When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Strawberry Basil Lemonade

It’s Friday Y’all! In celebration of a beautiful Friday afternoon in YEG I beg you all, make a Strawberry Basil Lemonade, find a ray of sun, and relax like it’s your job!

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

This is a quickie but a goodie my friends so don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

Here’s what you need (makes one serving):

  • 1C Lemonade (or half lemonade half soda if you please)
  • 2-3 Fresh or Frozen Strawberries
  • 4-5 Basil Leaves (Mint would also be lovely)
  • 1-however much you want, I’m not here to judge you ounces of Vodka (or Gin)
  • Muddler, or something to smash things up with

OK, now it’s time for the exciting part…

Muddle/smash up the strawberries and basil (if the strawberries are frozen just let them thaw a little) in your glass, add your vodka and lemonade/soda mixture. Consume and repeat!

Cheers!

PS – Don’t forget, Saturday May 24th is the first What the Truck event of the year; you don’t want to miss it! Click here for details!

All Up In Yo’ Grill With Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce

This beautiful sunshine has me craving BBQ deliciousness! I love BBQ’ed anything! So in light of that I thought you might enjoy a recipe I recently fell in love with from Iowa Girl Eats for a Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce. She uses the BBQ sauce to make a killer grilled chicken salad but I’ve used it now with chicken, beef, and pork and it’s to die for! ChipotleMangoBBQSauce Don’t worry homemade BBQ sauce isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think! All you need is:

  • 1 Mango, Chopped
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo (plus some of the Adobo Sauce) or more if you think you can handle it!
  • 1/3 C  Ketchup (I cut back on the this a little from the original recipe)
  • ½ C Apple Juice
  • ¼ C Onion, Chopped
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
  • Juice from ½ Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (in the Asian aisle at the store)
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbps Canola Oil
  • 2 tsp Paprika (you could totally experiment here with whatever you have on hand; I think a smokey cumin would also be great!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Now all you do is toss all that together in a pot, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 15-20 mins or until the consistency is to your liking. Let it cool and then whiz it up in a food processor/blender/magic bullet but I like to leave it a little chunky, doesn’t have to be perfect! Slather your grilled chicken or hamburgers in this sauce for a sweet and spicy kick or try grilling your corn on the cob and brushing it with this sauce as it cooks. Also, if you want to ensure your invite to the next neighbourhood block party pack some of this sauce up in a small mason jar, make it look pretty with ribbons ‘n’ shit and there you have it, a fabulous hostess gift.

Cheers!

BuzzFeed Food Clean Eating Challenge & Bikini Season

It dawned on me, as it often does around this time of year, that bikini season is all too quickly approaching *shudder*. It’s a sad time of year for us food lovers, to transition away from hearty stews, pastas, and braised meats, although often a welcome change it’s always hard to say good bye to those wintery delights.

It was a happy coincidence that I stumbled upon BuzzFeed’s Clean Eating Challenge  right around the time I was building up to my annual OMFG IT’S ALMOST BIKINI SEASON panic attack. This ‘challenge’ outlines a 2 week meal plan that includes recipes and shopping lists for 14 breakfasts, lunches, afternoon snacks, dinners, and evening snacks. It’s pretty intense! It also outlines that you are to avoid caffeine and alcohol for the entire 2 weeks…I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that.

Buzzfeed

So far I am on Day 5 of the challenge (missing Day 1 due to Mother’s Day festivities) and I’ve got to say – it’s a butt load of work! There is A LOT of prep involved in this meal plan so if you’re thinking of giving it a try just know going into it that it’s a very dynamic meal plan with no repeated recipes, which is great for those who get bored of eating the same thing but can be difficult when you have to prepare 5 different breakfasts, lunches, and snacks throughout your work week.

The food so far has been totally delicious! Seriously! I really enjoyed Day 2’s Overnight Oats for breakfast (although chai seeds have a bit of a slimy texture that I need to get used to) and the afternoon snack of tomato, basil, and feta. As well Day 3’s Roasted Cauliflower and Lentils dinner was tasty (with the addition of garam masala, because why not?).

The shopping list is very detailed and let me tell you she is LENGTHY! Oh my, this was one of the most expensive grocery store visits I’ve ever had – to make this meal plan for 2 people just for Week 1 groceries I was in for $200, that’s just one week! Normally when I meal plan I shop for 4 dinners, 4-5 lunches, and 5-6 breakfasts and spend between $80 – $110 tops! It is so frustrating that getting the “healthy food” (veggies like kale, avocado, spinach, etc.) costs so much more than 5 days’ worth of Hamburger Helper – something is just not right about that picture! BUT I’m not here to solve the problems of the world so let’s move on.

What I DO like about this challenge is that  I think it will be a great way to incorporate some new, lighter, fresh, more bikini friendly meals into my regular rotation. Do I plan to follow the challenge as if it were the law?  Oh, hells no! That kind of rigidity in a diet just doesn’t work for me, I am certainly not a “dieter”. However, I recently heard a great theory on life style change and developing better eating habits in the movie Hungry for Change (on Netflix) from David Wolfe, he says, “the best strategy we’ve got is to just add in the good stuff! Eventually it’s going to crowd out the bad stuff”.  Basically he’s saying that the more you try to add in natural, clean foods the less room there will be in your life for junky processed foods and it’s his belief  that once you start adding in more of the ‘good stuff’ you’ll feel so great that you won’t even miss the ‘bad stuff’. I really like the idea of looking at this challenge as adding in some great new recipes and delicious new products/produce into my food life rather than limiting myself to only the food items outlined in the meal plan. So, we’ll see how that goes.

davidwolfequote

But in the meantime I’ll try to post about some of the challenge recipes that I enjoy and encourage you to check it out for yourself – it may be a little more expensive and have a bit more prep work then you’re used to but I really do think it’s full of unique, healthy, and yummy recipes.

Oh, and if you spot me out and about enjoying a glass of wine and a cheese plate don’t judge me – a girl’s got needs man! Just smile to yourself with smug satisfaction knowing that I do not posses the willpower necessary to go without cheese and wine for 14 days…it’s just not something I am capable of.

Cheers!

Mini Shrimp Tacos for Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

What’s not to love about a celebration that typically includes margaritas?!

Wikipedia tells me that Cinco dy Mayo is a Mexican-American celebration held on May 5th to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the early years of the American Civil War.  Wikipedia goes on to say:

The American Cinco de Mayo celebration originated in the Mexican-American communities of the American West, Southwest, and Northwest in the 1860s. Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the American Civil War are credited with being the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. It grew in popularity and evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, first in areas with large Mexican-American populations, like Los Angeles,  Chicago, and Houston. Eventually it expanded across the United States. On June 7, 2005, the U.S. Congress issued a Concurrent Resolution calling on the President of the United States to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

So there’s the educational content for today. Moving on, Mini Shrimp Tacos!

Mini Tacos

These little darlings have a couple different components to them but are still pretty easy to pull together. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Chili Lime Shrimp:

  • Shrimp (fresh, frozen…all good!), 1 shrimp per taco
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • Cayenne (a pinch -1 tsp.)
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Chipotle Cream:

  • ½c Greek Yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Chipotle Hot Sauce (or the liquid from a can of Chilies in Adobo)
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Avocado Mash:

  • 1-2 Avocados
  • Salt
  • 1 Bag of Scoops Tortilla chips
  • Cilantro to garnish

Turn the broiler on high and mix up the spices for the Chili Lime Shrimp.  If using frozen shrimp, thaw them according to package directions. Lay the shrimp out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the seasoning mixture. If using fresh shrimp broil until they turn pink and are cooked through (3 minutes a side or so), if using frozen shrimp give them a minute under the broiler and then pour off any excess liquid that has accumulated in the baking sheet – continue cooking (and draining if needed) until they are warm through.

Mash the avocado with a pinch of salt.

Mix the Greek yogurt with the chipotle sauce of your choosing, cumin, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble spread out the tortilla chips on your serving platter and fill each one with a ½ tsp. or so of the Avocado Mash, lay a Chili Lime Shrimp on top of that and then drizzle with some of the Chipotle Cream. Top each Mini Shrimp Taco with a small sprinkle of fresh cilantro and serve…preferably with a lime margarita on the rocks!

Mini Shrimp Taco

You can check out the inspiration for these delicious morsels by clicking here.

Cheers!