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Comfort….

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Today I learned of a friend’s passing.  A tearful whisper in the wind.

My friend was kind, cheerful, giving and loving, to her family and to her friends. Everyone knew the cancer had returned, but her heart wouldn’t allow her to share the burden she carried when hope turned to prayers and words turned to tears.

Visiting her Pinterest boards today, it became clear that words of inspiration and thoughts reach deeply into our hearts and minds.

With tears in my eyes, I wanted to write..

“My dear Friend,

I wish I could have shared your pain and kept your private fears and tears close to my heart. I pray that your pain is gone and you are at peace.”

These are some of her posts….

Geralyn's words

Comfort comes with time and we hope that time does heal, although the pain never really goes away. Comfort comes in many ways and opening our hearts to comfort during difficult times can help.
Geralyn

My upbringing always brings me to food. Growing up, food was always the center of happiness, sadness and just about anything in between. My Steve always says that dining with family is an experience….they are the only people he knows who can be discussing what they want for the next meal while they are eating…too true:)

So for me, comfort food is just that, and I have found this delicious twist on stroganoff with just the right amount of heat and the right amount of comfort. Enjoy!

CAJUN CHICKEN STROGANOFF

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  •  8 oz. dry wide egg noodles

  • 8 oz. kielbasa, sliced 8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 11/2 lb. chicken breast tenders

  • 1/2 tsp. each cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, dried basil, dried thyme, and dried oregano

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste

  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Sliced scallions

DIRECTIONS

Cook noodles in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.

Sauté kielbasa and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until browned, 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl.

Combine chicken with seasonings, tossing to coat, then dust with flour. Sauté chicken in remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in same sauté pan over medium-high heat until nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Push chicken to the side of the pan, stir in tomato paste and garlic, and cook 1 minute.

Deglaze pan with sherry, scraping up any brown bits; simmer until nearly evaporated. A

dd broth, Worcestershire, and reserved kielbasa and mushroom mixture, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.

Off heat, stir in sour cream.

Serve stroganoff over noodles and garnish with scallions

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7 Quick Back to School Breakfast Bites

With school starting, the search for quick, delicious and healthy morning treats goes on! I honestly don’t know how we survived without Pinterest and Google Search to serve all of our daily info needs! Starting the day off right sets the stage for kids of all ages to have a successful day!

They say, whoever they is, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My Steve used to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because you have a big problem if you aren’t home by then. Not funny but he’s definitely right.

Check out these delicious breakfast bites. With a little planning, your family will look forward to stopping at the breakfast table in the morning!

PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST!

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INGREDIENTS
1 EGG
1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. fully-cooked breakfast sausage crumbles OR 1 fully-cooked breakfast sausage link or patty, chopped
1 round flatbread (6-inch)
2 tbsp. finely shredded Cheddar cheese
Yields: 1 serving

DIRECTIONS

COAT in 2-cup microwave-safe cereal bowl with cooking spray. ADD egg and milk; BEAT until blended. ADD sausage.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 30 seconds; push cooked edges toward center. MICROWAVE until egg is almost set, about 15 to 45 seconds longer.

CUT egg into 4 or 5 pieces; arrange on flatbread. TOP with cheese. MICROWAVE an additional 10 to 15 seconds to melt cheese. SERVE immediately.

EGG AND SAUSAGE TACO

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INGREDIENTS
1 EGG
1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. fully-cooked breakfast sausage crumbles OR 1 fully-cooked breakfast sausage link or patty, chopped
1 thin flatbread OR tortilla, warmed
2 tbsp. finely shredded Cheddar cheese OR Mexican cheese blend
Salsa, OPTIONAL
Yields: 1 serving
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
DIRECTIONS

COAT 2-cup microwave-safe cereal bowl with cooking spray. ADD egg and milk; BEAT until blended. ADD sausage.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 30 seconds; push cooked edges toward center. MICROWAVE until egg is almost set, about 15 to 45 seconds longer.

PLACE on flatbread. TOP with cheese. FOLD and serve with salsa, if desired.

MUFFIN FRITATAS

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INGREDIENTS
6 EGGS
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
3/4 cup chopped zucchini or spinach
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tbsp. chopped red onion
Yields: 6 servings/12 muffin frittatas

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS

HEAT oven to 350°F. BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until well-blended. ADD cheese, zucchini, bell pepper and onion; mix well. SPOON evenly into 12 greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each.

BAKE in 350°F oven until just set, 20 to 22 minutes. COOL on wire rack 5 minutes. REMOVE from cups; serve warm.

BACON AND EGG BREAKFAST GRILLED CHEESE

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2 EGGS
2 tbsp. milk OR water
salt and pepper, as desired
3 tsp. butter, room temperature, divided
4 slices whole wheat OR white bread
2 slices Colby-Jack cheese
4 slices fully-cooked bacon
Yields: 2 sandwiches

DIRECTIONS

BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in small bowl until blended.

HEAT 1 tsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. POUR IN egg mixture. As eggs begin to set, GENTLY PULL the eggs across the pan with an inverted turner, forming large soft curds. CONTINUE cooking – pulling, lifting and folding eggs – until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly. REMOVE from pan. CLEAN skillet.

SPREAD remaining 2 tsp. butter evenly on one side of each bread slice. PLACE 2 slices in skillet, buttered side down. TOP evenly with scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon. COVER with remaining bread, buttered side up.

COOK sandwiches over medium heat, turning once, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.

BAKED FRENCH TOAST

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INGREDIENTS

1½ c Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt
10, ¾-inch-thick slices challah or brioche
¾ c milk
4 large eggs
2 T light brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh berries
Maple syrup and powdered sugar (optional)

PREPARATION

STEP 1
Arrange bread slices in a 9×13-inch greased baking dish.

STEP 2
Whisk together Chobani, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour over bread, cover pan with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

STEP 3
Bake at 375°F until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Slice and serve warm with fresh berries and syrup.

CHOBANI YOGERT PARFAIT

INGREDIENTS

Chobani_parfait

1/2 c Chobani Strawberry Greek Yogurt
½ c granola
½ c mixed berries

PREPARATION

STEP 1
In a parfait glass, layer ½ the Chobani, ½ the granola and ½ the berries. Repeat.

BACON EGG and CHEESE MONKEY BREAD

BACON EGG & CHEESSE MONEKY BREAD

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter
6 eggs, beaten
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (8 biscuits)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1 package (2.52 oz) precooked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions (4 medium)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12-cup fluted tube cake pan generously with cooking spray; set aside. In 8-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat; tilt pan to coat. Add eggs. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until firm but still moist, stirring frequently.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 3 tablespoons butter uncovered on Medium-High (70%) 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to bottom of pan, brushing with pastry brush or tilting pan to coat halfway up sides. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into sixths. Coat biscuit pieces with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter; place half of them in bottom of pan. Layer with 1/2 cup of the cheese, half of the bacon, the scrambled eggs, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the green onions; add remaining bacon, remaining 1/2 cup cheese and remaining biscuit pieces.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; run metal spatula around outer and inside edges of pan to loosen. Turn over onto serving platter to serve.

Thanks for stopping in today! Find something to celebrate and enjoy each and every day! Each day is a gift.

Cheers to you! Laura

GREAT FINDS TO CHECK OUT…….

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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 jalapeño 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 8–10 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, 1–2 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…😋 (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

PS….I FOUND SOME GREAT THINGS TO SHOP FOR…..

The Summer House Cookbook: Easy Recipes for When You Have Better Things to Do with Your Time $14.94
+ $3.99 shipping

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America’s Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family’s Favorite Restaurants (America’s Most Wanted Recipes Series) $13.18 Amazon Prime

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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® Cake Vodka 
1 PART DeKuyper® 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® 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.


THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE MARTINI

DRINK-GRID-0046-ICED-STRAWBERRY-SHORT-CAKE-MARTINI12 OZ SMIRNOFF® 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® Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Cream
  • .5OZ Smirnoff® Iced Cake™ 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® Espresso Crème Liqueurcocktails_baileys_espresso_martini

.25OZ Smirnoff® 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

CHECK OUT MY SUNSET’S SHOPPING…..

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Rebecca Minkoff Avery Cross-Body Bag $150.46 Free Shipping for Prime Members & Free Returns.

 

 

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Rebecca Minkoff Women’s Georgina Gladiator Sandals $63.49 sale price & FREE Returns.

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SUMMER SALAD OBSESSION!

IMG_5326Balmy summer nights and all of the wonderful fresh produce have made me hungry for a variety of savory dinner salads. This whole obsession began with Steve, my husband of ten years this month! Steve decided that WE are getting a little chubby……(we???), so he would like to have salads for dinner. Most salads aren’t exactly low cal and diet friendly, however, loving fresh salads and vegetables (we could easily be vegetarians except for and occasional big ass burger:) I accepted the challenge! 

Last night, Steve and I were having a refreshing cocktail on the deck while I grilled the chicken to top our Greek Cobb Salad. So light and flavorful, it was a hit! I plated it on an oval serving dish and we each had our own side. I am not a big egg fan, and Steve isn’t a big cucumber fan, so we each had our own side of the dish! It was perfect! So perfect, in fact, that we ate to the middle and he took the middle for lunch today:)

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On Pinterest this morning, I went a little wild in the salad department. I counted 21 pins on my SALAD BOARD! I decided to hold off until I had time to try a few of the recipes. 

Here’s the favorites!

Greek Cobb Salad

Serves 6 servings 

 

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE, WHISK:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. each fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • FOR THE SALAD, TOSS:
  • 12 chicken tenders, seasoned with salt and black pepper (11/4 lb.)
  • 4 pitas (6-inch), brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper

Chop:

  • 5 cups chopped hearts of romaine (about 1 head)

ARRANGE:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.
    For the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. oil, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. For the salad, toss tenders with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette, then grill, covered, until cooked through, 3 minutes per side. Transfer tenders to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Chop tenders, then toss with any residual juices. 
  • grill heat to medium.
    Grill pitas until marks appear,
    1 minute per side. Cut pitas
    into 6 wedges.
    Arrange romaine in a large serving dish. Arrange eggs, tomatoes, feta, olives, red onion,  cucumber, chicken, and pitas on same dish; drizzle vinaigrette over the top.

I am ALL OVER this one for tomorrow night from  Pinterest!

BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE CILANTRO RANCH DRESSING (Adapted from Carlsbad Cravings)IMG_5334

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Does this look amazing?????

INGREDIENTS

Buffalo Chicken Salad
1 recipe Buffalo Chicken (see below), sliced or chopped
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 8 cups)
Fresh corn kernels from 1 ear of corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large avocado, chopped or sliced

Blue Cheese Cilantro Ranch
1/2 cup real mayonnaise (I use lowfat)
1/2 cup sour cream (may sub Greek yogurt with a pinch of sugar)
3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup cilantro, packed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dry parsley
1 teaspoons dry chives
1/2 teaspoons dry dill
milk (as needed)

An easy shortcut would be to use purchased ranch dressing, seasonings & blue cheese crumbles.

Garnish
Blue cheese crumbles
freshly squeezed lime juice
bacon crumbles (optional)

Easy Croutons
1/2 loaf garlic/herb French bread
olive oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Buffalo Chicken: Prepare Buffalo Chicken according to directions (see below)
Blue Cheese Cilantro Ranch: While your chicken is marinating, add all of the dressing ingredients to your blender and chop then liquefy until smooth, adding milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Chill until ready to use.
Croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cube bread into bite size pieces and add to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread bread in an even layer onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden.
Assemble: If not expecting leftovers, add all of the Salad ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and croutons. If you are expecting leftovers, toss all of the salad ingredient together in a large bowl except avocados. Garnish individual servings with avocados, croutons and dressing.

 

BUFFALO CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS
2-3 chicken breasts (approx. 1 pound), pounded thin
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Buffalo Marinade
1/4 cup Frank’s Hot WINGS Sauce for more heat OR Frank’s ORIGINAL Hot Sauce for less heat
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Buffalo Glaze
Reserved marinade (in directions)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together all of the Buffalo Marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Measure out 1/4 cup and add to a shallow dish or freezer bag, along with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken and toss evenly to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 hours up to overnight.
To the remaining marinade, make your Buffalo Glaze by whisking in 1 tablespoon honey and 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
STOVETOP DIRECTIONS
Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5-7 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Brush chicken with desired amount of glaze – for more heat, more glaze; for less heat, less glaze.
GRILLING DIRECTIONS
Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 155 degrees F.)
Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Brush chicken with desired amount of glaze – for more heat, more glaze; for less heat, less glaze.
NOTES
*The chicken is flavorful but not very spicy without the glaze. You can completely customize the heat of the chicken by adding more or less glaze. The more glaze the spicier the chicken
*Try tossing the chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce – amazing!
*Chicken is incredible on sandwiches, in wraps, salads, tacos, etc.
*Total time does not include marinating chicken as this time will vary per individual.

I hope you enjoyed today’s read and have a chance to try these amazing main course salads. I always aim for little fuss, and great flavor, so these two have definitely nailed it!

Don’t forget to check out todays shopping!

Cheers! Laura

IT’S AMAZON PRIME DAY! CHECK IT OUT!

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CELEBRATING THE #FOURTH of JULY with #PINTEREST-SPIRATION

I’m a summer girl and LOVE the Fourth of July! 

Bring on the heat, the cocktails, the grills and let the fireworks begin!! I poked around  PINTEREST PIN Pinterest today to find great recipes and entertaining ideas for your own fireworks celebration!

For an appetizer or a side course, check this out!

 PINTEREST PIN Patriotic Taco Salad from Taste of Home and Pinterest.

c2aa11e74bf7f575a29d0022cea89239Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups water
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 envelope taco seasoning
6 cups tortilla or corn chips
4 to 5 cups shredded lettuce
9 to 10 pitted large olives, sliced lengthwise
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions
In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water, tomato paste and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Place chips in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Spread beef mixture evenly over the top. Cover with lettuce. For each star, arrange five olive slices together in the upper left corner. To form stripes, add cheese and tomatoes in alternating rows. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

For the signature Cocktail, try the Watermelon Summer Splash!

1.5 CUPS SMIRNOFF WATERMELON

3 CUPS TONIC (serves 8)6eebe614537afca01e44bfc913287270Incredibly delicious Beer and Honey BBQ Chicken Skewers  were chosen for the main event! (found from Jo Cooks on Pinterest!)

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3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup beer
⅓ cup honey
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
cilantro for garnish

Cut chicken in small pieces, about 1½ inch cubes.
In a medium bowl whisk all the ingredients together. Add chicken, there should be enough marinade to cover the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours to 24 hours.
Fire up the grill.
Thread chicken on skewers, about 5 pieces per skewer. Do not throw away the leftover marinade.
Place chicken skewers on grill and turn every couple minutes or so, at the same time brushing some of the leftover marinade over the chicken. Grill until chicken is cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro and serve.

On the side, try the 

Grilled Ranch Potatoes! (from Creme de la Crumb on Pinterest)

5e08db3c4eddf3ee8c1ad748e867fc322 pounds baby red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil (or other oil)
1 packet ranch seasoning

Wash, pat dry, and quarter potatoes (for larger ones you may need to chop into slightly smaller pieces, about 1 inch pieces).
Place chopped potatoes in a large resealable bag. Drizzle olive oil into the bag, seal, and toss to coat the potatoes.
Open the bag, sprinkle in half of the ranch seasoning, seal, toss to coat, then repeat with remaining seasoning.
Thread potatoes on skewers. Grill over low heat for 10-20 minutes (depending on your grill and the size of your potatoes) turning throughout to ensure even cooking. When fork-tender, remove from grill and serve warm with cold ranch dressing if desired. Enjoy!

Dinner wouldn’t be complete without this

 Watermelon Arugula Salad with Jicama and Blueberries! (from Two Peas and their Pod on Pinterest)

33f51fda44201e7ea3fdb940441b04bf6 cups baby arugula
2 cups cubed watermelon, 1-inch cubes
1 cup blueberries
1 cup thin jicama strips
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the Honey Lime Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 large limes
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Pinch of sea salt

 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST……(drum roll, please)

Fourth of July Trifle! (from The Girl Who Ate Everything on Pinterest)

189e85ee355ff5c114bc3998a2d12eb9Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup white sugar
2 cups milk
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant cheesecake pudding mix
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup sour cream
2 (10.75 ounce) packages prepared pound cake
2 (16 ounce) carton strawberries, sliced
strawberries for garnish
blueberries for garnish
Instructions
In a medium bowl, combine cream and white sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside. You want a stiffer whipped cream for trifle so that it holds up over time.
In another bowl beat cheesecake pudding mixes with milk for 2 minutes or until thick. Mix in sour cream and lemon juice. Fold in one cup of the sweetened whipped cream.
Slice pound cake into one inch cubes.
In a trifle bowl, start by layering ¼ of the pound cake on the bottom of the trifle bowl (A large glass bowl can be used if you don’t have a trifle bowl). Next, layer ¼ of the pudding mixture followed by a layer of ¼ of the strawberries. To make trifle look presentable make sure each layer is distinct and separate especially on the sides of the bowl. Repeat layers four times or until bowl is almost full.
Garnish the top of the trifle with the remaining whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries.
Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/05/patriotic-trifle-and-giveaway.html#BpEK3bPAKYpVuu9j.99

SUPER CUTE SERVING SUGGESTIONS INSPIRED BY PINTEREST

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My featured image is a cool 4th of July custom cut Patriotic scrapbooking available on Ebay

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Thanks so much for visiting today, and I hope that you have a wonderful and memorable Fourth of July Celebration!

Cheers! 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°F for rare, 140°F for medium rare, and 150°F 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. 

SUNSET’S SHOP

 

 

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Home Essentials 1842 Del Sol Hammered Jug Beverage Dispenser With Rack, Set Of 2 $47.95

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Norpro 5113 Grip EZ Peach Wedger and PitterPrice: $8.19 Free Shipping for Prime Members

Do you  have an upcoming wedding and want to build the registry of your dreams?

Try try Amazon’s new Wedding Registry!

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

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SUNSETS HAPPY HOUR! Easy Entertaining Ideas; Summer Charcuterie & Summer Sangria

  • Ahhhhh…Summertime!

Sunsets, cocktails, and little delicious bites. Here are a few quick ideas and entertaining tips to keep you out of the kitchen and enjoying your sunset guests!

how_to_make_a_legit_charcuterie_board_1Talk about simple! Try putting together a cheese tray or charcuterie board. It’s all about an arrangement of cheeses, fruits, meats (optional) nuts, dips and crackers or breads.Go to your local market and purchase a small assortment of your favorites or check out pinterest for ideas to copy! Pretty soon you will be starting a board of your own if you haven’t already!Add a little SUMMER SANGRIA to the party, and it’s hit!

SUMMER SANGRIA

summer sangria1 small carton of raspberries, cut up in small pieces
1 small carton of strawberries, cut in small pieces
1 lime
1 granny smith apples, cut up
1 bosc pear, cut up
1 serrano pepper (more if you are daring)
1 bottle of chardonnay or any white wine you love
1/2 cup of white grape juice
1/4 cup of sugar
1 can of club soda
Mint leaves for garnish
Layer all fruit in the bottom of a pitcher, dusting sugar between each layer.

Add the wine, grape juice and club soda. Garnish with mint and enjoy!

PINTEREST PIN When looking for ideas,  Pinterest is the place to find amazing recipes, inspirations for decorating, gardening, and just about anything!

Check out my Pinterest board 
for simple entertaining ideas. While you are there, visit my APPETIZERS & BITES board. It’s stacked with mouthwatering recipes.

PINTEREST is easy to use, filled with great ideas, and….careful…..it’s addicting! PINTEREST PIN

 PRODUCTS I LOVE…..

PERSONALIZED CUTTING BOARD

Personalized Engraved Cutting Board $35.00 FROM AMAZON