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watermelon-habanaro granita… with tequila!

happy Friday, friends.  I hope y’all have fun plans this weekend. 

Whether you have plans or not, you need to try this.  You will by far be the life of the party if you bring it to a friends’. Or you can be like me and be the life of my own party on my deck. 

My dear friend, Celia over at River Cat Chili in the heart of Austin, Tx, send me ( actually she sent Ryan the habaneros).  She grows all of her own peppers! 

She sent him chocolate habanero.. Check this out! 

  

Let me tell you… These are spiceeeeey! 

And

Oh.

So.

Good.

watermelon-habanero granita. ( plus a bonus 😎)

2 cups seedless watermelon

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 thin slice habanero pepper 

Start by blending all ingredients in a blender. 

Pour mixture in freezer-safe dish and cover. 

Place in freezer.  Every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, use the tines of a fork and scrape the top layer. ( mine took about 3 hours to be perfect) 

  

Serve I a chilled glass with a sprig of mint and or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice 

 You could stop here…. 

OR…  You can do what I’m going to do this weekend… 

  

I’m pouring that baby right over that glass and kicking my feet up! 

Enjoy your weekend!  

Ps… Another exciting giveaway coming up next week! 

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fruited ice water 

Good morning 🙂 
These days when you go to buy water there are soooo many options 

( seriously.. 20 years ago did you think we’d be buying water?) 

Since I personally am trying to drink more water, I’ve started making my own concoctions. And I love them! 

There’s no real recipe here..  Just combos to make water have more flavor and mix it up a bit! 
I am a hug fan of Ball jars and have been as long as I can remember. I use them for cooking, storing, eating and drinking! 
Each morning, I start my tea water and while I’m waiting for it to boil, I use 2 quart-sized jars and place different fruit combos in them 

Then fill with water and/or ice, place cap on and refridgerate! 

( these are also awesome because they are portable!) 

 
Here are some of my favorites..  

Lemon slices, cucumber slices and mint 

  Strawberry-basil! 

Cantelope- mint!  

 I also love apple- cinnamon  

 Pear-vanilla!  

What do you flavor your water with ?  

Related recipes 

Cantelope salad with prosciutto

Balsamic chicken salad with strawberries

Lemon ricotta gnocchi

gnocchi in a lemon-ricotta cream sauce with prosciutto and spring peas

so… Did I grab your attention?

I posted a picture on my personal Facebook page the other day promising the recipe to my friends.

Since ya’ll are my friends, I’m sharing with you too!

This all started after a disappointing gnocchi dish a few weeks ago while out celebrating a friends’ birthday.

Also responsible is me going to trader joes while very hungry. BIG mistake!

But this recipe came as a result of the trip, so everyone wins!

Trust me… You want to run out and get the ingredients today. This is amazeballs!

1 package gnocchi ( you can find it at most grocery stores near the dried
pasta)

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup ricotta cheese **
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh PEAS ( Tjs has a good sized bag of shelled peas for 4 bucks… If you can’t find fresh, use frozen petite peas)
2 – 3 slices Parma prosciutto
Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to garnish

(This whole meal can be made in 15 minutes )

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, In a skillet, over medium heat melt butter and olive oil ; add shallots and reduce to low. Season with salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes (shallots so start to wilt) add wine, stir to pic up any loose bits in the pan and simmer until liquid is decreased by half. Turn off heat.

When the water is boiling, add gnocchi. Stir. They should cook within 3-5 minutes. Test one. If it’s tender, add the peas and let cook 1 minute. carefully remove about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and reserve.

Drain gnocchi and peas and set aside.

Tear up prosciutto and add to now empty stockpot with a tiny bit of olive oil. They should start to crisp up.

Add ricotta directly to procuitto as well as the lemon zest and juice. Return gnocchi and peas back to the pot as well as the sautéed shallots and any remaining juice . Cover for 1 minute so that the ricotta warms up, then stir, adding reserved cooking liquid a little bit at a time until nice and creamy ( you may not need all of the liquid)

Season with salt and pepper

Serve in a large bowl and garnish with Parmesan and parsley.

Enjoy!

***. There are varying degrees of quality when it comes to ricotta

In a recipe such as this, it’s important to use a high quality cheese.
Most ricotta in the grocery store by the pre-packaged cheese are full of things that make it the consistency of jello. Yuck.

Many stores now offer fresh ricotta in the gourmet cheese section. It’s more expensive, but worth every penny.

You could attempt to make it yourself as I did HERE
It’s easy and fun, I promise!

Or, if you are lucky enough to live by a trader joes, they carry a fabulous… Almost as good as homemade whole milk ricotta for under 4 bucks! I should take stock in this cheese. I could easily live on it for the rest of my life!

Ciao! Go make this!

IMG_3436-3.JPGRelated recipes

Sweet pea salad with goat cheese

creamy buttermilk lemon-herb dressing

Yes. You heard me correctly.

Last night I had a couple of friends over to carve pumpkin ( yup… It’s not just for kids 😉)

I take any advantage to make PIZZA. Even if it’s Thursday night,not Friday.

( the pup was uber happy to get pizza crust a day early )
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Since I thought we should be all healthy ‘n stuff, I thought a salad was appropriate. Then I thought buttermilk dressing. And I was off!

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You’ll need

1/2 cup buttermilk ( sounds unhealthy… It’s actually low in fat )
2 TBSP Light mayo
2 TBSP creme freche or sour cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 TBSP olive oil
Chives, chopped ( I used a small bunch )
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Sea salt to taste

Add it all to a small mason jar ( heads up, there are measuring marks on the glass, so this is truly a one dish thing to make )

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Put the lid on and shake

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Taste for salt and pepper and enjoy!

Take that store-bought
dressing!

Oxoxox

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Boo!

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massaged kale salad

massaged kale salad

 

click link for recipe

friday smiles

friday smiles

 

click for link

flashback…. Ali’s graduation party

Hello friends 🙂

Our youngest daughter, Alison graduated from high school just 2 weeks ago.. And since we were sooo busy I’m just not getting around to posting about it.

It was a very special time. Both my boys and my daughter in law, Amanda, flew In for this special event.

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And of course, Scott

It all went by so fast..

We had her party the day after graduation simply because everyone was in town. I spent many hours thinking about the kind of party that I wanted to have for her. ( which was really good for me because it helped to keep my mind focused on that versus my life changes right in front of me)

The weather was less than desirable. In fact, downright miserable. Scott had wanted to have the party at a hall, but Ali and I really wanted a big white tent in the backyard.

Having it at home was also important to us as we knew that only 5 short days after the party we would be completely moved out and that this would be the last time that we would get together with our friends and families in this home.

I ended up calling and having sides to the tent added once I saw the forecast.. And the morning of the party I called and ordered a heater.. ( it was in the 40s, damp, windy and cold)

The heater was the best decision EVER!!

Everyone seemed to have fun ! It was so nice to have the majority of our families there and so many of Ali’s friends and a few of mine

Here are some random pics..

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Yes.. Flat Dave was the first party guest… With my family, I’m not surprised at all

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Ali with a few of her friends

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My adorable niece, Kalli

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Lots of family, including Scott’s 102 year old grandmother!!!

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A lot of the food I was able to make ahead

I served

Baked ziti
Chicken broccoli Alfredo
Sweet and sour meatballs
Lemon orzo salad
Anniversary chicken ( chicken with bacon and cheddar cheese)
Homemade pickles
Southwestern bean salad

Lots of snacks and drinks including homemade sangria!

I have all of the recipes that I used in case you are interested. Everything was easy to make a head of time and came out great ( I think)

Of course, I have zero pics of the food, except for the cake and cupcakes 😉

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It was everything that I envisioned her party to be.. We are all so proud of her!!

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It may have been cold and raw outside but it didn’t matter… The love inside that tent was awesome… ( not to mention the fabulous heater 😉 )

Oxox

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taking a bath..

here we are friends… Thanksgiving week.  For some it is exciting, for some it is a difficult time of the year.

 

I have been on both sides if that coin throughout the years…I wish that I had advice for friends of mine having a tough time this year.. just know that I am thinking of you 🙂

 

If you have been following me for a while, or happen to know me personally, then you know that cooking  Thanksgiving dinner is my FAVORITE thing to do in the world!  To me it’s not a chore, it’s a privilege. The days leading up to Turkey day are just as much of a holiday for me as the actual day, You can read more about that  HERE..

 

Today is the Tuesday before, which I have dubbed ‘ big shopping day’…. NO not he day where everyone comes out at 1 am in their pajamas and runs over fellow human beings also in the holiday ‘spirit’ in order to save a buck on GI joe…. I;m talking about the day that I get up very early, go shopping for all of the food that I will need to prepare my meal.

 

Being organized is key. If you know me then you know that organization … yeah… not so much for me, *I* am a multi-tasker. A multi tasker of epic proportions…

 

in fact, while I am typing this, I am doing laundry, wrapping Christmas presents ( the 2 that I have) talking to Ali, listening to some pretty music and bandaging up my finger.

 

All at once.   So to calm my self to a place where I focus on *JUST* shopping for this one meal… it’s a challenge.  But I work myself up for it… and each year I succeed.

 

early in the morning, the grocery store employees are really nice… not that they aren’t nice later in the day, but they are tired..  really tired.  And who could blame them?

You also met other nice ‘early morning’ people… I met a lady this morning who went out of her way to tell me what a great buy the sweet potatoes were.  And where to find them.  I told her about the nutritional benefits of them, next thing you know, we were having coffee and we booked a trip to the Bahamas for a weekend retreat together.

 

just kidding.   everything beyond the coffee part was silly….  but people can be so nice sometimes that it makes you remember why you are thankful.

 

*****  she’s a- rambling again*****…….  ok.. down to business.

on big shopping day, I don’t really do a lot of cooking.. a lot of it is prep….

 

I do make my CRANBERRY SAUCE….. ( which by the way the recipe was from my old friend Mr.s M  who NEVER steered me wrong with a recipe.

A few years back, Scott and I decided  to try to brine our bird.  Brining does a lot of things…. the salt brings out the impurities, the flavor of what you brine with gets taken into the bird, and the salt helps hole the moisture , making for a very moist, delicious bird… But there is one extra benefit that we discovered after a few years of trial and error.

 

stick with me here….here is what is in my basic brine

Kosher salt ( very important to not use baking salt) I use Morton’s in the big blue box

Sugar…  I used brown sugar

peppercorns

citrus…  assorted.. have fun with it!

I onion, peeled & chopped

 

fresh thyme, parsley,  sage, and Rosemary

 

In the past we have tried to mix the brine in a large bowl and keep in in the fridge….   one year we brined in the sink, taking turns to get up and add ice al night long ( to keep the temp cold enough.

 

then somewhere along the way, we learned about this….

 

to you it may look like a cooler, but for our turkey of the year, it is a deluxe bathtub…..

I start by boiling about a cup of water…  add the salt and the sugar to the *clean* cooler then add the boiling water and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.

 

cut the citrus in wedges and squeeze the juice in with the mix & drop the rinds right in there.  Rough chop the herbs, dump the peppercorns and fill the cooler halfway with ice.

Next, rinse the bird ( by now you should have named him…..  our bird this year is Theodore ) and careful submerge him in his custom made bath.

 

The only thing that is REALLY important here  you need to keep the temp 38 degrees or lower…  this is easy to do by adding ice cubes along the way…  just use a thermometer .. because you are using a cooler, the temp stays more regulated than if you used a bowl or bucket… Just make sure that you put the cover on tightly…

 

 

Now here Teddy is, all soaking…and you may be wondering.. what are the cranberries doing in there????  Truth is…  I ran out of ice and the temp wasn’t low enough…. but I did have an extra bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer……. so I added them, and presto, temp right where I wanted it to be 🙂

 

I usally brine for close to 48 hours.  anything for 24 on is fine.

 

the other cool thing about using a cooler, is that it frees up space in your fridge!  Teddy cam right from the store to his bath.. leaving my fridge open for all of the veggies that I look forward to preparing tomorrow!

 

sadly, after I got Teddy Bathing, I cut my finger pretty bad on broken glass in the basement.. timing couldn’t  be worse..  So I’m slacking on a little bit of the prep work this afternoon and taking it easy…..  but I have  all of the necessary things to wrap and protect it, so I’ll be ok.. and  full steam ahead in the morning!!

 

If you are cooking, have fun with it…. it you are a guest, have fun with that…. and if you are looking for a crazy after dinner tradition, come over to my house….  things get a little wierd Thanksgiving afternoon.

 

I can’t wait to share it all with you 🙂

 

be thankful <31

 

 

PST*****   Happy Birthday to my litte sister, Jodie!!!!!! whoo hoot!!!

 

 

 

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