{Things I Love} :: August 2017

Things I Love August 2017
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Hey guys! Can you believe Summer is almost halfway over (or more??) Time really does fly when you’re having fun, doesn’t it!¬†Summer is truly my favorite season and as August rolls in, I’ve had a great one so far! Lots of trips to see family and friends in Upstate New York, my guy down in South Florida and West Coast Florida to St Petersburg and Clearwater Beach, and fun weekends in the city and beaches in NYC.


As much as I love the beach and warm weather and sunny days, I start thinking about the crisp Fall days ahead – and all the delicious comfort food recipes and seasonal produce coming into play that makes my heart skip a beat..cozy soups, fresh gorgeous salads and hearty casseroles and pies and roasted dinners..mmmmm. But wait..it’s only August…

So to celebrate the season, here’s a few shoutouts to some of the amazing and fun places, people, recipes and things I’ve been loving on this Summer – it’s not quite over yet! Hope you’re having a fantastic one yourselves and getting plenty of delicious bites and drinks, travel, quality time with friends and family, and some sun, sand and surf in too.

Cocktails at Sandbar in the sun…and gorgeous sunsets on the west coast of Florida…and that’s just the beginning.

Sunset

So here’s a salute to the best Summer ever and a few of my favorite things worth a shout out….

Sandbar Delray

Boston’s Sand Bar, Delray Beach

I recently visited Boston’s Sand Bar in Delray Beach with my boyfriend after a day at the beach and what a fun place this is! They have great happy hour specials everyday with 1/2 price beer, wine and cocktails and beach bar bites like Smoked Fish Dip, Conch Fritters, Peel and Eat Shrimp, Mojitos and Margaritas.

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Definitely a fun casual spot with a Tiki Bar and beach vibe for a relaxing weekend afternoon in the sun on the patio…cornhole, music, beach, cocktails, sun, loungy couches…what else can you ask for?

Edna Lewis's Peach Cobbler

Edna Lewis’s Peach Cobbler

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing better in the Summer than a baked fruit cobbler – especially fresh peaches topped with crisp buttery pastry and vanilla ice cream – definitely something to scream about and a fav refreshing, juicy Summer dessert!

Kingsley Street Soaps

Kingsley Street Artisan Soaps + Candles + Lotions, Syracuse NY

I am such a sucker for Summer Arts Festivals and I found this awesome soap, candles and lotions company at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester, NY last weekend! The scents are amazing and made with all natural ingredients – I absolutely LOVE their Sandalwood soap and Tobacco Leaf & Amber candle. Divine.

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Harpoon Harry’s, Punta Gorda FL

My boyfriend and I stopped in here last minute on our way back home from St Pete, FL one night to take a quick break from driving and make a pit stop. We stumbled upon the town of Punta Gorda, a sleepy little marina town in Florida and discovered the Fisherman’s Village on Charlotte Harbor, where this place is located, and it had the most stunning sunset and waterside views I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a fun, casual bar and restaurant (think Popcorn Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Raw Oyster Bar and Grouper Sandwiches – yum!) and definitely worth a stop if you’re driving down the coast of West Florida. They even have this amazing Sea Foam sugar scrub in the bathrooms to add to the ambience.

yeahhhhhh…I think I could live here ūüėČ

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

This is one of my favorite Summer recipes ever. I created it for my client 7 Barrels, with their delicious Sweet Basil Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar to make a gorgeous fresh tomato sauce with garlic and onions and then topped it the pasta with fresh basil, ricotta and parmesan cheese. So easy and light – it’s truly Summer in a Bowl.

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The Classic East concert, Citifield NYC

A few weekends ago my Sister came to town for The Classic East concert which was amazing! All the classic 70’s bands were playing over 2 days out at Citifield stadium. We saw Journey, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan and The Eagles! All my favorite bands on the planet!!!

Visit our Facebook page with more fun concert photos and live videos from the event!

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Dim Sum at Grand Restaurant, Flushing NY

On Sunday that same weekend, we decided to meet up with my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jim for some Dim Sum at the Grand Restaurant in the New City Mall in Flushing, (Chinatown in Queens). If you have never had Dim Sum before, you’re in for a treat! They basically sit you down at a big table and the servers come by with rolling carts full of Chinese appetizers and small plates and you order whatever you want off the cart and they tally up your bill as you go! We had delicious dumplings in all flavors, fried shrimp, saut√©ed Bok Choy, a delicious Coconut Gel, Mango Rice Pudding and Custard Egg Tarts for dessert. So delish and fun! But beware, all those small bites add up fast!

green chili chicken lasagna

Green Chile Chicken Lasagna, Son of a Southern Chef

I just discovered the awesome food blog, Son of a Southern Chef, who is nominated for a Saveur Blog Award this year – I love his Southern comfort food recipes, writing style, graphics and sassy voice and attitude! This Green Chile Chicken Lasagna is definitely on my list of recipes to try, along with his Mac & Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie, etc..yum!

Love Ceramics

Love Ceramics @love_ceramic

I just stumbled upon this Instagram page of Love Ceramics today and absolutely love their gorgeous colors and patterns! Perfect props for my food photography and just all around artsy and cool. LOVE is right ūüėČ

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars, Evoke Muesli

I recently discovered these guys at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester NY last weekend too and love their organic muesli..especially the Cocoa Cherry Chai flavor! This recipe for no-bake protein bars sounds awesome for the Summer for a quick high protein snack when you need some energy.

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour, Drinking with Chickens

I have not made this drink yet but I absolutely love Pisco Sours and anything made with chocolate and cherries. So there ya go. On my bucket list to make before the end of summer. YUM. And Drinking with Chickens is the funnest name EVER for a cocktail blog so you need to vote for them in the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards for best cocktail blog because – the chickens. #OMG.

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw, Rachael Ray Show

Hello, spicy chicken sandwich on steroids. I think I love you. 

Pincher's Crab Shack

Pincher’s Crab Shack, Naples FL

Another fun place my BF and I discovered on our little road trip down the West coast of Florida a few weeks ago for his birthday. It’s a fun crab shack nestled on the coast of Naples, where you can eat to your heart’s content a massive amount of fresh seafood at Happy Hour from 4-7 pm. 1/2 price drinks and super cheap goodies like peel & eat shrimp, clam chowder, crab legs, and raw oysters for $1 with a killer view on the water? Fork, yeah.¬†

Peachy-Chipotle-Chicken-Tortilla-and-Avocado-Rice-Salad-with-Pan-Fried-Halloumi-1

Peachy Chipotle Chicken Tortilla and Avocado Rice Salad w/ Fried Halloumi, Half Baked Harvest

Um, yessss. More peaches. Mixed together with tons of lovely ingredients to make a super delish salad – cilantro, lime, fried halloumi cheese, chicken, greens, all tossed in a vinaigrette dressing and topped with tortilla chips and jalape√Īos. Could this be the perfect salad in my life? Yeah, I think so.

Grilled Flatbread recipes

5 Grilled Flatbread Recipes for Summer, Culture Mag

OK so Summer isn’t over yet right? And let’s not put away the grill too soon either! Culture Mag does it again with these five awesome grilled flatbread recipes – Corn Chowder Flatbread, Eggplant Relish and Ricotta, Shrimp and Mixed Herb Pesto, Prosciutto-Melon, and Tomato-Peach with Blue Cheese and Basil. YUM!

Check out my Instagram feed to see some more fun photos of my food, music and travel adventures ūüôā

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my Artful Gourmet Facebook page too for more adventures and photos and videos. Hope you guys are having a rockin’ Summer! Stay tuned for my Fall favs next month ūüôā

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta w/ Fresh Ricotta

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Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Summer is in full swing, and we all know what that means…TOMATO SEASON!¬†I’m sure you all have a bountiful crop of tomatoes lying around from your garden..and if not, a plentiful supply of them from the farmers market or grocery store. So what better recipe to make with them than a gorgeous, easy Summer pasta dish?

Balsamic Tomato Pasta


Now I know this may sound weird, but I am not a fan of raw tomatoes. Never have, never will. Yeah, I am THAT person. But, when they’re cooked with a plethora of fresh ingredients to sweeten them up and break them down into a gorgeous sauce or salsa? I’m a huge tomato fan once they are transformed into some sweet and savory deliciousness…so here we go.¬†Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta.

Balsamic Tomato Pasta

This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. This pasta dish is so simple and fresh you’re gonna love it. I made a lovely chunky sauce with a batch of chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and their¬†Sweet Basil Olive Oil (omg #LOVE!), with saut√©ed sweet onions and garlic, red pepper flakes and chicken stock. ¬†Then I tossed the pasta with a little bit of the pasta water, added the cooked balsamic tomato sauce, and topped it with fresh basil, some big dollops of fresh ricotta, and lots of Parmesan cheese.¬†Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection.

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta w/ Fresh Ricotta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Serving Size: 1 cup

This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. Made with fresh tomatoes simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and Sweet Basil Olive oil, with sautéed sweet onions and garlic making a lovely chunky tomato sauce..topped with fresh basil and ricotta cheese and more Parmesan cheese! And it's so easy to make that you won't be slaving over the stove in this hot weather either. Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sweet Basil extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Seven Barrels Traditional Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces, for garnish
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add tomatoes, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions begin to get soft and lightly browned and tomatoes release some of their liquid.
  4. Place balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk well. Carefully add it to the skillet and continue to cook for a few minutes more until the sauce slightly thickens; remove from the heat.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the tomatoes, and toss together over low heat for an additional few minutes until the sauce coats the pasta. Add a small amount of the pasta cooking water if the mixture is too dry, to your desired sauce consistency.
  6. Place the pasta in large bowl and top with fresh grated Parmesan, ricotta cheese, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve hot, immediately with some crusty garlic bread.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/08/10/balsamic-tomato-basil-pasta-w-fresh-ricotta/

Balsamic Tomato Pasta

Yes please, I’ll take another bowl.

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings + Spicy Micheladas

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Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

Summer is here and almost half way over at that! I love grilling anything and everything during the warm weather months so I’ve created a super delish recipe for Sriracha Mango Chicken Wings with a Ginger-Lime Sour Cream dipping sauce and a Spicy Michelada to pair it with.

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings


Once again, I’ve used a fantastic infused balsamic vinegar from Seven Barrels, one of my favorite clients ever. The Sriracha Mango vinegar is delicious on chicken so I made a glaze with fresh mango, sriracha, vinegar, fresh lime zest and orange juice to toss the wings in after I grilled them a bit, then glazed them again for extra flavor at the end.

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

They’re spicy and sweet, and oh so good. And I made a lovely Ginger-Lime Sour Cream dipping sauce to cool off the heat a bit, along with a Spicy Michelada made with Mexican beer (Corona) and a dash of the Sriracha Mango vinegar, a dash of salt, and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • Sriracha Mango Lime-Glazed Chicken Wings
  • Chicken Wings:¬†
  • 2 pounds chicken wings (24 wing pieces)
  • 1/4 cup Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil or spray, for grill
  • Sriracha Mango Lime Glaze:
  • 1 cup mango, peeled and diced
  • ¬ľ cup orange juice
  • ¬ľ cup Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sriracha Mango Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 small red chile pepper
  • ¬ľ cup cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ginger Lime Sour Cream Dipping Sauce:
  • ¬Ĺ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Michelada:
  • 1 (12 ounce) Corona Beer
  • Fresh lime juice from ¬Ĺ a lime
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sriracha Mango Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat (spray or brush pan with a light coat of cooking oil). Toss the chicken wings in 1/4 cup Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook wings on the grill for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until no longer pink and skin starts to get charred with grill marks.
  2. To make the glaze, add the mango, orange juice, Sriracha, Seven Barrels Sriracha Mango Vinegar, Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil, honey, soy sauce, garlic, chile pepper and cilantro into a food processor and process until smooth. Place the sauce into a saucepan over medium-low heat and let simmer until warmed through while the wings are cooking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once the wings are finished cooking, toss them gently in the Sriracha Mango Lime glaze and let them marinate for about 5 minutes or so. Return wings back to the grill for an additional 5 minutes, flipping over once. Remove wings from the grill on to a large platter and let them cool to give them a nice caramelized glaze.
  4. To make the Ginger Lime Sour Cream dipping sauce, stir together the sour cream, Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil, garlic salt, lime zest and grated ginger in a bowl and serve with the wings with celery and carrot sticks.
  5. NOTE: Alternatively, you can bake the wings for 1 hour at 3Seven5 degrees on a large baking sheet covered with foil (and toss them in the sauce at the end).
  6. Makes approximately 24 wings, 1 cup of glaze and ¬Ĺ cup sour cream sauce.
  7. To make the Michelada: stir all the ingredients into the beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/08/02/sriracha-mango-grilled-chicken-wings-spicy-micheladas/

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

This really is the quintessential recipe pairing for Summer now, isn’t it?

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

You can also try the glaze on pork chops you can learn to cut with this blog post about knife or even add some grilled shrimp – it’s absolutely delicious and you can always adjust the heat by adding or removing some of the Sriracha hot sauce. Or maybe making it even hotter by adding in a dash of habanero hot sauce to the mix – now, this recipe is on FIRE!

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

Perfect for a lovely evening outside with friends, watching the sun go down…that’s #howisummer ūüôā

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

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Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Hey guys! So we are half way through the Summer already..can you believe it? I’ve been so busy working on client projects I haven’t had the time to post any new recipes lately so I wanted to share a super delicious one I created for a client that I know you’re gonna love!

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad


This recipe for Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad is absolutely delicious! I made a dressing with Seven Barrels Maple Balsamic vinegar and olive oil and tossed it with quinoa, chickpeas, dried tart cherries, arugula, celery, green onions and crunchy pecans.

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Not only is this super healthy and light but absolutely delicious! It has the perfect balance of tangy vinegar with a slight sweetness from the maple balsamic, agave and tart cherries, and a delightful crunch from the celery, chickpeas and green onions.

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

This is a perfect side dish to make ahead for a Summer picnic and it’s full of protein and veggies and fiber making it the perfect meal on it’s own.

You can also substitute dried cranberries for the tart cherries if you can’t find them, and use a variety of nuts like cashews, almonds, or walnuts instead of pecans. Throw in some edamame or black beans too if you want more protein. Or how about a little crispy bacon???? YUM.

Hope you’re enjoying your Summer – enjoy!

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Seven Barrels Maple balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup or honey
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Handful of baby arugula
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus additional to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let cool completely.
  2. Toast the pecans for about 5 to 7 minutes over medium-low heat in a saute pan, let cool and chop coarsely.
  3. Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, Maple Balsamic vinegar and agave syrup (or honey) in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Add 3/4 cup dressing to the cooked quinoa. Mix in the chopped toasted pecans, tart cherries, celery, scallions, and sea salt. Serve refrigerated or at room temperature; just before serving, stir in remaining 1/4 cup dressing, arugula and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute dried cranberries for the tart cherries and use any type of nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds).

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/08/02/maple-balsamic-quinoa-salad/

Happy July 4th :: Best Deviled Eggs Ever

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Best Deviled Eggs Ever

Hey guys, it’s the 4th of July! One of my favorite holidays ever. Sunshine, pool parties, beach days, picnics on the patio, campfires, grilling, and the season of FUN.

Best Deviled Eggs Ever


I’m sure you’ve had your fill of July 4th recipe posts this week and to be honest, so have I. We all love to grill and have backyard BBQs with tons of picnic salads, burgers, ribs, chicken, hot dogs, strawberry shortcakes and berry pies. Thanks to everyone who has shared their recipes as I always love to see what everyone is making and get some fun ideas for future posts and food parties!¬†So, this year I’ve decided to actually ENJOY my holiday — by relaxing, reading, hanging out with the fam, cooking, eating and drinking, and spend less time working, stressing and blogging. I always think it’s the perfect time to focus on blogging and my portfolio because I have extra time, but I really just need a BREAK. I’m sure you can relate.

Best Deviled Eggs Ever

But, I couldn’t pass up posting this outta control good recipe for my Best Deviled Eggs EVER – they’re creamy with mayo and mustard and eggs, with a delicious tang of vinegar and hot sauce and seasonings, plus an irresistible crunch from the dill pickle relish, finely minced celery and sweet onion. OMG. I could eat the whole tray. REALLY. (And I”m pretty sure you will too, my deviled egg lovers in the universe! ūüôā

Happy July 4th and celebrate the season!

Happy July 4th :: Best Deviled Eggs Ever

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Serving Size: 2-4 deviled eggs

These are the best deviled eggs ever. Creamy and crunchy with finely chopped celery and onion, dill pickle relish and seasonings...these will be a hit at your July 4th party and gone in seconds!

Ingredients

  • Sea salt
  • 12 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons very finely chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle relish
  • 3 tablespoons very finely chopped sweet onion
  • 3 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Nature's Seasons seasoning blend (Morton's)
  • 1 teaspoon Deliciously Dill Blend (The Spice Hunter)
  • 2 dashes hot sauce (RedHot or Crystal), plus more for serving
  • Dash of paprika, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place eggs in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook eggs 7 minutes. Turn off heat and let eggs sit in hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse eggs in cold water and transfer to a bowl of ice water; let sit until cool. Peel eggs under cold water once cooled.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, celery, dill relish, sweet onion, mustard, vinegar, herb seasonings, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Halve eggs lengthwise. Mix the egg yolks into mayo-mustard-relish mixture andplace whites on a plate.
  4. Gently mash into a dressing; season with salt and pepper. Using a small fork or spoon, fill egg halves with yolk mixture.
  5. Top eggs with freshly cracked pepper and more paprika and serve with hot sauce.

Notes

Make Ahead: Eggs can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill egg whites and filling separately; fill just before serving.

You can also garnish the eggs with some minced chives or green onion or bacon.

Recipe adapted from Hillstone Restaurant Group

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/07/04/happy-july-4th-best-deviled-eggs-ever/

Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

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Pizza-hero2

If there was one last thing I could eat before my last day on earth yes, it would be pizza. Italian food is one of my favorite things to eat and cook – in fact my Techniques of Italian Cooking course at the Institute of Culinary Education got me hooked on making homemade pizza and pasta from scratch.

Pizza Hero 3


But sometimes making pizza dough at home is time-consuming and labor intensive and all I want to do is eat pizza. Sure, I live in NYC and it’s easy enough to walk downstairs and get a slice or two at the local pizza shop. But when I want pizza but don’t really feel like¬†paying $6 a slice or $25 for a whole pie, I make my own. And, I’m absolutely in¬†love with thin crust pizza and honestly, it’s the toppings and flavor combinations that are so much fun to experiment with. It’s¬†also Summer and beach days are calling, so using up all my carbs and calories with one slice of pizza is no fun.¬†Alas, I discovered FlatOut flat breads that you can prepare yourself with the use of bread machines that you can get easily online at sites like Village-Bakery.com. They’re thin and light and bake up into a crispy shell in minutes and are the perfect base for any pizza. And they’re only 130¬†calories and 2 g¬†of fat¬†in each one. And that’s pretty awesome.

Pizza-hero1

So today I made a Spinach Artichoke, Chicken and Bacon flatbread pizza on one of these cuties. And it’s absolutely delicious. And not too filling. And I don’t feel so guilty eating it that I want to hide under the covers and never put on a bathing suit again. Or fall asleep on my laptop after eating while writing this. I used the Honey¬†Wheat thin flat breads which are perfect for one person, but you could also try another flavor (plain, whole wheat, spinach) or try one of their pizza flat breads which are a little longer and bigger if you’re feeding a crowd.

Spinach Artichoke Dip base

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned before adding the dip as a base for the other ingredients.

Onions-Bacon-base

Then I topped it with some crispy bacon, sauteed onions and mozzarella cheese..

Add Chicken

some cooked chicken breast (seasoned with Old Honey Barn Kentucky Seasoning that I bought in Louisville KY),

Top with Grated Cheese

and a touch of garlic powder and a healthy dose of grated parmesan cheese.

Baked Pizza

I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese melted, then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

PizzaHero4

I’m thinking this will be my new thing for Summer and I’ve already thought of a million pizza combinations and ideas I’m planning to make. In fact, you could use the same ingredients to make a kick butt quesadilla on the stove or a healthy chicken wrap. Sayonara gut bomb thick crust pizza, hello thin and crispy skinny pizza.

You’ve made my life. ;)

Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 flatbread pizzas.

Serving Size: 1/2 flatbread pizza

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread (I had some leftover from last night but you can certainly make your own) which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned. Then I topped it with some sautéed onions, crispy bacon, seasoned cooked chicken breast, and parmesan cheese. I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese was melted and then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

Ingredients

  • 2 FlatOut 100% Whole Wheat flatbreads
  • 1 cup Spinach and Artichoke Dip (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¬Ĺ large onion, chopped
  • Seasoned salt or Kentucky Chicken seasoning
  • 1 pound thin chicken cutlets (or breasts pounded thin)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¬Ĺ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Dash of red chile flakes
  • ¬Ĺ cup green onions, sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF. Place two FlatOut flatbreads on a cookie sheet (or directly on oven rack for crispier crust). Bake crust for two minutes. You can also grill the flatbread with a little olive oil in a grill pan or on the grill for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove flatbreads from the oven and spread the spinach and artichoke dip onto the flatbread and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Cook the onions in some olive oil over medium heat and remove from sauté pan. Add the additional tablespoon of oil into the pan and season the chicken breast. Cook chicken for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through, cut into strips or large chunks. Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and crumble, and set all ingredients aside.
  4. To make the pizzas, sprinkle the cooked onions, chicken and bacon on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with garlic powder, parmesan cheese, more mozzarella cheese and chili flakes.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove flatbread from the oven, and top with sliced green onions, red chile flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and additional grated parmesan, to taste.

Notes

You can substitute any flatbread you like for this pizza or even use real pizza dough if made super thin.

Feel free to experiment with the toppings too - the sky is the limit!

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/06/02/spinach-artichoke-chicken-bacon-flatbread-pizza/

Pizza Hero 5

Happy Memorial Day + Some Favorite Recipes

Happy Memorial Day
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Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! A time to reflect all of those brave soldiers and military servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives and families for the safety of ours.  Big applause and respect goes out to them and grateful we have a safe and secure country to live in because of them.

Memorial Day Cake


In honor of the holiday, I rounded up a few of my favorite recipes to celebrate. Wishing you all a lovely holiday, hopefully filled with family and friends, food and drink and grateful hearts to our heroes.

Dr Pepper Ribs

Spicy Dr. Pepper Ribs

Beach BBQ Burger

Beach BBQ Burgers

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Sambal Chicken Skewers

Grilled Sambal Chicken Skewers

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Coffee Marinated Steak

Coffee Marinated Steak 

Grilled Corn and Poblano Salad

Grilled Corn and Poblano Chile Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Summer Berry Shortcake

Summer Berry Shortcake

Happy Memorial Day

Hope you enjoy the weekend and here’s a few more links to Memorial Day recipes and menu ideas!

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/05/26/memorial-day-recipe-guide/

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/05/29/memorial-day-weekend-barbecue-recipes-best-dishes-for-summer-cookout.html

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/holiday—celebration-recipes/memorial-day-recipes

http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/memorial-day/memorial-day-picnic-

Coffee Marinated Steak

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Now that Summer is rapidly approaching, I am so excited about getting outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and especially cooking outdoors with friends and family. Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook in warm weather months, simply because it’s so easy and a healthy way to cook, and it usually takes place with a group of friends outside making fun memories and laughter to go with it.

I recently went down to Atlanta where I used to live to visit some old friends and we had a blast grilling outside on my friend’s outdoor BBQ grill in her backyard. We sat around the grill and made grilled sliders, shrimp, jalapeno poppers, and wings (with lots of snacks and drinks to go with of course!) It reminded me of the good old days when I used to live there… living and working in NYC we don’t get the opportunity to grill much anymore and it’s a precious occasion when I go to visit my friends and family who live in greener pastures.


One of my favorite things to make is a big juicy grilled steak..it’s always a tasty treat, easy to prepare and everyone loves it…especially with some grilled vegetables, salad, potatoes and a glass of wine or beer while sitting out on the patio dining al fresco watching the sunset.

My go-to Summer recipe is Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you‚Äôre gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, an espresso alternative to Nepresso capsules,  with a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale‚Äôs seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic. You simply mix all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, then marinade the steaks for an hour or up to overnight for some really delicious flavor.

Then simply pop them on the grill for about 8-10 minutes and you have the most juicy, flavorful and delicious steaks you’ve ever tasted in your life. Not to mention, a great idea for Father’s Day to spoil Dad! Click here to see more of my grilling ideas and recipes for Father’s Day.

Ah, Summertime and the livin’s easy…Enjoy J

Coffee Marinated Steak

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1 (12-14 ounce) Strip Steak

My go-to Summer recipe is Gourmesso Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, which is an espresso (alternative to Nepresso capsules) that has a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, room temp
  • ¬ľ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¬ľ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium Dale‚Äôs seasoning (or dark soy sauce)
  • ¬ľ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red paprika
  • 3 small red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse Kosher salt
  • 4 (12-14 ounce) boneless Strip steaks

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, add the shallots, garlic, Gourmesso coffee, balsamic vinegar, Dale’s sauce/soy sauce, brown sugar, paprika, chilies, peppercorns, and olive oil and kosher salt and blend together well. Pour half the marinade in a glass dish or large plastic ziptop bag, add the steaks and toss to coat with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Cover the remaining marinade and set aside in the fridge until ready to grill.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grill rack. Remove steak from marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling.
  3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and place on grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare (less or more according to desired doneness), basting occasionally with remaining marinade.
  4. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest tented in foil for 5 minutes. Serve with grilled vegetables or a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette and a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Notes

You can make the marinade up to a day ahead of time and store in the fridge with the steaks in a plastic bag or covered dish.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/23/gourmesso-coffee-marinated-steak/

Things are getting Coco Loco for Summer!

CocoLoco-hero
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Captain Morgan Loco Nut

Hey guys, listen up! Summer is almost around the corner and do I have some exciting news for you coconut lovers around the world! CAPTAIN MORGAN just took a bunch of coconuts and turned them into a delicious new shot, CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut. This super delicious shot is made with Caribbean rum, coconut liqueur, spice and natural flavors.

Loco-&-Chill


It comes in a coconut-shaped bottle, smells like a coconut and yes,  tastes like a coconut (and a day on the beach in a glass!) LocoNut is affordable too, just $14.99 for a 750 ml bottle, and it’s coming to a store (and a beach) near you. And, on top of that, CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut is also gluten-free!

Loconut2

It’s simply amazing¬†as a chilled shot, but it’s also great simply on the rocks, and a great base for a variety of¬†tropical cocktails or mixed shots, so get creative! I’d love to hear some of your cocktail ideas using LocoNut in the comments below.

Here’s¬†a few cocktail ideas to get your tastebuds singing and a head start on Summer vacay:

Loco & Coco 

3 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

4 oz. Coconut Water

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut with coconut water and serve over ice.

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Captain & Loco 

2 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

0.5 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN Original Spiced Rum

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut and CAPTAIN MORGAN Original Spiced Rum and serve over ice.

—–

Livin’ Vanilla¬†Loco¬†

1 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

0.5 oz. CROWN ROYAL Vanilla

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut and CROWN ROYAL Vanilla into a shaker with ice.

Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.

LocoNut

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To learn more about CAPTAIN MORGAN follow us on social media on Instagram (@CaptainMorganUSA), Twitter (@CaptainMorganUS) and like us on Facebook (@CaptainMorganUSA).

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About Diageo 

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, C√ģroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Follow on Twitter for news and information about Diageo North America: @Diageo_NA.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I received a product sample from the client to perform this product review on my site. I was not compensated monetarily and all opinions are my own. #ad #spon

Cocktails for National Whiskey Sour Day!

Crown Royal Whiskey Sour
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Crown Royal Whiskey Sour

National Whiskey Sour Day is finally here, (August 25th) and I’m celebrating one of my favorite cocktails by sharing a few delicious and easy recipes courtesy of Crown Royal, George Dickel and Bulleit.

whiskey sour


Over a century ago, the Whiskey Sour originated as one of the simplest cocktails, with variations of whiskey, lemon juice, and sweetened with sugar. The mix lost attention after the prohibition era, but it resurged with the heightened interest in craft cocktails. Thanks to whiskey’s newfound status and the use of fresh ingredients, the Whiskey Sour has made a strong comeback.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye_bottle shot

Because sours have a higher ratio of alcohol to mix than your typical cocktail, the ‚Äúunofficial‚ÄĚ holiday appeals to the summer beverage interests of men and women alike.

Bulleit Bourbon

To celebrate the revival of the classic Whiskey Sour, honor the holiday by sipping one of the recipes below¬†–¬†a traditional recipe using George Dickel No. 12, and two modern recipes with a twist using Bulleit Bourbon and Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye.

George Dickel No 12 Whiskey

WHISKEY SOUR RECIPES

George Dickel Whiskey Sour

George Dickel Whiskey Sour

1.3 oz. George Dickel No.12 Whiskey

1.5 oz. lemon juice

0.75 oz. simple syrup

Shake and strain ingredients into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or cherry.

Jeff's Redneck Sour

Jeff’s Redneck Sour

1.25 oz. Bulleit Rye

1 oz. fresh lemon sour

0.5 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Shake and strain ingredients into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a grapefruit half wheel.

Click here for Bulleit Rye Traditional Whiskey Sour recipe

The Harvest Sour

The Harvest Sour

1 oz. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

.5 oz. Crown Royal Regal Apple Flavored

.5 oz. lemon juice

.5 oz. simple syrup

1 Dash Pimento Bitters

1 Egg White

Grated Nutmeg (optional)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Grate nutmeg for garnish (optional).

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More about Bulleit Bourbon: 

Distilled in Kentucky from the highest quality¬†ingredients, this new variant is a barrel strength¬†version of Bulleit Bourbon with the same¬†high-rye mash bill ‚Äď roughly 2/3 corn and 1/3¬†rye. In April, Bulleit Barrel Strength received a¬†Gold Medal from the 2016 San Francisco World¬†Spirits Competition, continuing Bulleit‚Äôs history¬†of sharing award-winning whiskeys.

More about Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye:

With more than 75 years of experience producing quality Canadian Whiskey, Crown Royal introduces its first-ever blended rye whiskey, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. Crafted from 90% rye whiskey, the new blended whiskey from Crown Royal is produced at the brand’s distillery in Gimli, Manitoba, where the distinctive Northern winters create the perfect conditions for a deliciously flavorful, extraordinarily smooth whiskey.

More about George Dickel No. 12:

A 90 proof Dickel whiskey that uses older whiskies to create deeper, more assertive flavors and an incredibly smooth finish. The taste is refined with hints of vanilla and a dry crisp finish‚Äď a result of their¬†charcoal mellowing process.¬†Concentrated flavors of rich oak and subtle vanilla lead to a long finish with hints of maple, butter and smoke. It’s a¬†whiskey with enormous depth, range and personality ‚Äď considered by many to be the gold standard of Tennessee Whiskey.

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