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.

DSC00617

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.

Continue reading

Homemade Margarita

There are things happening people!! Happy Cinco de Mayo friends! Today we are talking about beverages! The adult kind with a little bit of lime. Yep you got it! Homemade margaritas. So I think many of you are aware that I work in retail… & if we are to be 100% honest… retail hours suck. I love the flexibility of my job but I hate the holiday hours, working on the weekends, & not seeing my family for Christmas for the past 5 years.

So my friend, & fellow retail worker/east coast originator, Bryan & I have been working on a little project help relieve us of our terrible work schedules. Our project is involving some soy wax, a lot of sent testing & mixing, & a lot of market research. Wondering what we’ve been working on? Well if you haven’t put the clues together you are just going to have to wait. We aren’t 100% ready yet to let out our little secret but in the next few weeks I will let you all know.

IMG_2391

Today we are here to talk about Bryan & my favorite beverage while we are working on our project. When we worked together a few years back we would spend every other Wednesday after work at happy hour at an amazing Mexican restaurant in Sherman Oaks, CA, Casa Vega. If you are ever in LA take the trip over the hill to try it! It is a Los Angeles landmark & has been around since 1956 bringing in celebrities & locals alike.

When Bryan & I first started talking about our project we began over a few of these beautiful little things & our ideas started sparking to life. We decided we wanted to make our brain storming session it a fun night so we ran to the grocery store, walked pass the margarita mix, & straight to produce section. We were wanted a nice fresh drink instead of a sugar filled syrup. Making the margaritas fresh brings out the flavor of the tequila & makes you sip on it rather than, well pounding it.

Which you will thank me for in the morning.

Try these out & let me know how you think. I for sure know I will be having one tonight.

Signature
IMG_2394

In a 6 oz glass

2 oz tequila
½ lime, juiced
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz triple sec
Fill with water and stir

Taco Salad

The only thing missing from this recipe is my mom’s yellow Tupperware bowl. Growing up there were a few staple summer dishes my mom would make. They were in the fridge more often than not in case my friends or any of my brother or sisters friends stopped by. Taco salad was one of the essentials in our house and it was always in a big yellow bowl with a clear top.

IMG_0598

It super simple to make and can feed a whole lot of people which is perfect for a house of teenagers who have friends stopping by all of the time. You can really alter it however you’d like. Basically if it goes in a taco, you can throw it in the salad.

This past weekend we had Chris’s dad and his younger siblings down to our house. We went to Disneyland one day and the next day everyone spent the day at the pool while I went to work. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to cook for everyone I made my taco salad so they would have something to eat with their hamburgers and hot dogs. Chris just had to pull it out of the fridge, pour some extra dressing on top and bring it down to the pool area.

Signature IMG_0595

1 lb ground beef
1 package Taco mix
1 small red pepper
1 bag Cool Ranch Doritos
8 oz California French salad dressing
½ head iceberg lettuce
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Optional:
1 cup olives, halved
1 small onion
1 small carrot, shredded

1.  Cook meet until browned, drain and remove from pan.
2.  Add Taco seasoning and add a splash of water to smooth together seasoning and meat. Add cheese and refrigerate.
3.  Chop veggies and set aside. Chop lettuce.
4.  Open bag of chips and crunch chips to bite size pieces.
5.  Mix veggies and chips into bowl with meat and cheese.
6.  Mix in salad dressing.
7.  Can refrigerate after serving for up to 5 days. Before serving left overs, add about a tablespoon of more dressing.

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.

20150116_191607

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.

20150116_185704

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!

Signature


20150116_192134

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.

20150116_192222

 

 

7 Layer Dip

I absolutely love football season, and as much as it is disappointing when football season is over, it means it is the Superbowl! One of my favorite sports time of year. Today everyone will be sitting around the TV wearing jerseys, yelling at the refs, watching some of the most expensive commercials ever made, and eating a ton of food. I, however, will be at work, so here is a recipe for you to enjoy of one of my favorite football foods. Let me live vicariously through you.

20150119_223009
2 vine tomatoes
½ jalapeño (whole Jalapeno if desired) 
¼ head of iceberg lettuce
Avocado
8 ounces sour cream
Small can of slices olives
28 ounces pinto beans
2 cups Mexican cheese
¼ cup whole milk

Empty can of pinto beans into saucepan and simmer on medium heat. Mash beans with a potatomasher. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow to thicken. Add Mexican cheese and milk to beans. Cook on low for another 5 minutes mixing milk and cheese into beans. Stir regularly to ensure beans don’t burn.When consistency is as desired turn off and allow to cool. Cut lettuce, tomatoes, and jalapeño and setaside. Beans should cool within a half hour. After a half hour build dip. Layer beans ½ in layer of beans along the bottom of 9×9 dish. Layer on sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños and olives. Put dip in refrigerator and let sit. When ready to serve cut avocado into chunks and layer desired amount on topof dip. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy.