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Spring Break with a Side of Fries

Today was enlightening. My first day of vacation and not only did I wear my usual two piece bathing suit, skirted and high waisted, of course, but I noticed a distinctive sign that I needed to lose weight. The sign wasn’t as blatant as you might think. The scale this morning didn’t yell, “GET OFF OF ME!” ….no one tried to harpoon me on the beach……but the sign was there. You see, every chaise lounge at the pool is equipped with a numbered flag that you raise in order to let the server know that you would like to order food. Yep! You guessed it, mine had no flag.

So, my daughter, Jodi and I decided to have a late lunch of blackened mahi tacos with a mango salsa; healthy, and flavorful. It was happy hour, and we were happy, ¬†so we enjoyed a skinny margarita. Suddenly, our server delivered these amazing french fries to the next table. Jodi and I shot each other a glance and beckoned the server to bring us an order. This little diet destructor was well worth the calories; …….thick cut french fries served with a fresh raspberry mayo on the side. We¬†IMG_7567quickly justified consuming these fat fried bursts of flavor by reminding ourselves that we did water jogūüôÉ. ¬†So, essentially, the moral of this story is “calories in and calories out.” There are, however, good calories and not so good calories, but an occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, I often justify these binges by thinking, “If this were my last meal, it would totally be worth it.” It was.

This trip, I decided to create healthy and delicious meals using all of the fresh fish Florida has to offer. At the local fish market, grouper was recommended as a hearty fish that could easily be made into a piccata dish. Wikipedia¬†explains piccata as ‚Äúmeat or fish sliced, saut√©ed, and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices‚ÄĚ. ¬†Often prepared with veal or chicken, this recipe proved to be a keeper. Enjoy!

GROUPER PICCATA

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  • 4 grouper filets about 4 oz. each, ¬†blotted dry and seasoned with 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • thinly sliced lemon slices

Dredge fillets in flour.
Heat 2 tsp. oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high until it shimmers. Add half the fillets and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to a platter; tent with foil. Repeat heating and cooking with remaining oil and fillets.
Add wine, lemon juice, and capers to skillet; cook 30 seconds. Off heat, swirl in butter until it melts; season with 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt, add lemon slices until softened.  Serve fillets with sauce over rice or angel hair pasta.

Dear Friends,

On the plane ride home from vacation, we hit a bit of turbulence. The kids on the plane clearly coming home from spring break, squealed with excitement at the sudden dips and turns. The parents, on the other hand looked horrified. Looking for a diversion, I noticed the cloud formations outside of my window and admired the unusual landscape the sunlight created as the rays bounced off of the sloping hills and valleys of the thick clouds.

Snapping a photo of this unusual scenery, placing it in the archives of vacation memories, it occurred to me the way in which this is a reminder of our need to “take time and smell the flowers” as we get older. ¬†For so many years, we simply hurried to our next destination either not knowing or not realizing that life itself is a journey filled with moments worth pausing for celebration.

As always, thanks for stopping by and cheers to enjoying the journey. 

ūüćĻ Laura

P.S. Check out my new store FOLIO TRENDS where you find great styles and incredible prices! Sign up for email alerts to get great savings!

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SASSY SUMMER SALSA!

Hola se√Īoritas y¬†se√Īores! Tis the season for my SUMMER SALSA OBSESSION! Salsa is an easy ‘dump from the jar with a bag of nacho chips and call it a dip,’ but, summer’s delicious bounty of fresh fruits and veggies makes for the ¬†best chipping and dipping! Finish it all of with a refreshing Ruby Red Margarita, and call it a FIESTA!

Here are some of my newest and chunkiest fruitful & sassy salsas! Spice em up or keep em cool!

IMG_5339PINEAPPLE‚ÄďPEPPER SALSA

(MAKES 4 CUPS)

PEEL AND TRIM:

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

PEEL AND JULIENNE:

1/2 cup jicama, julienne

TOSS WITH:

1/4 cup purple onion, slivered
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 t. haba√Īero, seeded and minced 1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2‚Äď3 drops Tabasco or Siracha

JUST BEFORE SERVING, MIX IN:  diced 1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped 1 T. fresh mint, chopped

TWO TOMATO SALSA

(MAKES 3 CUPS)

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MIX TOGETHER:

1 cup red tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cup yellow tomatoes, seeded and diced

3/4 cup white onion, diced and rinsed

3 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. light olive oil
2 t. jalapeno, seeded and minced 2 t. fresh garlic, minced

1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

 

ROASTED TOMATO SALSA WITH JALAPENO AND CILANTRO

YIELDMakes 2 1/2 cups

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 10 medium), preferably plum
2 to 3 fresh jalape√Īo chiles (1 to 1 1/2 ounces), stemmed
Half of a small white onion (2 ounces), sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 generous teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

PREPARATION

  • Heat the broiler. Lay the whole tomatoes and jalape√Īos out on a broiler pan or baking sheet.
  • Set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted ‚ÄĒ even blackened in spots ‚ÄĒ on one side (the tomato skins will split and curl
  • flip over the tomatoes and chiles and roast the other side for another 6 minutes or so.
  • ¬†Set aside to cool.
  • Reduce heat to 425 degrees.
  • Separate the onions into rings combine with the garlic.
  • Roast in the oven, stirring carefully every couple of minutes, until the onions are beautifully browned about 15 minutes total. Cool¬†
  • Rough chop the tomatoes, onions, garlic & peppers & pour into a bowl adding the juices. If necessary, ¬†stir in enough water to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Stir in the cilantro.
  • Taste and season with salt and vinegar

HABA√ĎERO SALSA WITH YELLOW TOMATOES & PAPAYA

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  • 1 medium yellow tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 2 haba√Īero peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T. fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small papaya, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T. each fresh lime & orange juice
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T. water
  • pinch of sugar (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve!

 

 

Ruby Red Margaritas

Makes four 12-oz. drinks

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  • Kosher or margarita salt
  • 1 ¬†can frozen limeade¬†concentrate (12 oz.)
  • 2 ¬†cups ice cubes
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 cup tequila, optional
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 11‚ĀĄ3 cups ruby red grapefruit juice

Lime slices

Dip rims of 4 glasses into grapefruit juice, then in salt, if desired; set aside.
Blend limeade, ice cubes, and tequila in a blender until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly among the glasses. Top each with 1‚ĀĄ4 cup club soda and 1‚ĀĄ3 cup grapefruit juice; garnish with limes.

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Gracias! Thank you for coming to visit. I hope that your summer fiesta is a celebration to remember!

Salud y Hasta Ma√Īana!

Se√Īorita Laura

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#Summertime! Grilled Caprese Salad w/ Basil Vinaigrette, Marinated Flank Steak & Frozen Peach Margaritas

Ahhhh Summer. Sun shiny days and warm balmy nights are the memories we cherish. And the songs of summer….keeping those memories alive throughout our lives.

So many songs sung about summertime…to name a few:

  • Summer Nights (1978)
  • Hot Fun in the Summertime (1969)
  • Summer Breeze (1972)
  • Summer in the ¬†City (1966)
  • Summer of 69 (1985)
  • Summertime (1991)
  • Summertime Blues (1958)
  • Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer (1963)
  • Summer Love (2007)
  • A Summer Song (1964)

“In the Good Old Summertime,” is perhaps the song that resonates with me; conjuring up memories of lemonade and the days spent during my summer vacation in middle school ¬†when I would volunteer at a Rockyknoll Nursing Home. We wore an apron of red and white stripes with pockets and were called ‘candy stripers,’ but the residents referred to us as ‘friendly visitors.’ 41ox8lxm0OLIt was my first experience that instilled my looming fear of growing old.

Candy stripers or friendly visitors had jobs: read mail to the patients, wheel them into the group areas for bingo, and just be ‘friendly.’ ¬†I vividly recall my first day;¬†carefully unfolding the crisp uniform and placing our name tag on, we were sent out to roam about the fourth floor. We were only permitted on certain floors. I heard screams coming from one of the rooms. It was an elderly woman screaming, “I WANT TO DIE! D-I-E DIE!” over and over. We were told to ignore her and not enter the room.¬†Curiosity got the best of me, as it often does, and I entered the room where I was met by a flying tissue box. I quickly decided to not be so curious.¬†

The group sing alongs were the best. Lead by a retired music teacher, playing songs on an old oak spinet piano, I saw new light and life coming into the eyes of people who would be slumped and sleeping in their wheel chairs throughout the day. It reminded me of the song, ” When I grow too old to dream, I’ll have you to remember…” I quickly noticed that some of these people who couldn’t remember what they had for breakfast, were singing words to these songs with great enthusiasm. Amazing.51xGqKIyFjL

Life Lessons are just that. The realization that growing old is inevitable. The fear of growing old pales by comparison to the thought of not growing old. Celebrate the little things and make the most of every day.

Let’s add a little flavor to our

SUMMERTIME SUPPERS!

GRILLED CAPRESE SALAD with BASAL VINAIGRETTE  img_5102

This is a delicious dish I adapted from the blog, ‘Steamy Kitchen.’ Fresh and simple to prepare and beautiful presentation. No one will know it took very little time.¬†

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  • 2 C. fresh basil leaves ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • 1/2 C. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. white wine vinegar
  • 3 T. Parmesan grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced horizontally into thirds
  • 6 oz. fresh tomatoes cut into 8 slices
  • Process basil, 1/3 C. oil, vinegar, parmesan, salt & pepper in a food processor until smooth.

Coat tomato slices with remaining oil, season with salt and pepper & grill on 1 side for 1 minute then flip (do not flip the tops).

Place cheese on tomato slices and grill until it begins to melt, 1-2 min.

Assemble stacks with 2 cheese topped slices and 1 top. (Add fresh basil leaves to each layer and on top if you wish) Serve with basil sauce.

GRILLED MARINATED FLANK STEAK

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This delicious flank steak recipe I found on Pinterest from Elyse at Simply Recipes takes little time to prepare and is a crowd pleaser!

Combine marinade in a bowl and add your flank steak making sure the flank steak is evenly coated on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

For the Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Steak:

2 lb. flank steak & 1/2 C. cracked whole peppercorns

Combine marinade in a bowl and add a 2 lb. flank steak making sure the steak is evenly coated on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Heat grill on high. Spread peppercorns on both sides of the flank steak and place it on the hot side of the grill. Grill for 1-2 min. on each side to get a good sear. Move the steak to the cooler side of the grill until its done to your liking. (125 to 130¬įF for rare, 140¬įF for medium rare, and 150¬įF for medium)

Cut the meat across the grain in thick slices and serve!

FRESH PEACH MARGARITAS

This fresh delicious drink pinned to my Summertime Board on Pinterest came from Bakerbynature.com. 

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6 Ripe Peaches
1/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1 Tablespoons Confectioners’ Sugar
1 Cup tequila 
1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice 
1/2 Cup Triple Sec
1 lime, cut into wedges

Peal, Pit & slice peaches. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh peach slices.

To make frozen peach margaritas, freeze the oj and lime juice in ice-cube trays. Add to the blender and divide evenly among the glasses. 

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Thanks so much for popping in. I’d love to hear from you! If you would like my posts to come to your inbox, scroll down and click my follow link! Until next time…

Cheers! Laura