Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Happy Friday everyone!! Who’s excited for the weekend?? (Raising hand emoji inserted here.) We have a busy weekend ahead of us. One of Chris’s fraternity brothers is getting married Saturday & it’s always fun to get together with all of his friends. They seem to think they’re still in college so all of us girlfriends & wives-to-be get a good laugh out of making fun of them.

Saturday we will be driving up to Westlake Village for the wedding & then shacking up at a friend’s house in the Valley. A mini getaway is super needed, even if it is just for a night. Then Sunday night we are going to see Jason Aldean which I am super excited for!! Last summer we went to see him at Irvine Meadows & I talked Chris into leaving before the concert even started. I am just not really a fan of those concerts were you are fighting for a spot & everyone is pushing each other. I think I even broke a sandal at that show. RIP.
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Pinch of Yum’s Crockpot Mexican Chicken

Summer time for me usually means I am staying out of the kitchen as much as possible. I hate being hot while I cook & when it pushing 90 like it is this week in SoCal, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or the grill.

When we moved in May, we moved into a big apartment, with a small kitchen, so I am still trying to figure out my flow in the new place with a different stove & oven. Our meals have been leaning toward taking advantage of the food truck at the apartment & grilling as much as possible.

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But this crock pot recipe from Pinch of Yum is one of the best recipes I have tried in a long time. Best part, it’s like she knows me! She gave options on how to modify the recipe to your liking, & anyone who knows me knows it’s hard for me to follow a recipe so it was perfect. Instead of using dry beans, I used canned. I added a cup of frozen corn, & used a little less salsa than suggested. It came out amazing. Here is the recipe on Pinch of Yum & below is how I made it.

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Simple Turkey Meatloaf

Helllooo everyone! How was everyone’s weekend?? Anytime I get two days off in a row I am beyond pumped! Especially during the month of December. That is like unheard of.

This weekend we headed up the coast to see a friend perform in a Christmas show & celebrate another friend’s birthday, which is pretty exciting for us. We don’t spend too many weekends at home, but we usually aren’t able to spend too much time with our friends so it is always so much fun when we get to hang out and catch up.

I would be lying to you, though, if I were to say that I wasn’t paranoid that our refrigerator full of veggies is going to go bad on our two nights away. Yes, I get paranoid over leaving for two nights. I am a freak! We went major grocery shopping on last Monday night and totally stocked up on veggies and meats that we were desperately lacking. I was good & froze all of the meats we haven’t cooked this week but I always feel like it is a race against time to eat all of the fresh vegetables we buy.

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How do you guys make sure your veggies don’t go bad? I try to stock up on carrots and celery & other root veggies that won’t go bad as quickly but what do you do with all of those tomatoes?!!!

One of my favorite ways to quickly use all of the veggies in the fridge, besides making some sort of soup or a quiche, is pulling out a pound of turkey meat & throwing together an amazing meatloaf. What is great is you can totally use whatever you have in there. BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, and any and all veggies.

This is a very simple version of my meatloaf, with just the essentials in it. Usually I add spinach, broccoli & even peppers inside.

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1 lb ground turkey meat
1 medium carrot, grated
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ cup brown onion, chopped
¼ cup ketchup
⅓ cup BBQ sauce
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
⅛ tsp dry mustard
½ cup panko

1. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Chop onions and celery, set aside. Grate carrot and set aside.
3. Empty turkey meat into large bowl. Pour carrots, celery and onion into bowl and mix with your hands. Ensure to mix fully so that vegetables are evenly dispersed.
4. Add ketchup, bbq sauce, salt, pepper, dry mustard and panko. Mix with hands again. Pour into loaf pan.
5. Bake at 375° for 50-60 minutes.

 

Beer Braised Brats

Everyone knows I am a little bit of a wino. I love the taste, the fact that there are independently owned wineries all over California & I love even more that more & more wineries are opening up around the country. Love supporting local businesses. Anyone who has the balls to put themselves out there & start something deserves to be supported.

Last year Chris & I started getting more & more into beer, for all of the same reasons. Breweries are popping up all over the country & a lot of breweries feature great pup foods & snacks.

A few months ago we spent a long weekend in the West Palm Beach area of Florida. We were there for a wedding but my cousin moved there a few years ago so we spent a day with him & his wife brewery hopping to three different breweries. Two were seasoned breweries but one had just opened that week, which was pretty cool.

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They were each so different from their ambiance, to their taste. My favorite was probably Due South Brewing Company. A large 15,000 square foot brewery with an onsite taproom, private back room & yard games to play. Due South was the second gastropub we stopped at so we started by grabbing dinner at the food truck on our way in the door. We each got a flight & played a game of corn hole. Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!

If you talked to me 6 years ago I would say pass me a Michelob Ultra for the girlie taste & the $4 price tag. Now a days I’d like only a freshly tapped Double IPA with an amazing basket of sweat potato fries & pumpkin dip. I know, pretty specific.

This recipe I kind of just winged. I tried it a few times, & it didn’t always work out. Chris ate it with a smile, but maybe he actually liked it. I didn’t though. So I changed it little by little each time I tried it & finally figured out how to make it so we both liked it. Crispy but still full of flavorful beer with an amazing caramelized onion flavor. Yum! I want to eat it right now. I hope you enjoy just as much as I do.

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5 Tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion
5 bratwurst
12 oz blonde ale

1.  Heat oil on low.
2.  Cook brats over low heat for about 5 minutes per side. Try to get as much of the surface spaced browned for an even cook.
3.  Add onions and raise heat to medium. Cook down onion for about 4 minutes or until soft, but not translucent.
4.  Add beer and cook covered. Allow beer to bubble up around brats.
5.  Once beer is reduced to half, uncover and continue to cook until only a small layer of beer remains. Onions will be caramelized.

Turkey Tacos

It is very rare that I get a weekend day off being I work in retail but I absolutely love when I am off like the rest of the world. Weekends in Southern California can be so vast. You truly can go anywhere, & everywhere all in the same day.

We started our morning on Saturday heading down to the desert to pick up some wine at a few wineries that we are members at. Yes I said a few. We may have a slight problem of collecting wine clubs. I am a big fan of supporting small mom & pop shops. I will go to a home style restaurant before you ever see me at a Fridays or Applebees. (Don’t get me wrong, I love both of those places, but if I had the choice, the small window front restaurant is going to get my business first.) I love shopping at small retailers where not everyone is going to have the same thing as you. And I would shop at a farmers market every day if I could.

So when I first discovered Temecula, CA & the small wineries they had to offer, I said sign me up!

No but literally we signed up… a lot.

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It works out to about once a month we head down to the desert & pick up anywhere between 2 & sometimes even 9 bottles of pre-selected wines that the wine clubs pick out for us. Best part is, while we are there we are able to have a flight or glass for free.

So Saturday we headed down to Temecula, picked up some wine, had a glass & soaked up the sun.

After all of that sun I talked Chris into heading to the beach to watch the sunset, & he is such a great guy that we drove almost two hours out of the way to make it just in time to Dana Point and watch the sun set over the Pacific. It truly is an amazing view, & one of my favorite parts of living in California. I grew up at the beach but the quaint beaches of Long Island Sound got nothing on the cliffsides and waves of the Pacific Coast.

After sunset we drove up Pacific Coast Highway, through Laguna Beach (picking out restaurants and bars we want to try), & ended up at Balboa Island in Newport Beach.

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Balboa Island is known for two things: it’s cute beachside cottages that can run upward of a million dollars, and frozen bananas. YUM! There are two ice cream shops, about 500 feet from each other, that ironically, both claim to be the original home of the frozen banana. Now I don’t know who is embellishing, can honestly I don’t really care, but these things are amazing.

The only things that could have made the day any better was to stop at a little Mexican joint on the water, have some guacamole & of coarse… tacos. So instead. I decided I’d make my own.

Tacos growing up meant heavy McCormick’s seasoning, and hard taco shells. After Chris & I started dating, I began going to his house for dinner & that is when I saw true Mexican tacos, & how easy they can be to make! Lucky for me he was the seasoning taster in his family (aka the most judgmental about his tacos) so it didn’t take me too long to pick up how his mom made them.

I’m still working on the whole warming my tortillas up on the stove… for safety reasons of coarse. I am kind of a klutz. But this is one of my favorite go to recipes I have picked up. Try it out & of coarse, enjoy!

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1 lb turkey meat
Garlic salt, pepper
½ head iceberg lettuce
1 roma tomato or 12 grape tomatoes
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
½ avocado
cilantro, chopped

1.  Slice iceberg lettuce into ¼ inch slices, wash and dry lettuce. Wash and slice tomato into similar slices.
2.  Pepper to taste and soak in apple cider vinegar and set aside.
3.  Place ground turkey into heated skillet over medium heat. Cook over medium heat breaking up meat to small pieces. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Once meat looks cooked through, lower heat and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring regularly.
5.  While meat simmers place tortilla over open flame, laying directly on gas burner. Once edges begin to curl slightly, flip using rubber coated tongs. **Be careful here! I’ve burnt myself a few times.
6.  Built taco using heated tortilla, turkey meat and topped with lettuce and tomato mixture. Top with salsa, diced avocado and cilantro.

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