Wednesday, May 29, 2013

~~~~Starfruit Cocktail~~~~

The heat is rising which means more summer time cocktails!!!!

I got this ginormous and beautiful starfruit at the supermarket this past week and I though what a fun fruit to make a cocktail with. The starfruit flavor is a very interesting one and the best way for me to describe it is the love child of an apple and pear, but it has a mild sourness to it. It is a very distinct and interesting texture and flavor.

You definitely must try it, if you never have before.

So here is a simple starfruit cocktail recipe that I came up with.

*Yields two cocktails
You will need:
- 1 starfruit
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces triple sec
- 1 sparkling water or lemon lime soda*
*I prefer sparkling water because it has less calories and sugar than soda and I always have some on hand, but soda would work too and make the drink a little sweeter.

Cut the starfruit by taking the skin off each of the 5 points. Leave the points, just barely cut off the skin. Then slice the starfruit horizontally so that each slice forms a star shape.

Take 4 to 5 slices and cut into small chunks. Place chunks into a shaker and muddle with a muddler or end of a wooden spoon. The muddling will help extract some of the juice for flavoring.

Add ice into the shaker, then add the vodka, triple sec and squeeze half a lemon into the shaker. Close and give it a good couple of shakes to ensure the mixture is well combined and chilled. Strain into two large glasses filled with ice and pour the sparkling water or lemon lime soda to fill the glass, then top with a slice of the starfruit. There you have it!

A nice refreshing cocktail that isn't the same old vodka and tonic. We jazzed it up a little!

Enjoy and have fun with it!!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is by far my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. About two months ago I purchased my first ice cream & dessert recipe book. It is the Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones from Bi-Rite Creamery. So many different ice creams, cookies and cakes that I can hardly contain myself!!!

Well, we love dessert at my house and cookies are one of those easy to make, usually have the ingredients on hand kind of desserts. So after dinner I thought why the heck not?!?!

I pulled out my recipe book and all of the ingredients and got to work.

Recipe courtesy of Bi-Rite Creamery.

Here is what you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 oz. or about 2 cups of bittersweet chocolate (52% to 60% cacao) chopped 
  1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of stand mixer, or you can use a hand mixer, use paddle attachment and combine the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Then with the motor running, add eggs one at a time blending thoroughly after each egg. Then add the vanilla.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and add the chopped chocolate. (Even though I used chocolate chips, I still chopped the chocolate a little bit. This adds tiny shards that permeate the dough itself, as well as the large chunks that create pockets of chocolate deliciousness. Chocolate on chocolate. I found this is the best when making chocolate chip cookies. It really makes them my own.)
  4. Once chocolate is added, turn mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture just until dough comes together, about 15 seconds.
  5. Cover dough with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 2 hours or freezer for 30 minutes if you just can't wait to bake your cookies like I did! 
  6. When you are ready to bake, position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick mats.
  7. Scoop up two tablespoons or dough (I used a 1-ounce dough scoop) and form the dough into a ball. Repeat until all dough has been shaped. Then use your palm to flatten the dough balls so that they are about 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. This allows for even baking of the cookies. Bake about 7 minutes longer or until cookies are slightly golden brown.
  9. Let the cookies cool for a minute or two on the baking sheet then transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and store cookies in an airtight container.
Makes about 40 cookies.

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!!!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Maid-Rites at Home

My dad grew up in the little town of Quincy Illinois where he first discovered the Maid-Rite. Everytime we would go visit my grandparents, he would make sure that we stopped at all of his favorite places to eat, one of those is the Maid-Rite Diner. The best way for me to describe Maid-Rites is they are like sloppy joes without the sauce. Maid-Rites are known for their seasoned loose-meat sandwiches. You can check out their website here. They have been in business for over 87 years. The locations are very limited and its hard to find Maid-Rite here in San Antonio. Luckily enough for me, my dad used to make these at home all the time when I was a kid, and he just so happened to share his secret recipe with me.

So today I am going to share this recipe with you. It is so simple, quick and delicious that I am sure it will become an instant favorite for a quick dinner and/or lunch.

For the seasoned beef you will need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Begin by browning the ground beef in a skillet or pan. As soon as the beef starts turning brown, add the onion powder, garlic powder, pickle juice and salt and pepper to taste. The secret to this ground beef is that you let the beef cook in the pickle juice!! I always use Best Maid pickles and pickle juice for this recipe, but you can use any dill pickle juice. This infuses the meat with the pickle flavor and keeps the meat super moist. Make sure you crumble the beef as much as possible. Once the meat is fully cooked, strain all of the pickle juice, grease, etc.. into a bowl. NOT DOWN THE SINK!! Make sure you always dispose of your grease in the trash can or proper recepticle. No grease monsters here!!!

Once the meat is strained, place the ground meat on a standard hamburger bun, or if you really want an authentic maid-rite, you can steam your hamburger buns before putting the meat on there. Typically the maid-rites are then topped with chopped onions and pickles and then your choice of mustard or ketchup. I love mine with just mustard, onions and pickles, but you can add any topping you prefer. You made it remember!!!!

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It is so simple that you can whip it up in a matter of minutes for a quick lunch or easy dinner.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Long Rainy Crafty Weekend

Sunday mornings are one of my favorite things, and what makes it even more special is I still have another day off work!!! A long weekend was definitely needed as I have yet to take my Vacation days this year. Soon enough....

More good news is that San Antonio finally got some good rain! It was pouring so bad on Saturday morning that they cancelled the Farmer's market. Flood alerts were everywhere and there weren't too many people venturing out of their homes. The cats spent most of the day looking out the windows and sleeping.

This weekend I have been gathering ideas and working on my handmade decorations for a party coming up next week. Rainy days are the best for crafting!!!

I made these super cute little triangle banners. I am still working on the decorations, but I have a good idea of the direction I want to go in. Keeping it simple with greens, yellows and whites since she loves daisies and sticking with natural items such as burlap and hemp twine.

I really enjoy making handmade decor and decorations for things. I feel like it really adds character to a space or event.

I hung them in the living room for now to keep them in pristine shape, plus it helps that they are super cute!!

Hope everyone else is enjoying their long weekend as much as I am!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Quick Update

Been computer less for a few days. Got my new Macbook Pro in the mail today so here is a quick update on some weekend activities.

 Spent some quality time with the kitties.

 Tried my first starfruit.

 Got these amazing blackberries at the local farmer's market and made some homemade vanilla ice cream to go with the blackberry cobbler I whipped up. Seriously one of my favorite flavor combinations ever!! It reminds me of when I lived in Germany. My parents would take my sister and I to the local Greek restaurant and for dessert we would get a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a warm blackberry reduction over the top. Heavenly!

We also went to the Spurs Vs. Grizzlies Playoff Games 1 and 2. So exciting!! I love my Spurs!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

^^Roasted Lemon White Bean Hummus ^^

One of my favorite snacks is hummus. It is a great quick snack that curbs that craving for salty unhealthy potato chips.  As I was searching the panty for some garbonzo beans, I cam across a can of white kidney beans, so I said "Why the heck not?!?" ....I mean essentially it is bean dip, right!?!?!

Here is what you need:
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 can of white kidney beans, or any white bean variety
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Start of by roasting the two halves of lemon under the broiler for about 25 minutes or until they get a little brown. Roasting the lemons helps extract the juices and enhances the sweetness of the lemon while toning down the acidity.

Drain the juice out of the can of beans and place beans into a food processor. Add the clove of garlic, tahini, salt and pepper and then the lemon juice. Careful as the lemon may still be hot!

Proccess until smooth. Then add your tablespoon of olive oil and process again. That's it!! You can add some paprika or seasoning to the top if you want, but it is great plain too! I added some greek seasoning mix and some paprika.