Sunday, July 31, 2011

Je t'aime La Croix



i can't even begin to express my love of this beverage via type. i am absolutely obsessed with la croix natural sparkling water.

it's hard to believe about 5 years ago i hated water. i know, right?! weird. but since nearly eliminating all soft drinks from my diet, {and not because i was some obsessive, 5-a-day-diet-coker, but because i lost interest}, i tend to maintain my liquids with water, wine & sparkling water.

and tea, because what southerner doesn't obsess over tea?! sweet tea that is...with ice.

any who, if you have been under a rock aren't familiar with these bubbly bevvies, they are calorie-free, sugar/sweetner-free, sodium-free, caffeine-free, or holy water in a can. i picked up a case of grapefruit today & am on a mad hunt for the new coconut-flavored ones.


if you're as much of a fan as i am, leave a comment with your go-to flav. flavor flav.

{flavors}
  • pure
  • berry
  • lemon
  • orange
  • lime
  • grapefruit
  • cran-raspberry
  • coconut
  • lemon/lime {15 ounce only}
  • peach pear {15 ounce only}

*note-i was not paid to advertise/market this. however, i know my husband would be pleased if i received a check & i would be pleased if you stocked my fridge, la croix. no?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes


yikes i got really busy this week & have been meaning to post this recipe since monday...so here it is friday!

like the travel-size products aisle at target, i got sucked into purchasing these baby, red-skin potatoes solely on the fact they were cute & tiny. not that i had a recipe in mind. i quickly eliminated mashed potatoes & french fries & decided i'd utilize my herb plant & toss them with some simple ingredients from around the house; olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper & the star-rosemary-make this an easy, healthy side dish!

and on that note, olive oil, salt & pepper should be staples in your home too!

{rosemary roasted potatoes}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2
  • 1 pound small, red skin potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
1. pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. wash potatoes. cut the potatoes in half or quarters & place in a bowl. mix in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic & rosemary & toss to coat.

3. dump potatoes onto a baking sheet & place into oven. roast for about 15 minutes & then flip potatoes to evenly crisp. cook for another 10 minutes or until golden brown & crisp. enjoy!

*note-depending on size of potatoes, cooking time will vary. smaller potatoes=shorter cooking time. bigger potatoes=longer cooking time.

you get the picture.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baked Zucchini Chips

*picture courtesy of cooking light

i love zucchini but often run into a road block with its possibilities; it's such an easy, healthy side dish but i always end up making my tried & true go-to, {tuscan-style slice & dice zucchini}. while it is one of my favorites, i decided i needed to reinvent & reinvigorate my love of the zuc.

so on a rainy monday night, i tried my hand at these "chips"! not only are they low in calories, they are the perfect alternative to greasy fries. and hey, if my husband loved them, i can guarantee kids will too!

{baked zucchini chips}

ingredients {in order of use}
  • 1/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 zucchinis, cut into thin medallions

1. pre-heat oven to 4oo degrees.

2. mix first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. pour milk into another bowl.

3. dip zucchini chips into milk & dredge through breadcrumb mixture. place on a greased wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet.

4. bake for 30 minutes or until brown & crisped.

*optional-serve with ranch dipping sauce!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dippity Doo Dah

i jumped the gun on releasing friday's post but here's a quick explanation...

summer evenings=summer cookouts=striplings sausage!

this place is worth noting because not only is their slogan, "you never sausage a place!", {all jokes aside}, they are purveyors of the best sausage one can get their hands on. our freezer stays stocked with the medium links & ground sausage & they even ship it to ya! and worthy to note...it makes for a great gift for that grilling man or as a "thank-you" hostess gift.

so to explain the mustard {SPLAT} pictures above, we love to grill the links, cut it up into bite-sized pieces & serve with grainy & spicy mustard as an outdoor appetizer while the grill master moves on to bigger & badder!


Couscous with Parmesan Veggies


couscous: my idea of a simple starch that can be tossed with anything on hand. i love this healthy alternative to pasta & potatoes & it pairs well with so many different seasonings, herbs, cheeses & veggies.

even the hubs enjoys this menagerie of disguised leftovers!

{couscous with parmesan veggies}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 4-6
  • 1 {14 ounce} can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup couscous, {i prefer whole wheat}
  • 1 {small-medium} tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 green onion sprig, chopped
  • optional toss in veggies: peas, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, {cut to 1/2 inch pieces}
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan

1. in a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth & olive oil to a boil. once bubbling, stir in couscous, cover with a lid & remove from heat.

enter self-restraint & trust. repeat. self-restraint & trust.

do not remove the lid for FIVE minutes. i promise the liquid will absorb & things will work their magic if you do. not. remove. the. lid. got it? {cheerleader voice} O-K AY.

2. once you've doubted me, done the "i'll just peek to make sure" thing & if the FIVE minutes have passed, open the lid & stir with a fork to fluff. any extra liquid will be absorbed in the next few minutes. toss in chopped tomato & stir. add parsley, green onion & any other veggies you have on hand & toss.

taste.

season with garlic salt, salt & pepper.

3. transfer to a serving dish & when cool, toss with shredded parmesan, careful to not melt the parmesan so it keeps its shredded consistency when tossed in. enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pan-Roasted Halibut with Tomato Peach Salsa

after my trip to the dekalb farmers market, i walked away with all the simple ingredients to whip up this "fancy feast". this summer-y tomato peach salsa was such a unique blend of what i love about summer-tomatoes, peaches, balsamic & fresh herbs. a perfect topper for chicken, fish or tortilla chips!

what's your favorite summer ingredient?!

{pan-roasted halibut}

ingredients {in order of use}
  • halibut filets {depending on # of diners}
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • olive oil

1. pat fish dry & place on a plate. pour flour on another plate & season with salt & pepper. dredge fish in flour on presentation side only & shake off excess flour. place flat on plate.

2. cover the surface of a medium skillet with olive oil & heat to medium heat. when oil is hot & shimmering, tilt the skillet away from you & gently place the filets in flour side down. cook approx. 4 minutes on one side, undisturbed. flip & continue cooking until cooked through {approx. 3-5 minutes}.

3. transfer to plate & serve warm with tomato peach salsa on top!

{tomato peach salsa}

ingredients
  • 1 small-medium summer tomato, diced
  • 1 small-medium summer peach, diced
  • 1 green onion sprig, diced
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper, to taste
1. mix all in a plastic container or jar & allow to marinate for an hour +. serve on top of fish, chicken or with tortilla chips!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Corn and Parmesan Flans


so i've been spending some time with giada this summer & the girl can cook about anything in a ramekin.

enter dunce hat.

which now explains the use of the wedding gift i wrote the thank you in regards to "the cute little bowls" & how my husband uses them as a ranch troff for his pizzas.

so after learning their desired end use, i decided to utilizes these little cuties & give their intended technique a try. and surprisingly, this makes for an easy, delicious alternative to potatoes or pasta!

{summer corn & parmesan flans}

ingredients {in order of use}
*makes 4 ramekins
  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels {approx. 3 ears}
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpouse flour
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 small tomato, {or 9 grape tomatoes, halved}
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced basil

1. pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. spray a skillet with cooking spray & bring to medium heat. toss in corn & cook for 5 minutes or until tender. remove corn & set aside 1/4 cup corn kernels.

3. in a food processor, add remaining corn, milk, parmesan, flour, salt, pepper & eggs. pulse until mixed throughly.

4. coat ramekins with cooking spray & divide corn mixture into ramekins evenly. place in an 9 x 13 inch baking dish & add 1 inch of hot water to dish. bake for 30 minutes or until the center barely moves when touched. remove ramekins from dish & allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

5. to serve, invert flans onto a plate & garnish with additional corn, tomato halves & sliced basil!

Monday, July 18, 2011

fried chicken bites



i've been dying to learn how to make good, southern, fried chicken. it's like the risotto of southern households & takes practice, family recipes & tons of tweaking over time! i tried my hand at it over the weekend & must say...chick-fil-a should be nervous in my ability to come pretty darn close to their nugget recipe.

and i'll have to agree with the cows...beef iz a partee pooper.

*note-this does require chicken to marinate for 24 hours so before you begin, you've been warned about time management.

{fried chicken bites}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 4-10
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper {cayenne}
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon emeril's essence seasoning, {optional}
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds chicken breast tenders
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups low fat buttermilk, {enough to coat chicken}
  • 3 tablespoons pickle juice, {optional, but gives it that chick-fil-a flair!}
  • 2 slices bread, toasted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • canola or vegetable oil


1. combine all spices in a bowl. save half of spice mixture in a cup & set aside.

2. cut chicken tenders into "nugget-size" pieces, about 1 inch x 1 inch. place in a large plastic bag & add buttermilk, pickle juice & half of spices. shake, pinch & toss to coat & mix evenly! refrigerate for 24 hours...

wait, wait, mix a drink, watch the bachelor, sleep, eat breakfast, exercise, wait....now proceed!

3. once the longest 24 hours has passed, remove chicken from fridge, pour entire mix into a colander {in the sink} & drain away buttermilk.

4. while draining, tear toasted bread into pieces & add to food processor. add remaining spice mixture. process until crumbly. add flour & process until evenly mixed. pour into a medium bowl.

5. prepare to fry ya chicken! evenly coat medium-sized skillet with 1 inch of oil. drop all chicken bites into breadcrumb mixture & toss to coat. fry in batches about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping once. drain on a wire baking rack over paper towels. sprinkle with salt & serve warm with dressings of choice....ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard or grainy mustard!

*great served at parties, kiddy dinners or over salads!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Finds!

after a rather slow week on the cooking home front, i did uncover a few unique eats & treats worth sharing!

{brothers all natural crisps}

served in individual snack packs, these 45 calorie treats serve up a light snack with 2 fruit servings! i love the idea of tossing a pack in your handbag, book sack or desk to satisfy a craving instantly & guilt-free! they are a little tricky to find but can be located at costco, walmart, whole foods or my favorite, amazon.com!

flavor variety's:
  • fuji apple
  • asian pear
  • banana
  • strawberry
  • pineapple
  • strawberry/banana
  • white & yellow peach

{dekalb farmer's market}

my friend molly & i ventured to the forbidden OTP land today to tackle this jewel! what an incredible, edible shopping experience this joint is. first, wear a sweat suit. it's freezing!! but in a nutshell, the prices are awesome, the offerings even more interesting, the people-watching worth your trip & the fresh food will leave you feeling rejuvenated.




shopping highlights:
  • any & every spice for almost under a $1
  • whole grain french mustard for $1.29
  • lobster @ $9.99/pound
  • fresh pasta from $2-5
  • fresh herbs for under a $1
  • 1 liter olive oil from italy for $10
  • and a look at a beautiful dragon fruit:


now...off to see if the east dillon lions will win the state championship!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest Blogger...Maury Cobb!


As an avid follower of Shugart and Spice, I approached our gracious host about being a guest contributor to the site, providing a male's perspective on the Busy Girl's Guide To Food in a Flash. My prep and cooking style is more for the experience...a bottle of wine and whatever playlist the ITunes kicks up! So really, this is just the trials and tribulations of a 28 year old bachelor cooking it up in a loft in Birmingham, AL {without the ability to grill}!!

Over the past few years, I have had to adjust my cooking style by not having the ability to crank up the ole Weber. For my debut, I went with a meal in which I prefer to be utilizing charcoal and a flame, but instead had to use the trusty stove top and oven. Tonight was one of my favorite summer time sporting events, the MLB Home Run Derby. With that playing in the background, I cranked up a playlist consisting of a mix of the new MMJ album, The Futurebirds, Vampire Weekend, and the new Beasties.

The drink of choice for the Chef was a bottle of an Argentine Cab called Don Manuel Villafane {nothing special here, just what caught my eye and was under $20}. On the menu tonight was a Ribeye, corn on the cob and a salad {I was planning on a baked potato also but started snacking when I got home from work}.

{maury's ribeye}

ingredients
  • ribeye
  • worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • garlic powder
1. Of course, everyone has their own style of marinating steaks. For the stove/oven variety, I like to cover both sides with a little Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let it marinate in the fridge for 30-1 hour.

2. Place a cast iron skillet {my main weapon of choice in cooking in the loft} in the oven and pre-heat to 500 degrees.

3. While the oven is pre-heating, be shucking your corn {this is an Albany girl's website so I know her followers know what that means} and place the corn in a pot of water, set to boil. The corn will be ready once the water comes to a boil so try and time to boil when the steak is ready. Its okay to let it sit awhile in the water if the steak isn't ready.

4. Pull your steak out of the fridge and let it get room temperature. While the oven is preheating, set one of your stove tops to high. Once the oven is at 500, take the skillet out of the oven and put it on the stove. Place the steak in the skillet {keep it dry, don't have to put any oil, Pam, etc on there}. Sear the steak for 30 seconds on each side. Then place the skillet with the steak back in the oven and cook each side 2 minutes. I like mine medium rare so if you like it medium or more, maybe 3-4 minutes. Pull it out of the oven and place the steak in tin foil for about 5 minutes.

5. While this is going on, you can either prep you a quick salad, or have already made one. I went with a small romaine lettuce salad with Newman's Italian Dressing and Parmesan Cheese. To each their own.

*If your corn is boiling now, take it out and butter it up {if you aren't watching calories like me}

And now, you have a nice Ribeye, Fresh Corn on the Cobb, a healthy {or somewhat} salad, and a decent buzz, depending on your wine intake. All within the confines of your wanna-be hipster loft, deep in the heart of the South.

Hopefully you have enjoyed the first {and maybe last after @shugartandspice reads this} installment of the guest blogger's contribution to the Busy Girl's Guide to Food in a Flash.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hmm...Taste Like Peach Crisp?!


when i lived in nyc i learned something that definitely separates a southerner from a northerner...they don't peel their peaches!!!

{insert gagging, hair ball hacking-like noise}

one things for certain, since peach season descended upon georgia, i've spent the weekends scouring good ones & the evenings peeling, eating & peeling more peaches to enjoy. try this low-calorie desert that my hubs & i enjoy nightly! it has all the flavors of a peach crisp without all the fuss & fat!

and for god sakes...peel the peach of it's fuzzy winter sweater!

{taste like peach crisp}

ingredients
*serves 2
  • 2-3 peaches, peeled & sliced
  • 2 large scoops of low-fat vanilla ice cream
  • cinnamon
1. place your peaches in a bowl, top with ice cream & sprinkle cinnamon on top! toss in a few basil leaves if you're feeling fancy!

it's summer...i toss basil in anything i can!

Gluggle Jug


My good friend Brandy gave me a belated, but MUCH appreciated, wedding gift recently & in it was a Gluggle Jug?!

*side note-spell check is wiggin' out right now.

Per the website:
The Gluggle Jug is a fish-shaped water jug that gurgles delightfully when it pours, making it both fun and functional. It’s a great conversation piece with a rich history. Gluggle jugs were first produced in the late 1800s in Staffordshire, England, and the merry glugging sound has made these a favorite among collectors for more than 100 years.

This is an absolutely amazing gift for someone who loves to entertain! Actually, it's an amazing gift for anyone who likes quirky, fun & interesting gifts! I can't wait to use it as a pitcher for water, wine or tea at my next gathering!

Shoot-I'll be honest, I've never even made tea...so I really meant wine.

There are 3 sizes & a few colors & varieties but I am in love with the creamy-white one I received. I also think this cerulean blue {pictured above} would be such a cool statement piece on a bar or as a vase with flowers!

*side note-brandy also gave me 2 wine glasses with the gluggle jug-she knows me too well! what better way to say, "chug-a-lug-a-lug"!

Check out amazon.com for the best prices on a Gluggle Jug!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mocktails?


recently, a few friends have mentioned crystal light's new "mocktail" concoctions that come in 3 summery flavors: mojito, apple martini & margarita! not only did i get to try the mojito one this weekend, i finally got my hands on a tube today! they are limited in supply, location & will only be on the market for a "limited time". hopefully kraft will get some crazy sell-thru stats & realize the soccer mom/secretary crystal light drinker most of america is drinking themselves silly in this economy & keep them year round. i could do a powdery spiced cider or egg nog come chilly weather?!

anywho, i was definitely skeptical but pleasantly surprised with these guys! at only 5 calories per serving, they actually taste like a cocktail & don't carry that bottom-dwelling reside most powdery drinks do. crystal light doesn't advertise this but i can imagine a respective splash or rum, tequila or vodka could really make this the perfect low-cal, summer bevvie!

as for the apple martini, i can't speak for it & probably never will due to a run-in with the real thing in a college watering hole. and we'd like to forget that. like, forever.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mini Meatball Sliders

i have a confession. i love meatball subs. what i do not love, are the calories & idea of them sitting in that little vat of marinara for i don't even want to think how long. yack! and since i made mozzarella stuffed meatballs last week, & recently a batch of irresistible italian meatballs, what would be more fun then mini meatball sliders for dinner {and great for parties!}


{mini meatball sliders}


additional ingredients
  • olive oil
  • garlic, minced
  • 1 package dinner rolls
  • sliced provolone cheese
1. whip up your meatball of choice.

2. pre-heat oven to broil. mix minced garlic in a bit of olive oil. brush dinner rolls with olive oil & garlic mixture. broil until lightly browning. place meatball on 1/2 of bun, top with a small piece of provolone & broil for another minute or until melted.

*for dinner, serve with a small salad or fresh veggies!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs, Jazzed Up Marinara and Roasted Mushroom Asparagus

do you ever have a day when you want, think, NEED to make a great meal but don't want to spend spend spend on tons of ingredients? for weeknight meals, i always try to start with a recipe in which i have half the ingredients already around the house. this not only saves time & cleans out the already overstocked pantry, but it also leaves me with a very quick trip to the grocery store.

i've put together a simple meal that involves only 7 main ingredients {and relies on the fact that you are half italian & already have olive oil, pasta, salt & pepper as staples in your home}. mozzarella stuffed meatballs, served over pasta with jazzed up marinara & roasted mushroom asparagus will leave your plate & wallet full!


{mozzarella stuffed meatballs}


ingredients {in order of use}
*makes approx. 10 meatballs
  • 1 pound sausage {chicken sausage works great in this recipe; if only can find links, cut off casings}
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 basil leaves, thinly sliced {optional}
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 tub bocconcini {bite-sized mozzarella balls; 10 small or 4 large cut in 4's}

1. pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. in a bowl, mix sausage, minced garlic & basil.

3. on a large baking pan, liberally drizzle with olive oil & set aside. place mozzarella balls on a plate & prepare to form your meatballs.

*note-keep mozzarella balls separated on a plate so if you don't use them all, you haven't touched them all with your sausage-covered hands.

4. take a golf ball size + of sausage & form into a ball in your hands. flatten, place a piece of mozzarella in the middle & form sausage around to create the meatball.

*note-make sure sausage is fully covering mozzarella in order to eliminate breaches of security for the cheese!

5. once formed, roll meatball in olive oil on baking sheet & set. once all are formed, season with salt & pepper. bake 20 minutes. place a paper towel on a plate & place meatballs on to drain. serve warm with some jazzed up marinara!





{jazzed up marinara}

ingredients {in order of use}
  • 1 jar marinara
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • pasta, optional
1. add marinara sauce to a pot & bring to a low heat. add garlic, basil, salt & pepper & cook on low for 30 minutes. serve warm over pasta if you please!

pretty please!

{roasted mushroom asparagus}


ingredients {in order of use}
  • 10-20 pieces of asparagus, trimmed to 4-6 inches
  • 5-8 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees.

*note-if making with meatballs, this dish can go in about 5 minutes after meatballs.

2. in a shallow dish, add asparagus & sliced mushrooms. coat with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper & roast for 15 minutes, or until asparagus is tender. enjoy warm!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Peach Fuzz Buzz


it's official-the 4th of july weekend is here! i'm headed to lake blackshear which falls somewhere between the booming metropolis of cordele, ga & nowhere...but is never short on fun! and since the peaches in south georgia are not only ripe, but also the best, i can't wait to blend this healthy, frozen drink as a lake-side cocktail. the perfect summer spritzer!


{peach fuzz buzz}

ingredients
*makes 5-6 drinks
  • 1 large peach, peeled & chopped
  • 6 ounces vodka
  • 1 {6 ounce} can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
  • 2 cups ice, crushed or cracked

1. put all ingredients in blender, blend well!

2. if fancy, serve in champagne glasses. if sitting by a pool, lake or beach...enjoy in a solo cup!

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