Monday, June 29, 2015

#LoveWins



For all my friends and loved ones, who waited so long and went through so much to make this happen... this rainbow cupcake is for you.

#LoveWins

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lemongrass Ginger Ice Cream with Spicy Tapioca Topping #FFFMysteryBox


The concept is simple: A bunch of bloggers, lovingly called the Fuckin' Fab Food Bloggers, decided to emulate a popular television show where contestants are given random ingredients and told to make a dish from them. You know the one.



However, our game was slightly altered--in that we're five food bloggers from five different parts of the country. So ingredients had to be relatively non-perishable so that they could travel long distances. Plus they all had to go into one dish.

I can't figure out how to get this to work but, if you want to see me unboxing my ingredients for the first time, head on over to my Facebook Page!

My ingredients were from the lovely Sophia of NY Foodgasm: fresh lemongrass, candied ginger, and tapioca pearls. My first thought was ice cream, obviously. Lemongrass can be sweet or savory, and with the ginger it's a perfect flavor combination. The pearls had me stumped, but I made a spicy raspberry chili reduction out of some soda I had and they made an awesome topping that fit the flavor profile perfectly. All in all, I came out with a unique dessert and my first ice cream recipe of the season!

And I sent some local Texas favorites of mine to Ashley of Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen--be sure to check it out!


Before we get to my recipe, here are the other FFFMysteryBox recipes:



Lemongrass Ginger Ice Cream with Spicy Tapioca Topping

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger, cut into slices
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup raspberry chili soda (or, raspberry soda with 1 sliced jalapeno)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar


-In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the whole milk and the lemongrass. Let simmer for 15 minutes, being careful not to let it boil over. Add the sugar and heavy cream and stir until just combined.

-Let chill overnight.

-Slowly pour the mixture through a mesh sieve and into your prepared ice cream maker (frozen bowl set onto machine). Let process until the ice cream is frozen to a soft consistency, then add the candied ginger. Pour into a container and let freeze.

-While ice cream is processing, prepare the tapioca pearls according to the package--1 cup tapioca to 5 cups boiling water, simmer for 8 minutes, take off heat and leave in water for another 5 minutes, drain and put pearls into ice water.

-Reduce the soda to 1/4th cup. Mix in agave and let chill. Toss with tapioca pearls, let chill at least 20 minutes.

-Serve ice cream with the tapioca pearl topping.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Frozen Coffee Pudding Pops - Lavazza Gran Selezione #sponsored


This post is brought to you in partnership with Lavazza. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It's summer! Did you hear? Though Austin stays a bit warmer throughout the year than my former home in New England, I still get excited to break out the sun dresses and summer prints, drinks, and of course FOOD!


When the summer hits I also tend to switch over my coffee habit to a more heat-appropriate beverage--iced coffee! Which means I also tend to go darker. Ice can water down a weaker coffee. Thankfully, Lavazza has us covered with its  Gran Selezione blend.

Gran Selezione is exclusively from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ coffee farms. It is a premium Arabica blend with intense flavor, chocolate undertones and a full-bodied taste. 100% fine Arabica, 100% sustainably grown.


You know what else is excellent in the summertime? Ice pops. Pudding pops in particular! I thought the creamy texture of a pudding pop would go perfectly with the rich flavor of Gran Selezione--and I was right!


Lavazza Coffee Pudding Pops

  • 1 package instant French vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup brewed Lavazza Gran Selezione, brewed strong and brought to room temperature


-In a stand mixer, whip together the instant pudding, milk, and cream until thick. Slowly add the coffee and mix until well blended.

-Pour into pop molds and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. When ready to eat, place pop mold under running faucet and gently pull pop out.

Note: This makes way more than my pop molds could hold. Unless you have 2-3 sets of molds, use an ice cube tray to freeze the rest. Blend with chilled coffee for a sweet blended coffee drink or use in place of ice cubes in your iced coffee.

Pssst! Check out all the cool stuff over at Lavazza's online store! Not only can you snag some amazing coffee, but you can get some sweet coffee accessories as well!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - June 2015

*Disclosure: Items I received for free or a discount are marked with an asterisk. I stand by all products I mention on my blog, and would never mislead my readers just for free product or compensation! Please note that referral links may be used in product descriptions.

Hey all! I've been toying with the idea of having a regular round up of things I love, what do you think? Still trying to decide on a name... As I get more opportunities to try food-and-lifestyle-related things, I need a way to tell y'all which ones I actually recommend! 


Drink It Up - Libations of the Month


Beso Del Sol Sangria* - I love Sangria. It's the ultimate party drink. Quick, affordable, delicious. I typically make a big batch and put it in a punch bowl whenever friends are over. Beso Del Sol makes the ease of sangria truly effortless by putting it in a box! Either jazz it up with your favorite sangria accoutréments (sliced fruit, brandy, soda), or simply drink chilled or over ice. I am seriously loving this stuff and am going to keep this pretty box in my fridge all summer long. I also think it'd make a great granita!--recipe coming soon ;)

Image via http://www.rocksmixers.com/

Rocks Premium Mixers - I tasted a sample of this amazing mixer by Rocks Premium Mixers at Spec's during their food festival and ended up snagging a bottle. It was under $10, low calorie, and absolutely delicious. It seriously tastes like any drink you'd find on a tropical beach! There's no expiration date on the bottle, so I pour myself a glass over my favorite rum or vodka when I want a fruity, tropical tasting drink to wind down after a long day. Preferably near the pool. 

Austin Stuff - Where I Eat and Play


Vox Table - Whenever the fiancé and I put aside the funds for a date night, it typically goes like this: I sift through my food blogger channels and write down all the new restaurants I want to try, or old restaurants I still haven't been to, and send the list to the picky eater love of my life to sift through. I was surprised that he chose somewhere as adventurous as Vox Table. It's a small plate place with French and Italian influence. The plates come one by one, with space in between to talk. We enjoyed some seriously killer cocktails (a whole menu dedicated to my personal favorite--an old fashioned!) and nearly licked every plate clean. The potato churros were the most memorable side dish, while the octopus and short rib were stand out mains. The chocolate cherry dessert was incredible as well. We're definitely going to be back!

Coldtowne Theater - As some of you may know, I've been taking classes at Coldtowne since about October. I gifted myself Level 1 classes as a birthday gift, not knowing if I'd even like improv, and have been hooked ever since. It's not the scripted theater I'm used to--I've been in plays, mostly musicals since about 6 years old up until moving to Austin--but it's wonderful in its own right. I'm currently in Level 4, and performing Wednesdays with my troupe Darth Brooks at 10pm. Whether you're looking to take a class for whatever reason--meeting new people, learning to flex creative muscles, or a long-love of performing--or see incredible comedy (shows 7 nights a week!) it's definitely worth checking out!

Techy Stuff I Guess?


Grubhub - I loved Postmates... until I switched jobs. Suddenly, I'm out of area of both of my go-to delivery apps. One's fee is way too high, and the other won't even deliver. On a whim, I checked out my old faithful delivery service from college in Boston, Grubhub, and what do you know? It's available in Austin, too! And it delivers for a typical fee to both my home and work. Score! Plus their friend referral is pretty great. Check it out, they probably deliver in a city near you! If you're interested in joining, email me your email address and I'll send you a link for $7 off!

Buzzfeed - I made a community list! Check it out! Level Up Your Day Drinking Game With These Classy Cocktails The more likes/shares/interactions it gets, the more Buzzfeed will love it ;)


I Feel Pretty - Beauty and Lifestyle Picks


Ipsy - Who doesn't love discovering new beauty products? And getting fun packages in the mail? I know I've mentioned them before, but I've since tried other subscription services and this is the only one that's stuck. For $10 a month you get 4-6 large sample to full size products. It's great! I've found some new favorites during the time I've been with the service, stuff I probably never would have tried otherwise. Their beauty game has been on point lately, and I've been loving everything. If you're interested, please use my referral link!


It's a 10 - Have you seen my hair? It's pretty insane. Huge, chunky curls with a lovely halo of frizz. I've been straightening my hair regularly since about 14, but lately I've been trying to leave it natural to reduce damage. It is HARD to find a solid hair product that keeps my curls soft (not crunchy!) while still reducing frizz. This product is amazing. Yes, it's pricey, but by using CVS's regular coupons and Walgreens' rewards, I can get the cost down a bit. Plus you can find them occasionally in Marshall's or Nordstrom Rack. If you have frizzy, over-processed, or damaged hair, it's truly a godsend. I spray liberally all over my hair after the shower, put a bit of serum on the ends, then use a curl creme and I'm good to go. Soft, bouncy wavy curls. This is down from the 5+ products I was using before!


Current Events - When My "Bleeding Heart" Needs to Speak


Jon Stewart - I never know if I should mention anything political here--after all, it's a food blog, and nobody is coming here to start a debate. If anything, it should be a place to enjoy the more positive things in life--like food. However, it's getting harder and harder to ignore these tragic events, and I feel like staying silent when I have even a tiny platform here is almost as bad as not being supportive at all. I've had a lot of trouble knowing exactly what to say in response to the tragedy in Charleston... and even beforehand, with the glaring inequalities so many of our citizens are facing. As someone whose race has never played a part in anything from my daily life to personal achievements to even just simply being able to not be terrified at a traffic stop... it's hard to know what to say to friends who are directly affected by these events. I'm not sure if there's anything I can say here that John Stewart doesn't say better in his opening monologue. To say it's worth a listen is an understatement. No matter what side of the fence you fall on politically, you need to hear this.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summertime Is Here Again - Prickly Pear Beer Slushie

Summer creeps up on you in Texas--at least, when you're a Northerner who still can't wrap her head around the fact that there's no snow as the dividing point between COLD and HOT. The winter is so mild, that the temperatures inch upwards and then before you know it, BAM. You're hitting the pool with a cold beverage and trying not to sweat your life away.


Now that Shiner's Ruby Redbird--my favorite beer, hands-down--is year-round, Shiner had to come up with a suitable summer offering. And their Prickly Pear is not to be missed! Light, fruity, but only slightly sweet, it's a great summer sipping beer.

Nope, this is not a sponsored post. I just really love Shiner Prickly Pear and thought it'd lend itself well to a slush!

This is the first recipe I've made with my new Ninja Blender, which I got as a sort-of birthday gift for my fiancé since his new obsession is protein shakes and our immersion blender just wasn't cutting it. and I think it was a great christening for this amazing machine!


Prickly Pear Slush
  • 2 bottles Shiner Prickly Pear
  • 1/2 cup Prickly Pear soda -- I used Central Market's version, but if you can't find this any light, cirtusy soda will do
  • 1/8 cup triple sec
  • 1/8 cup lemon vodka
  • Enough ice to fill your blender 2/3 full


-Scoop ice into your blender, enough to fill it about 2/3 full. Pour in the rest of the ingredients, and blend on high power until pulverized. If you can, do not have the top on tightly, and allow a little air to come out so the pressure doesn't build up and explode.

-Pour into glasses and garnish with a lime. Extra points if you have cute boot glasses or faux solo cups!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer is HERE and So is HEB's Burger Bash 2015! #sponsored


Summer is HERE and you know what that means--burgers, dogs, and barbecue! I am so excited to be participating in HEB's Burger Bash, which will be going on at HEB stores from June 3rd to the 16th. Be sure to check out the displays at your local store!

Being in a small apartment, I'm not able to have a real charcoal grill. However, I get good use out of my Cocinaware cast iron grill pan, which I used to make these tasty burgers! Simply let the pan warm up on medium-high heat, spray with a bit of nonstick spray or a bit of oil, and you're good to go, grill marks and all.

I was assigned the Bistro Turkey Burger to show you all and I gotta say--this is one tasty burger. I love ground turkey as a healthy beef alternative, and the extra ingredients really pack the flavor. I never though to put wine in a burger, and now I'm going to be adding a splash here and there whenever I make some, it's that good! Add a bit of sharp white cheddar to the top and this is one amazing, flavorful meal.




Don't forget the Whattaburger Fries on the side, and a cold glass of HEB Texas Honey Lemonade.

All ingredients can be found at HEB. Don't miss out on this awesome event!


Bistro Turkey Burger
(Recipe from HEB)

  • 2 Lb ground turkey   
  • 1 medium shallot, grated or minced finely   
  • 3 fresh cloves of garlic   
  • 1 Tsp thyme   
  • 1/4 cup(s) white wine   
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard   
  • 1 Tsp Kosher salt   
  • 1 cup(s) fresh arugula   
  • 6 H‑E‑B Pretzel Sandwich Buns (my local HEB was out, so I used some whole wheat buns I had)


Preheat grill to 350ºF or preheat broiler and adjust oven rack to be about 6 ‑ 8 inches below broiler. (OR, do it my way and heat up your grill pan!)

In a large bowl, combine turkey meat, shallot, garlic, thyme, wine, mustard and salt together. Mix by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated. Form them into patties and lay them out on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Allow patties to come to room temperature insuring time for flavors to meld.

Spray grill with nonstick spray. Grill patties 4 ‑ 6 minutes per side, depending on thickness. If broiling, place burgers on sheet pan lined with foil and cook about 5 ‑ 6 minutes per side or until slight crust has formed. Adjust rack if patties are getting too crispy. The internal temperature should reach 165ºF for whatever cooking application is used. Note: Allowing meat to come to room temperature before cooking helps ensure proper cooking times.

Once burgers are cooked to desired preference, place on favorite bun while still hot and top with fresh arugula, it will start to wilt and add a nice peppery flavor. Serve with your favorite condiments.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Diet Destroyer: Snickers Salad, aka the Pudding of Doom

I have successfully signed the fiancé up for the same gym I go to, in an effort to convince him to drag me there with him. I have a fridge full of whole foods ready to be turned into low carb goodness. I have some low carb/low cal frozen treats in the freezer in case my sweet tooth hits.

I have... a giant picture of snickers salad up there. I know, I KNOW.

Cue my friends back in New England going "What the HELL is Snickers SALAD?!"

It is a great and terrible thing, my friends. It's basically pudding with added sugar. Topped with caramel.


And yeah, it's friggin delicious. The best "salad" you'll ever have.

I've been sitting on this recipe for a few months now, so I figured I should post it before it taunts me from my computer files, begging me to make another bowl. I will NOT. I will get it out of the way now so as not to tempt myself later.

And to anyone who is blessed enough to not be dieting right now... you're welcome.

Snickers Salad, aka The Pudding of Doom*

  • 1 package French vanilla instant pudding + ingredients on box
  • 1 container Cool Whip
  • 3 Snickers bars, cut into tiny chunks
  • 2 granny smith apples, cubed
  • Caramel, to top


-Make instant pudding, according to directions. Fold in Cool Whip and remaining ingredients. Top with caramel. Serve cold.



*No one actually calls it that. Just me.