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Raspberry Mojito

I’ve never liked math.

I swore up and down that I’d never use the stuff when I was a grown up – especially those damn word problems where they asked you about cuts of beef. Urp! I mean seriously, who even cares how much chuck or ground round it takes to make the perfect hamburger. I’m not a butcher… JUST GIVE ME MEAT!

What they should have done was give us word problems which involved liquor. Let’s face it, it’s WAY more probable these days that I’ll become a bartender than a butcher.

Given that fact, let’s take a stab at some math, shall we? I promise it’ll be fun!

The Question: It’s 15 minutes after noon on a rainy Saturday. If GamerGirl has 1 pint of raspberries in the fridge, 2 bushels of fresh mint growing in the garden, one 6-pack of cold club soda, 1 spoon full of sugar and 1 lime, when can she start drinking?

Ready?

IT’S A TRICK QUESTION! If it’s Saturday, she can start drinking when it starts raining :)

Mmmm…. that’s the most delicious word problem evah!

Raspberry Mojito

(serves 4)

1/2 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
10-12 medium sized mint leafs, chiffonade-ed
1 medium lime, juiced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup rum (we used Bacardi Silver)
5-10oz club soda, chilled
ice

In a pitcher, combine the raspberries, mint, lime juice, and sugar. Muddle vigorously until no whole raspberries remain and the mint is bruised.

Fill the pitcher with ice and add in rum. Stir to evenly distribute the minty raspberries through your drink. Top with club soda, stir lightly, and serve!

Note: Don’t want to make a whole pitcher? Whip out your calculator! Yay math :)

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Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

Yum!

 

Seriously, is there anything more delicious than a big bowl of cheesy noodles? Other than a massive boozy concoction, I can think of nothing I’d rather stuff in my face.

Oh, right. A big bowl of cheesy noodles topped with MORE CHEESE and PANKO. Yum, twice.

Jessica tipped me off to this recipe and though I adapted it to our tastes, she gets ALL the credit for these yummies :)

Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

(serves 4-6)

1 pound pasta (we used rigatoni)
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup AP flour
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese
salt & pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375F. Grate cheeses and toss them together in a large bowl. Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions, cooking for 3-4 minutes less than called-for time.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in olive oil and butter, then throw in shallots with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour to the skillet then whisk constantly to create a roux. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Pour in milk, stirring continuously for another 1-2 minutes. Add in most of the grated cheeses, reserving about 1 cup of grated cheese for topping. Stir continuously until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then taste and season more if desired. Add pasta to the skillet and toss thoroughly to coat.

Sprinkle the top of the mixture with remaining cheese, then breadcrumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Enjoy immediately!

GamerGirl

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Avocado Ice Cream

It rained Sunday.

It was 80 degrees last week, people. I was wearing shorts and flip-flops, and then it rained.

I also bough a boatload of avocados.

You see, my plans this weekend were to lay out in the back yard and fill my face with tall margaritas, snacks, and bowls of ice cream. Oh yea. That was SO the plan.

But then the weather changed and it rained for like an ENTIRE DAY. Ugh. But, but, you know what? I totally still made the ice cream (and like 4 margaritas, but that’s another post…)

And it was the best.ice.cream.evah

Avocado Ice Cream

(adapted from Alton Brown – Makes about 3 cups)

12 ounces ripe avocado meat, approximately 4 medium
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Do ahead: Freeze your ice cream gel-bowl at least 24 hours prior to ice cream making madness

Halve and pit the avocados, and harvest the meat. Add the avocado meat, lemon juice, milk, and sugar to a blender and puree. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and chill completely, approximately 4 to 6 hours.

Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. This mixture sets up super fast, so count on it taking only 5 to 10 minutes to process. For soft ice cream, serve immediately. If desired, place in freezer for 3 to 4 hours for firmer texture.

Trust me on this one.

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Pomegranate Margaritini

Friday night we went to Olive Garden to celebrate my father’s birthday. PAR-TAY!

GamerMan and I got there first, and after launching myself from the car so I could get our names in and not wait 4 hours for bread sticks, I found there was absolutely no line and was immediately seated. How’bout that! SO, while the hubs parked the car, I ordered a drink!

Our waitress was super nice and suggested the Pomegranate Margarita Martini. It was delicious and devoured in .4 seconds. But being $10 a pop, I wasn’t about to order another one so I impatiently (and apparently quite loudly) waited until I got home before running to the interwebs to find a comparable recipe.

Lucky for me the copycat recipe immediately popped up. Unlucky for me, I didn’t have all the ingredients (and I wasn’t about to spend $100 on booze after all.the.cute.props I just.bought). So I did what any geeky lush would do – AN ADAPTATION!

Pomegranate Margaritini

(adapted from TopSecretRecipes – Serves 1)

1 oz Jose Cuervo Silver
3/4 oz Absolut Orient Apple
1.5 oz POM
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoons orange juice, low/no pulp
2 oz Sweet & Sour Mix

In a cocktail shaker, vigorously shake ingredients with a handful of ice. Strain into a chilled glass and serve with a lime round. Enjoy!

Like the glasses? Get’em here!

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Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

I’m a pretty serious procrastinator.

No, really. If you even knew remotely how long it took me to finish college, you’d understand.

Or even how long it took me to actually MAKE this recipe. A year, people. A whole, solid, 365 days.

For the life of me I can’t recall why it took so long for me to whip this up, but I can tell you it took about half a second for me to stuff my face in the pan. No lie.

This bread can’t wait another year to be made. It’s simple and delicious, and that’s really all you need to know ;) Now GO!

 

Grand’s Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread

(adapted from JoyTheBaker – serves 4)

1 package Grand’s Flaky Layers Buttermilk Biscuits
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup casters sugar (superfine baking sugar if possible, but plain granulated white sugar won’t kill ya)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Enough Crisco to coat the inside of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan + AP flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease the inside of your loaf pan with Crisco. Tip: Don’t want to get your hands super greasy? Use the baggie method! Turn a zippy sandwich bag inside out and place over your hand. Using your bagged hand, scoop out a tablespoon of Crisco from the tub and smear around the inside of your loaf pan. It may take more than one tablespoon to ensure even, thorough coverage – be liberal because you do NOT want this bread to stick to the pan! To remove Crisco-laden baggie from hand, simply pinch your bagged fingers together and using your non-bagged hand, pull up on the zippy end of the bag. This turns the bag inside out, keeping the Crisco inside and your hand clean to tackle other tasks! Like… Dust with AP flour and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside

Carefully open your Grand’s biscuit package. Pull apart each biscuit and place on a sheet of wax or parchment paper.

Using a pastry brush (or fresh nylon paint brush!), brush the top of each biscuit with melted butter. While still wet, sprinkle cinnamon mixture. Flip biscuits over and repeat the butter-cinnamon ritual until all surfaces of the biscuit are covered in goodness.

Turn your loaf pan on it’s short end and stack sugared biscuits in a staggered pattern. Return pan to it’s natural orientation, biscuits up, and pour any additional butter over the top of the biscuits. Follow with any remaining cinnamon mixture before popping in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and golden (looking too golden? cover with foil for the remaining time!)

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before inverting pan over a dish towel to pop-out bread. Pull apart warm bread and serve with a tall glass of chilled milk!

GamerGirl

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Fish & Chip Bites

When I heard the Olympics were going to be held in London this year, I literally jumped for joy.

You see, in my family the Games aren’t so much about sitting around watching people exercise (I get enough of that at the gym). No, the Olympics are about FOOD. Good food. Different food. Food from countries whose name I can’t pronounce. Except England – I can pronounce England.

And what is England known for? Battered and deep-fried fish with a heaping side of golden fries. And malt vinegar. Can’t forget the malt vinegar *drool*

Admittedly fish and chips aren’t the easiest, nor cleanest snack food. Until today. Today I introduce to you fish and chip bites! Pop-able nuggets of flaky fish and crispy potato, perfect for this summer’s games – or just a chilly Sunday afternoon. Added bonus: The malt vinegar flavor is BUILT-RIGHT-IN, so there’s no messy dripping or soggy batter mess!

Fish & Chip Bites

(makes 24 bites – FTY Original)

2 cod fillets
13 oz frozen french fries, extra crispy (try OreIda’s Extra Crispy Golden Crinkle Fries)
1/4 cup mayo
2 eggs, beaten
1 heaping teaspoon Archer Farms malt vinegar popcorn seasoning (sold at Target in the popcorn aisle)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup + 24 Ritz “Munchables” Pretzel Rounds
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt & pepper to taste
Butter flavored cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil (EV)
Prep work:

  • Liberally spray a nonstick mini-cupcake tin with butter flavored cooking spray and insert a Ritz Pretzel Round into each cupcake hole.
  • Cook french fries as directed, allowing to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Measure out 1 cup of Ritz Pretzel Rounds, place in a zippy bag, and crush. Divide in half, leaving one plain and seasoning the other with salt & pepper.



In a nonstick saute pan, heat olive oil until shimmering. Meanwhile, rinse and pat dry your cod fillets. Cook fillets over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on the first side, flip and cook 5 minutes on the second side. Remove cooked fillets from pan and place on newspaper to wick away extra oil. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.

While the fillets cool, combine mayo, eggs, mustard powder, malt vinegar seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Using your fingers, separate cod fillets into small chunks (they should separate easily on their own) and coat with mayo-mixture.

Chop cooled french fries into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces and add to fish-mayo mix. Add in the plain crushed pretzel rounds. Toss to combine.

Using a small cookie dough scoop (1.5 tablespoon), scoop one round of fish & chip mixture into each mini cupcake hole in your tin. You should be able to *just* fill all 24 holes.

Drizzle apx 1/4 teaspoon of melted butter atop each filled mini cupcake hole and sprinkle lightly with seasoned crushed pretzel rounds.

Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden.

Remove from oven to cool briefly (5 minutes) before removing each fish & chip bite from the pan using a fork/toothpick/skewer. Plate and serve with lemon wedges and a pint of your favorite beer!

GamerGirl

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Spicy Avocado Pasta

I’m about to rock your world.

No, really. I am. You see, avocados aren’t just for guac and sandwiches anymore. Oh no, they’re popping up in unexpected places.

Like your pasta. PASTA! Ha, bet you weren’t expecting that, eh?

After you get over the gross factor (it took me some time too, I won’t judge you), promise me you’ll make this. It’s quickly become my favorite pasta dish and is my go-to weekend lunch :) I swear you’ll love it too!

Avocado Pasta

(adapted from TwoPeasAndTheirPod)

2 servings of pasta (your choice – we used fettuccine)
1 ripe avocado meat, smashed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cook pasta as directed on box. Before draining, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and return to pasta pot. Add into the pot the avocado meat, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt to taste and serve, adding more red pepper flakes as desired.

GamerGirl

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Today GamerMan and I experienced the best part of wedding planning: FREE FOOD. Seriously, is there anything better than people trying to woo your taste buds with samples of nom noms? I think not.

Riley’s Farm, as always, did not disappoint. Everything we tasted was delicious (which is going to make it that much harder to pick between them, but really… can a girl ever have too many choices? ;) but it was their stuffed mushrooms that had me really excited.

So much so, that after we left I coerced GamerMan to make a stop at our grocer’s so I could pick up the fixin’s for dinner. NOMS.

Stuffed Mushrooms

(inspired by Riley’s Farm)

2 packages baby bella mushrooms (apx 25)
1 8oz package cream cheese (we use neufchatel)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, finely diced
1 tablespoon chives, finely sliced
2 tablespoons parmesean cheese, finely grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons bacon bits (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil // 1 liberal spray of PAM
1 plastic zip-top sandwich bag

Preheat oven to 375F.

Rinse mushrooms thoroughly to remove any clinging dirt. Remove stems, using a paring knife as needed to hollow out the center – you’ll need a good sized cavity for the cheesy filling! Place mushrooms cap-side up on a paper towel to drain excess water. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM/drizzle with olive oil to prevent mushrooms from sticking. Place mushrooms cap-side down on lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whip the rest of the ingredients together with a hand blender. Scrape mixture into your zippy sandwich bag. With your fingers, guide the filling toward a bottom corner of the bag, snip the corner off (about a .5 inch diameter opening is plenty for this job), and squeeze mixture into mushroom caps. Top with additional parmesean if desired.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

 

GamerGirl

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Bloody Mary

“Don’t cross the streams!” – Dr. Egon Spengler
 

We’ve all been warned before not to mess with a good thing. But when THREE good things join forces, it’s the kind of instantaneous life altering moment (protonic reversal or not) we can’t ignore.

It all started earlier this week when GamerMan and I stopped at World Market to investigate a new couch. We sat on it, chatted on it, made out on it… you know, the usual stuff to see if this piece of furniture would fit in our lives.

We ended up leaving without the sofa. Instead, we’d picked Demitri’s Bacon Bloody Mary Rim Salt.

Best purchase ever. EVER.

On the way home, after realizing neither of us had ever had a Bloody Mary before, we also picked up some Mr & Mrs T’s Bold and Spicy Bloody Mary mix AND Absolute Peppar. If we were going to do this, we’re going to do it right!

Guess what: Best additional purchases ever. EVER.

What I’m about to share with you is the most amazing drink on the face of the earth. And guess what else! It has vegetables in it so it’s totally healthy! Also making it healthy? BACON. That’s right. Bacon. YUM-FREAKIN-O.

Get this in your tummy stat. You won’t regret it.

Bloody Mary

(adapted from the back of the T’s BM bottle)

2 oz Abosolut Peppar

8 oz Bold & Spicy Bloody Mary mix

1 teaspoon Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce

3 dashes Tabasco Sauce

2 jalapeno rounds

1 celery stalk, with the frilly bits on!

1 bacon slice

1 lime wedge

Demitri’s Bacon favored Bloody Mary Rim Salt

 

What to do: Run lime wedge flesh-down around the rim of a large glass. Invert glass and lightly press into rim salt. Turn right-side-up and fill glass with ice. Pour into glass, the vodka, Bloody Mary mix, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Garnish with bacon slice, celery, and jalapeno rounds if desired. Drink your face off.

Makes 1 LARGE drink for the sharing or the daring 

 

CHEERS!

GamerGirl