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BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER

I never realized that people actually read my blog and look forward to my recipes until dinner last night with friends celebrating my 62nd birthday!! Wait….62? Shit. ¬†Anyway, my friend, Stephanie, wanted to know why I don’t blog more. I am, unfortunately for my husband and kids, never short of words, so that isn’t the problem. I love summer and spend as much time as I can outdoors because summer is soooo short. But promising that I would blog more, my new office is now located on the back deck until it rains.¬†

Speaking of summer, a recent trip to Miles Market in Ohio proved to be somewhat of a decision-making challenge. The locally grown produce was fresh and abundant. Ultimately, I came home with this massive head of cauliflower that was so big, it wouldn’t fit into the produce bag. ¬†I came home from teaching aerobices the other day finding this huge cauliflower on the sink with a note from my husband who loves to do ‘refridgerator management.’ It read, “Do something with this thing. It’s taking up the whole damn refridgerator.” That’s a little exaggerated, but it is big and needed to be cooked.¬†

So, bored with the usual, but creative recipes for preparing cauliflower, I came upon a great recipe from Delish.com….Buffalo Cauliflower with blue cheese dipping sauce. My shortcuts with this dish are store-bought blue cheese dressing and Franks Hot Sauce.¬†

So, what really is buffalo sauce you ask? As a retired teacher, I love info that nobody really cares about. So the buffalo, fortunately, ¬†has nothing to do with this guy…..buffalo.jpeg¬†There actually are many stories with claims to fame of this spicy stuff, but they all originate in Buffalo, New York. Yep. There is even a National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, where John Young was inducted into the National Buffalo Wing Hall of Fame in 1964 with his Mombo Sauce.

Here it is….super easy and surprisingly not too spicy……..

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER with BLUE CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE 

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. buffalo sauce (such as Franks)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, until the florets are starting to turn golden and slightly crispy.
  3. Mix together melted butter and buffalo sauce. Pour over roasted cauliflower and toss with tongs to combine. Return baking sheet to oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork tender and slightly crisp. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side.

Dear Friends, I hope you like today’s recipe and feel free to share or ask for a new recipe. I love to share my yummy and EASY finds. Until next time….

Cheers! ¬†ūüć嬆Laura

P.S. Check out my new store, FOLIO TRENDS for the latest styles and trends for women.

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SURPRISING DOLLAR STORE TRICKS (AND TREATS) FOR ENTERTAINING

So, you are invited to holiday parties for every holiday, and the worst thing is when you forget to label your dish with your name, or it gets washed off, and you either never get your dish back, or its months, and yes, maybe a year or two. And when the next occasion arises to use that perfect dish, ¬†you ¬†insanely look everywhere. After every cupboard, drawer, and storage bin has been ransacked (that’s an extreme word, but true) you realize that you took an appetizer to Sally’s house, and never got your dish back. SOLUTION: THE DOLLAR STORE.

I know, I know, your mother always told you to watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. However, can you put a price on your favorite pumpkin platter or your divine deviled egg dish? NO. The seasonal serving opportunities await your dollars at the dollar store. By the way, I am not making any money endorsing this retail establishment, although, not a bad idea!

Today, we are going to a fall clambake and my $2.00 purchase created this fun seasonal serving idea for a delicious desert that I call PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES. I have two favorite versions for this dip.

Normally now, I just leave the serving dish with the leftovers at the party, but this one came out so cute, I’m conflicted, so I may bring it home ūüéÉ

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES

RECIPE 1 (a little sweeter than recipe 2)

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Ingredients

¬ĺ cup International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
1 3.4 oz package pumpkin spice instant pudding
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
Graham cracker crumbs for garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, whisk together the International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer with pumpkin spice instant pudding. Set aside for about 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and sugar.
Add in pudding to cream cheese mixture and beat.
Once well combined, fold in the 2 cups of thawed whipped topping and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, fill bowl with Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip topped with graham cracker crumbs.

If you can’t find pumpkin spice instant pudding (it’s¬†pretty ¬†seasonal), you can use either vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding with a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES

RECIPE 2

INGREDIENTS

1 -15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 -8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed
1 package 1.5 oz. Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 

Directions

Cream together all ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve with Vanilla Wafers, Cookies, or Graham Crackers.

img_6499Dear Friends,

Celebrating something every day helps to create the happiness we all deserve to have. For me, its difficult to overlook the inevitable snow, but I love enjoying the beauty of this season and everything that comes with it.

Cheers to you! Laura

 

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SUNSETS CHICAGO STYLE

I spent this past weekend visiting my daughter, Jodi and her boyfriend Neil. While Steve had a seminar, we galavanted around the city, making most of the little time we have together.

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Vitamin D Room at the Summerhouse

Visiting Chicago, or any city for that matter, with Jodi is always an experience! Some people take the time to smell the flowers, but with Jodi we take the time to….(just a little photo journey of our time together)…..

 

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CAPRI AT THE RITZ

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This beautiful display beacons you as you enter the restaurant and wait for your table….

Lunch was an assortment of creative and healthy salads. The most amazing was the cauliflower with jalape√Īo and parmesan pesto.

 

 

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This little number kept calling to us….and we succumbed. Well worth it!
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We then embarked on a Chicago sunset cruise. It was a little cloudy, but with the little cocktail lounge on the ship, it made for a lovely evening…followed by....

 

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this….amazing lobster roll dripping with huge chunks of lobster on a buttery grilled bun….oh my!¬†

MINI LOBSTER ROLLS WITH HERBED MAYO

Makes 15 rolls

FOR THE ROLLS

  • 2 ¬†lobster tails, thawed if frozen (8 oz. each)
  • 3 ¬†cups water
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (zest reserved)
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 5 hot dog buns, sliced length- wise and cut into thirds
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE MAYO

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. each minced celery, fresh chives, tarragon, and¬†parsely¬†
  • 1 ¬†Tbsp. minced shallots¬†
  • 2 ¬†tsp. fresh lemon juice¬†
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Combine water, juice of 1 lemon, and 1 tsp. Old Bay in a large sauce- pan. Insert steamer basket in pan, bring water to a boil, place the tails in steamer, and cover.
  2. Steam tails 8‚Äď10 minutes until shells are red and meat is cooked. Remove tails from pan and cool slightly.
  3. Cut shells lengthwise with kitchen shears. Chop meat into chunks. Preheat broiler with rack 5 inches from the element.
  4. Mix mayonnaise, celery, chives, tarragon, parsley, shallots, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. Old Bay, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Fold in lobster meat.
  5. Brush rolls with melted butter and broil until toasted, 1‚Äď2 minutes. Spoon filling onto toasted rolls and garnish with reserved lemon zest.

Then, of course, on our way to the airport, we HAD to stop for the one and only Shake Shack burger! A delicious patty of perfectly cooked beef topped with cheese and a FRIED CHEESE PORTOBELLO STUFFED MUSHROOM!!! One bite into this massive deliciousness is what I think heaven would be like as the lava fountain of cheese oozes out with each bite….ok. I’m done…ūüėč (Shake Shack…put it on your bucket list!) People say the secret’s in the sauce, but I say its in the mushroom!

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It’s hard to believe that a little food stand in NYC made its way to major cities with lines blocks long

Here is a

FAKE SHAKE SHACK HACK RECIPE FROM SERIOUS EATS! (It has everything but the portobello.)

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INGREDIENTS
8 ounces beef sirloin, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces well-marbled beef chuck, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces well-marbled beef brisket, fat cap intact, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 Martin’s Sandwich Rolls
4 tablespoons Shack Sauce (recipe follows)
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese
Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
DIRECTIONS
1.
Place feed shaft, blade, and 1/4-inch die of meat grinder in freezer until well-chilled. Meanwhile, place meat chunks on rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between each piece and place in freezer for 10 minutes until meat is firm, but not frozen.

2.
Combine meat in large bowl and toss to combine. Pass meat through grinder twice. Form into four disks, about 2-inches tall, and 2.5-inches wide. Refrigerate until ready for use.

3.
Open buns but do not split hinge. Brush lightly with butter, then place under broiler or in toaster oven until golden brown, about 1 minute. Spread 1 tablespoon Shack Sauce on top half of each bun (for true authenticity, squirt out of squeeze bottle into three lines, three passes on each line). Place 1 leaf lettuce and 2 slices tomato on top half of each bun.

4.
Using wadded-up paper towel, rub inside of heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season beef pucks on top side with salt and pepper, then place, seasoned side down, in skillet. Using back of heavy, flat spatula, press down on beef pucks firmly to form 4-inch round patties, being careful not to let it stick to bottom of spatula. Season top side with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp brown crust has formed, about 2-minutes.

5.
Carefully scrape patties from skillet, and flip. Top each patty with 1 slice American cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer patties to burger bun bottoms, close sandwiches, and serve.

6.
Shack Sauce: Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary. Makes about 3/4 cup sauce.

Cheers to sunsets, birthdays, and just about anything you want to toast to….burgers, lobster…anything. Thanks for stopping in and I hope you enjoyed todays read.

xo Laura

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EVERYTHING BIRTHDAY CAKE

Today I’m 61….. ¬†So, let’s talk birthday cake! And cocktails…ok…

BOOZIE BIRTHDAY CAKE COCKTAILS!

There are so many theories about where birthday cakes originated, and even when the first birthday candles were blown out, but the tradition has survived the test of time with newer variations popping up daily. Just check out the Pinterest Birthday Cake board!  So many cool ideas from so many amazingly creative people! 

Click here to see why you get to celebrate your birthday every year!  Go figure that the ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays but only for men! Yikes!

SO MANY CHOICES!! TOO MANY CHOICES? NOPE.

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CHEERS TO CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS! recipelarge_uvbdaycake

THE SIGNATURE PINNACLE BIRTHDAY CAKE

birthday-cake1 PART Pinnacle¬ģ Cake Vodka¬†
1 PART DeKuyper¬ģ Vanilla Liqueur
1 PART Half and Half
Rim martini glass with multi-colored sprinkles. Shake with ice and strain into prepared glass. pinnacle-cake.jpg

 

 

 

THE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

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2 OZ SMIRNOFF¬ģ ICED CAKE
1 OZ ORANGE JUICE
1 OZ PINEAPPLE JUICE
TOP OFF WITH CLUB SODA
GARNISH WITH SPRINKLES + CHERRY AND AN ORANGE SLICE.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

recipelarge_pineappleupsidedowncake
1 part UV Cake Vodka
3 parts pineapple juice

Blend with ice and serve.‚Ä®

THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE MARTINI

DRINK-GRID-0046-ICED-STRAWBERRY-SHORT-CAKE-MARTINI12 OZ SMIRNOFF¬ģ ICED CAKE
3 FRESH STRAWBERRIES
2 OZ LEMONADE
0.5 OZ AMARETTO LIQUEUR
MUDDLE STRAWBERRIES AND VODKA + ADD THE LEMONADE, AMARETTO AND A LITTLE ICE TO A COCKTAIL SHAKER + SHAKE BRIEFLY BUT VIGOROUSLY +

STRAIN INTO A CHILLED MARTINI GLASS + GARNISH WITH A STRAWBERRY

BIRTHDAY CAKE SHOT
All you need to do now is make a wish.birthdaycake_101ds2

  • 1 OZ Baileys¬ģ Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Cream
  • .5OZ Smirnoff¬ģ¬†Iced Cake‚ĄĘ Flavored Vodka
  • Whipped Cream & Multi-colored Sprinkles
  • Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Strain into a shot glass.
  • Add whipped cream and sprinkles.

And…my favorite one….THE EXPRESSO MARTINI that my daughter Jodi surprised me with after an amazing sunset cruise around Chicago last week!

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2 OZ Baileys¬ģ Espresso Cr√®me Liqueurcocktails_baileys_espresso_martini

.25OZ Smirnoff¬ģ vodka

 25OZ Espresso

Shake over ice and Strain into a martini glass.

Thank you for swinging by today and I hope you enjoy making these boozy birthday creations or some of your own! Cheers to many more birthdays, big and small!

Laura

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