make something for dinner that is completely bad for you,
but tastes so good.
One of those dishes that is a total guilty pleasure.
Even using lower-fat ingredients doesn't minimize the guilt in this dish.

But, oh well, we only live once and
Mexican Chicken Casserole
is one of those meals that you must eat over and over to make sure that life doesn't suck.

(There are probably a million different recipes out there for this dish,
but this one is a remake of the one that my Mom always made, 
and I absolutely love it--I hope that you will too.)

Mexican Chicken Casserole

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (I used Tony's)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used 98% fat-free)
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used 98% fat-free)
1 can Rotel
1 bag tortilla chips, crushed
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 jalapeño, sliced
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized pan, heat the olive oil and saute' the onion and garlic until translucent and soft.  Set aside.  Place the chicken tenderloins in a large pot and cover with water.  Season with the cajun seasoning.  Cook until done (about 15 minutes).  Remove from the water and allow to cool.  Once the chicken is cooled, shred.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, onions, garlic, soups, and rotel tomatoes.  Mix well.

In a prepared casserole pan, spread a thin layer of tortilla chips across the bottom.  Next, spread the chicken-soup mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) over the chips, top with 3/4 cup cheese.  Repeat the layers again.  Top with another thin layer of chips and cover with more cheese.  Top with the sliced jalapeños.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is warmed through.

Serve with sour cream.


Spinach Dip

This is one of my "go-to" appetizers.

I always try to keep the ingredients handy for when someone pops over and I need a quick dip.
It is oh so good.
Simple to make and you really can't stop eating it.

I served this at a party the other night and was asked why I haven't put this on my blog, yet???

I don't really know why I haven't before because it is one of my all-time favorite recipes.

( I think that I got this recipe from my boss way back in college when I worked at a wholesale eyeglass company.
I'm really not sure, though.)
Who ever did give me the recipe, THANKS!!!)

Spinach Dip

1 package frozen chopped spinach (10 ounces)
1 can sliced water chestnuts, minced
1/2 bunch green onions, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise (adjust according to taste--I used about 3/4 cup)

Thaw and drain the spinach well.  Place in a medium sized bowl.  Add the minced water chestnuts, green onions, cayenne pepper, salt, and mayonnaise.  Stir to combine.

Serve with your favorite crackers (I used wheat thins).


Sweet Links

Here are a few sites that I've been stalking recently.

I been dreaming of water lately...
I don't know if I would ever leave my house if this were my porch.

See more gorgeous relaxing places here.

I can't wait to try these and these ...they look great.

I'm feeling a little bit obsessed with this blog--
the food looks absolutely divine.
(Don't you just love when you find a new site--so inspiring.)

Hopefully I'll feel crafty and try this.

This dress and this one are calling my name.

I want to have a dinner party just like this one.

Strawberry Mint Lemonade Bourbon Fizz

I tend to stay away from cocktails with dark liquor.
It usually brings back bad memories of way too fun parties.

But something took over my senses and I decided to make a cocktail with bourbon.
A few weekends ago I made my recipe for blackberry lemonade and decided that some strawberry mint lemonade would be perfect.

Even more perfect would be strawberry mint lemonade with bourbon.

And, I was right.

It might be one of my new favorite cocktails.
I know that the name is a little long, but you will drink it in no time flat.

Strawberry Mint Lemonade Bourbon Fizz

3 ounces strawberry mint lemonade*
2 ounces bourbon
mint leaves
club soda

Combine the lemonade, bourbon, and 2-3 mint leaves in a shaker with ice and shake until well combined.  Pour into a glass filled with ice and top with club soda.  Garnish with mint leaves.

For the lemonade:

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups simple syrup
3 cups water
1 cup strawberries
20 mint leaves

Combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, and water in a pitcher.  In a glass, muddle the strawberries and mint leaves and strain with a fine mesh sieve.  Pour juice into the pitcher and mix well.


Blueberry Muffins

I kind of went blueberry crazy over the weekend and ended up with several blueberry recipes that I will be sharing soon.
I'm not a huge fan of blueberries by themselves.
I would rather eat strawberries or blackberries,
but I think that they are great cooked in things.

Kind of like these blueberry muffins.

The blueberries in these muffins actually burst while cooking.
Super delicious.

Blueberry Muffins
(recipe adapted from The Kitchen Paper via Joy the Baker cookbook)

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups blueberries
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and prepare a muffin pan with either butter or liners.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Continue to cook the butter, as it crackles and pops, until the crackling stops and the solids have turned a medium-brown color.  Remove from heat and pour the butter into a separate dish, as not to burn it.  Let the butter cool at least 10 minutes.

Whisk together the milk, cream, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until fully combined.  Add the brown butter and whisk together.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix to combine, then add the wet ingredients all at once.  Stir gently to combine. (This mixture will be thick.)

Fold in the blueberries, and divide the batter into the muffin tin.

For the topping, use clean fingers to combine the butter, flour, and sugar until crumbly.  Divide among the muffin cups, topping each muffin liberally.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Muffin should be golden and crisp on top, and a cake-tester will come out clean.

Let the muffins cool 15 minutes in the pan before removing.


June Book Club

Our book club this month was so much fun.
We decided to keep it sweet and simple.
We did spice it up a little bit with our book, though.

Mexican Food + easy read= great book club
The restaurant that we chose had great margaritas and delicious Tex-Mex food.

Our book for this month was a little bit risque'.
We like to call it "Summer Smut".

I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that we read this book for our book club.
No pulitzer prize winner, 
but it was an ok storyline.

A lot of our group thought that it compared with 50 Shades.
I think that the story is a little more complex, and the writing was better.

Here's a great synopsis.

Next month we are going to read one of my favorite authors--

We've read her books before and next month we are reading

Here's what Good Reads says about it.

Here are a few others that I read in June and am currently reading now.

I'm about half-way through this one and Dan Brown never disappoints.
I always feel a little bit smarter after I finish one of his novels.
I love all of the history and suspense.
I'm loving it.

The last Sookie book,
I'm a little bit sad.
I guess I will have to be satisfied with this summer's True Blood
(even thought it hasn't followed the books at all!!!).

I've also read about 10 romance novels.
I don't know what's up with that,
but they are easy reads and quite enjoyable.

What are you reading??

Thirsty Thursday--Strawberry Margaritas

I'm back with another one of my favorite cocktails--the margarita.
This time I'm sharing my recipe for Strawberry Margaritas.

It's the perfect sweet treat for a hot summer night.
Strawberries are in perfect season right now and are so sweet and delicious.

Strawberry Margaritas

3 ounces strawberry puree
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce Grand Mariner
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce lime juice
sugar/coarse salt
strawberries for garnish
lime wedges for garnish

In a shaker over ice, combine all ingredients and shake until well combined.  Serve with a lime wedge and strawberry in a glass rimmed with lime juice and sugar/salt mixture.


The Best Meatloaf--Pioneer Woman

I absolutely love Ree from the Pioneer Woman.
I think that we would probably be friends if we lived close to each other.
We would share recipes and laugh over the silly things that Charlie does.

I also absolutely love her cookbooks.
Every recipe that I make from them is exceptional.
Good, comforting food.
That's what she is all about.

I've made this recipe a  few times and it gets better every single time I make it.
Yes it is meatloaf--but not school cafeteria meatloaf.
This meatloaf is so full of flavor that you can't even believe that you are eating meatloaf.
(If that makes sense!!)

The Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf
(recipe from Pioneer Woman)

 For the meatloaf:

1 cup Whole Milk
6 slices White Bread
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
3/4 teaspoons Salt
 Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
4 whole Eggs, Beaten
10 slices Thin/regular Bacon

 For the sauce: 

1-1/2 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
 Tabasco To Taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.
Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)
Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.
Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Slice and serve with remaining sauce.