Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Creamy Boozy Dairy-Free Fudge Bars for Summer!

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At this point in my blogging life, I've made a number of popsicle recipes. But not just any popsicles... BOOZY ONES. 


Specifically, Creamy Boozy Dairy-Free Fudge Bars for Summer! What's better than a cool treat that gives you a bit of a buzz? A friendlier diet recipe! By removing the dairy and cutting down on sugar, this is way better than your typical cocktail, and definitely better than your typical popsicle.

Coconut Cream Fudge Bars
  • 1 can coconut milk, cream separated (upside down in the fridge over night, cream scooped off)
  • 1/4 cup Bailey's or other Coffee Cream Liquer (use dairy-free for a fully tummy-friendly recipe, or omit for booze-free)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 heaping tablespoons agave nectar or honey
-In a stand mixer, whip the coconut cream until fluffy. Fold in the cocoa powder and agave. Add about 2 tablespoons of the coconut water (leftover from the can) and the Baileys, if using. If you want softer pops, less coconut water. More firm, more water.

-Adjust cocoa and agave until desired taste is reached. Side note: at this point it's a LOVELY chocolate mousse if you just want to eat it.

-Fill popsicle wells and leave about one finger width headspace. Freeze until firm, preferably overnight.

-Note: the pops will be soft, so remove gently from wells once frozen.

Monday, July 30, 2018

I LOVE Broccoli - Summer Broccoli Salad

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I have a confession. I am, and have always been, a broccoli lover.

I know, strange, right? Kids across the country turn their nose up at these tiny trees, and I, an anomaly of my kind, devoured it. My favorite way to eat it is always fresh, raw, cold, and covered with ranch.

My second favorite way? This family recipe. Though not as popular or as legendary as my dad's baked beans, my mom's broccoli salad was always a favorite at family cookouts.


I expanded upon it by adding a bit more ingredients and reducing the sugar by more than half. What results is an almost-paleo side dish that can double as a main dish if you're into broccoli (I am).

Sadly it's not enough to turn the husband into a broccoli-lover. Oh well. We have the rest of our lives for me to teach him the ways of the "green foods."


Broccoli Picnic Salad
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 5 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 tbs sugar (or sweetener of choice, as much or as little as you think you need)
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
-Cook bacon in a skillet on medium-high until desired crispiness is reached. Drain, and set aside on paper towels to let grease wick off.

-In a separate bowl, mix together the mayo, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Taste, and add more or less vinegar and sugar to taste. You can also add a bit of salt and pepper.

-Toss the rest of the ingredients with the dressing, and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Serve cold.

*This will keep for a few days, but be sure to mix it up regularly, otherwise it'll get watery.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Best Downtown Lunches in Austin - My Favorite Lunch Spots from the Past Year

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This time last year I had two options for lunch: either the simple cafe one office building over that was a toss up as to whether you'd get acceptable or bland food, or a slightly better spot up the hill that felt like a boring hotel restaurant. Now, and since October, I've been working in the center of downtown Austin, surrounded by an overwhelming number of the best lunch spots in Austin!


Though my work co-opts meals for us at $5 four days a week and provides a complimentary catered lunch on Wednesdays (plus breakfast tacos on Fridays!), I still find myself venturing out for lunch at least once a week. In my seven months downtown and my five years in Austin overall, here is my list of the best downtown lunches in the city!

Quick Bites



Tumble 22 - It's no surprise Tumble 22 is on this list, as if you've spent any time here you probably know I am super obsessed. While the line can be long during lunch hours, you can take advantage of the ordering system on their website and skip right ahead to pick up. Perfectly spicy chicken with a cool dipping sauce is the best mid-day pick-me-up.



Royal Blue Grocery - Nope, it's not just a bougie little bodega! They actually have fresh sandwiches, East Side Pies pizza, and a number of grab-and-go options including sushi from Kome, my favorite! Plus daily specials at each location. There are two within walking distance of my office, and at least two others in the city. Meaning you're always close to a quick and tasty bite.



Whole Foods - Whole Foods' Austin flagship is a sight to behold. After you do the rounds for the free samples (I do it twice #noshame), skip the infamous salad bar and check out their counter service instead--it'll likely be cheaper!--snag a sushi burrito or a taco cup for an inexpensive lunch grab-and-go. You can even order a cold one at the bar or enjoy the sun at their patio seating.

Casual Sit Down



Swift’s Attic - When the typical lunch flavors are getting you down (sandwiches, salads, soups), Swift's Attic is a welcome surprise. Tucked away on a second story on Congress, you may need reservations for Sunday brunch or weeknight dinner, but you'll rarely need them for lunch. Take the opportunity to taste some of their offerings without the wait!



Eureka - Pretentious Austinites often pass by Eureka for one of two reasons; either because it's on "Dirty 6" or because it's a chain. Neither of these things should matter, because their bone marrow burger comes to me in dreams and begs me to eat it on the daily. I've never had a bad meal here and everything has been super tasty! 



Maiko - I still haven't found sushi I love more than my options up North BUT I can definitely say the best sushi deal for lunch downtown is Maiko. Big portions, low price, fresh fish. They have options for non-sushi-lovers on their lunch menu too, I just haven't tried them ;)

Healthy

This is me doing an outfit pic at leaf... the one day I don't take a pic of my food!

Leaf - If you like salads, you'll like leaf. There really isn't much else to say, other than don't let that enormous line fool you! The guys behind the counter have their system DOWN and it goes by very quickly. My suggestion here is to pick one of the salad specials so you know the cost upfront--building your own can get pricey very quickly!


Mad Greens - More salads! But with a few more options available like grain bowls, soups, hummus, and juices. I like getting a kids' size salad with a hummus plate and warm pita to get a bit of everything!

Photo credit: Hideout Coffee House

Hideout - Yes, they have food! I may be biased, since this is attached to my beloved theater, but the counterstaff will happily build you a fresh sandwich or panini. You can also snag a to-go salad or cold sandwich from the display if you're in a rush.

Business lunch

Photo credit: Food Banjo
Italic - Their lunch menu is small, but worth it. Good Italian is hard to find in Austin for some reason, but somehow this little downtown spot gets it right. Cozy decor, extensive wine list, and impressive flavors. My personal favorite is the chicken parm sandwich.



Caroline - I'm not the biggest fan of Caroline's for dinner, but for lunch they are one of the better spots in town. The chicken schnitzle is a generous portion and is perfectly crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. You can even grab a coffee to go!


Perry’s - Hint: try to make a reservation for a Friday, so you can experience their excellent table-carved pork chop for a fraction of the usual price. If you're taking out a client and want to be impressive, don't dismiss Perry's just because it's a chain. Order a flambeed dessert for extra flair.

Local Flavors

I don't have a picture from Ironworks, so here is me eating a BBQ rib?

Ironworks BBQ - An Austin classic. Despite this being a BBQ town, the heavy hitters all seem to be outside the downtown area. Ironworks is a solid choice if you're wanting to get your hands on some authentic Texas BBQ. You can even scoot over to Rainey to grab a drink when you're done!

Fresa’s - Fresa's is an Austin treasure. Sadly, most taco joints have been priced out of the city in recent years, but Fresa's hangs on to its South Lamar location (just down the hill from Whole Foods). Fresh, flavorful tacos. You really can't ask for more.


Fareground - Six of Austin's best and most unique restaurants, all under one roof. What could be better? Grab some ramen or sushi at Ni-Kome, a burger from Contigo, charcuterie from Antonelli's Cheese Shop, maybe some tacos from Dai Due, a monster cookie from Henbit, or fresh baked bread from Easy Tiger. Everybody can choose, and all are happy.



Are you a downtown Austinite? What do you think of this list of Best Lunches in Downtown Austin? Where do you like to lunch?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Coffee Shortbread with Mocha Glaze - Neilsen-Massey Syrup

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Disclaimer: I received a free sample of the pure coffee extract

I know dessert week ended yesterday, but I couldn't help but send y'all one more sweet recipe! This one takes its inspiration from the following extract I received:

 Coffee! I always struggle with how to flavor a treat with coffee--the liquid ratio always seems off to me. That's why this concentrated extract is perfect! Simply sub in for the vanilla or whatever else you're using for a nice kick of coffee flavor.

I've used and loved Neilsen-Massey syrups for YEARS. They're high quality and highly flavored, with a great variety to choose from. I adore my vanilla bean paste and all five or so flavors I keep on hand at all times (vanilla, lemon, rose water, orange, and now coffee!).

I decided a buttery, lightly sweet cookie would be perfect. Topped with a mocha glaze to amp up that coffee flavor. I devoured these with a cup of coffee from my recent trip to Costa Rica--post coming soon!


Coffee Shortbread with Mocha Glaze
For the shortbread
2 sticks butter, softened to room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp coffee extract
2 cups flour

For the icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup brewed coffe
1 tbsp cocoa

-Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Grease two 9 inch cake pans with butter.

-In a stand mixer, mix together the ingredients for the shortbread until a thick dough forms.

-Divide dough in half and press into the cake pans, smoothing out any bumps. Prick with a fork all over.

-Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. While still hot, turn over onto a flat surface and cut into wedges. Let cool completely.

-Prepare the icing: Mix together the coffee and cocoa.

-Slowly add the coffee mixture to the powdered sugar, by the teaspoonful, until the mixture is thick and able to be drizzled without spreading. You will probably not use all the liquid.

-Drizzle over the cooled shortbread and let set.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mini Lemon Blueberry Poundcakes for #SummerDessertWeek

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual #SummerDessertWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. This sweet week-long event is filled with fun dessert recipes from amazing bloggers and some great giveaways from our generous sponsors! We can't wait to share all of these summer-themed desserts with y'all and celebrate summertime sweets all week long!


What's halfway between a muffin and a cupcake and filled with delicious summer flavors?

I'll give you a hint: it's today's recipe.


Denser than a traditional cupcake, but still sweet and fruity, I give you--mini poundcakes. Yes, they are basically cupcake poundcakes. And yes, they are fantastic.

A great brunch addition with optional crumb topping, these little beauties taste amazing with some tea on the side. I think you'll be pleased!

BUT WAIT! First--

Check out the amazing #SummerDessertWeek recipes from our bloggers today!  

Sweet Summertime Cakes:
  Pineapple Pistachio Marshmallow Cream Cake from Daily Dish Recipes
  Old Fashioned Chocolate Church Cake from 4 Sons 'R' Us  

  Baked Desserts:
Coconut Sweet Bread with Lime Glaze from The Domestic Kitchen

Ok--onto the recipe!

Mini Lemon Blueberry Poundcakes
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 block cream cheese (4oz) room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pint blueberries (can be 1-2 cups frozen)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

Optional topping

  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour

-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or grease liberally.

-In one bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

-Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Once well mixed, add the lemon juice and peel.

-Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. When fully combined, slowly add the blueberries. Pour into prepared cupcake wells. If desired, add crumb topping.

-Bake for 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.






Now, for the Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older. No PO Boxes Please. giveaway runs from July 9th until July 15th at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterward and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners.

  Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie CrystalsAdam’s ExtractRed Star YeastSusquehanna Glass Co. and Lodge Cast Iron! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

#SummerDessertWeek - Old Fashioned Cocktail Cake

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual #SummerDessertWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. This sweet week-long event is filled with fun dessert recipes from amazing bloggers and some great giveaways from our generous sponsors! We can't wait to share all of these summer-themed desserts with y'all and celebrate summertime sweets all week long!



Head on over to my first recipe of the week to enter the giveaway for some AWESOME PRIZES!


I have this thing I do, where I take my favorite cocktail and make it into a dessert. Usually an ice cream or popsicle or cupcake. But this time I decided to go a little further and take my absolute favorite cocktail...


An Old Fashioned. Citrus, cherries, and a bit of bitter tang all come together beautifully in this cake, which I topped (bottomed?) with a brown sugar whiskey glaze. Somehow, it all just WORKS.



I used blood oranges for color, but regular would be just as good!

There are 23 wonderful bloggers participating in this year’s event! With over 60 recipes being shared this week we just know that you’re going to find a new summer favorite! Plus, don’t forget that we have 5 (five) great giveaways for you this week too! Scroll down to take a look!

Check out the amazing #SummerDessertWeek recipes from our bloggers today!

  Ice Cream Recipes:
  Sweet Summertime Cakes:
  No-Bake Treats:
  Baked Desserts:
 
Now, onto MY recipe!

Old Fashioned Cocktail Cake

  • 3 tbsp butter + 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp whiskey
  • 3 oranges, zest reserved, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup fresh cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp bitters (I used grapefruit)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Melt the 3 tbsp butter and stir in the brown sugar and whisky. Spread a few tablespoons of the mixture over a well-greased 9 inch round cake pan and arrange the orange slices and cherries over it. Pour the rest of the glaze on top.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, including the zest.

In a separate bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the stick of butter and white sugar. Add the eggs and bitters. Add the flour mixture and milk, slowly, taking a cup or so of each and letting it mix until smooth each time.

Pour the cake batter over the fruit and bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes, then turn upside down on a plate. Do not wait until fully cooled or the fruit will stick.

Now, for the Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older. No PO Boxes Please. giveaway runs from July 9th until July 15th at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterward and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners.

  Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie CrystalsAdam’s ExtractRed Star YeastSusquehanna Glass Co. and Lodge Cast Iron! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer Dessert Week Begins! - Mini Lemon Meringue Pies #SummerDessertWeek

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual #SummerDessertWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. This sweet week-long event is filled with fun dessert recipes from amazing bloggers and some great giveaways from our generous sponsors! We can't wait to share all of these summer-themed desserts with y'all and celebrate summertime sweets all week long!



Whenever I am tasked with figuring out a new recipe, I always think: "what could make an awesome thing even better?" And what I usually decide, is that making it smaller is the best way to do that.


Think about it--no utensils or even plates are required for these tiny little pies! Three bites and you're done and ready for another. With a homemade vodka crust, it's just the cherry (or lemon?) on top for an awesome recipe.

But before we get to that--check out the prizes!!

There are 23 wonderful bloggers participating in this year’s event! With over 60 recipes being shared this week we just know that you’re going to find a new summer favorite! Plus, don’t forget that we have 5 (five) great giveaways for you this week too! Scroll down to take a look!

PRIZE #1

 
Prize #1 — Dixie Crystals is giving away one (1) Instant Pot (8 Qt) to one lucky winner!
 

PRIZE #2


Prize #2 — Adam’s Extract is giving away - One bottle of Adams Best Vanilla Flavor, Adams Best Prize Winning Pound Cake Mix, Adams Extract Twice as Stong Vanilla and Adams Extract Lemon Extract
 

PRIZE #3


Prize #3– Red Star Yeast is giving away a gift pack including an Insulated Tote Bag, Apron, “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” Cookbook, Yeast, Rolling Pin, Measuring Spoons, Oven Mit and Dish Towel
 

PRIZE #4

Prize #4 — Susquehanna Glass Co. is giving away one set (4 glasses) of Mermaids Stemless Wine Glasses. (like the Mermaid glasses you'll see in some of our recipes this week!)

PRIZE #5

Prize #5 — Lodge Cast Iron is giving away one (1) 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet.

Check out the amazing #SummerDessertWeek recipes from our bloggers today!

Ice Cream Recipes:
  Pies of Summer:
  Sweet Summertime Cakes:
  No-Bake Treats:
  Baked Desserts:
  Sweet Sips:
 




Mini Lemon Meringues

for the crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 3 tbsp vodka
  • 1 cup ice

for the filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 egg yolks

for the meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 6 tbsp white sugar

Prep: Grease 12 muffin tins with butter. Silicone muffin cups work well for this, too.

Crust: Pour vodka and water over the cup of ice. In a food processor, pulse together butter, flour, sugar, and salt until coarse crumbs form. Slowly drizzle in the water/vodka (don't let the ice cubs fall in!) until a thick dough forms. Note: you may not use all the liquid. Remove from food processor and form into a thick disk. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
After fully chilled, roll out on a floured surface until 1/4" thick. Use a glass that is slightly larger than your muffin tin wells in diameter to cut out circles. Press into greased muffin tins, making sure to release any air bubbles underneath. Prick with a fork and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool to room temp.

Filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until boiling. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and temper in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into sugar mixture. Bring to a boil again, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour into each prepared pie crust, filling as much as you can.

Meringue: Whip egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form and then top each mini pie with the misture.

Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes, until the peaks of the meringue are just beginning to brown. Chill until ready to serve.

Now, for the Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older. No PO Boxes Please. giveaway runs from July 9th until July 15th at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterward and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners.

  Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Red Star Yeast, Susquehanna Glass Co. and Lodge Cast Iron! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.