August 30, 2011

Limey Limeade Martini

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Happy Birthday to ME!
I have had such a crazy non-stop couple of days and I have to say it's actually been quite a blast.

We just made it through Hurricane Irene, getting our power back only late last night after about 36 hours in the dark. The days leading up to the storm were that of excitement, shopping and waiting, waiting, waiting. Paul was able to leave Army early to get home before the storm hit which was a huge relief for me and then it was just a matter of riding out the storm and the power outage. 
We had our friend Jeff stay over during the storm and the three of us bunkered down for the night with pizza and beer, the ultimate hurricane survival kit. The worst was a tree branch dropping to the deck early in the morning, of course unexpectedly, and I screamed to high heavens. And then of course the power went out... but all in all, we had great company and we were safe through it all. 

Now, almost 24 hours after getting our power back, here we are on my 28th birthday. After the stress/excitement from Hurricane Irene and still dealing with some of it's aftermaths, it was time to raise a glass and celebrate. Celebrate to the safety of all my loved ones, celebrate to our homes still standing and celebrate to me getting yet another year older!

Lime and vodka were made for each other. Vodka is one of those clean, clear, do anything with liquors... it takes on the flavors and aromas of whatever it's paired with. Limeade is a fantastic match to this adding a little color and bitterness while still keeping this a very light refreshing drink.

So have a drink on me and let's cheers together! <3
Limey Limeade Martini


Ingredients
2 oz vodka
3 oz limeade 
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp simple syrup 
Limes and strawberries, for ganish


In a pint or mixing glass filled with ice, add all ingredients, cover and shake. Strain or 'egg-crack' as I am doing here and pour the drink into a pretty martini glass.
Garnish with a lime wedges and strawberry and enjoy!

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño
The Basics!
Shake, Shake, Shake!
The Eggshell Crack Pour
Doesn't that look pretty???  
Martini's make me smile :)
Happy Birthday!
Enjoy!

August 27, 2011

{Guest Post} Peach Custard Streusel Pie

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My very first Guest Post!!! Ahh I am so excited!


I am even more thrilled because as my luck should have it, my dear friend Krista over at Everyday Mom's Meals agree to be my first guest post and she is just wonderful... hence my over excitment! Krista is not only a fabulous cook who truly brings family dinnertime to life for all her readers but she is a fabulous wife and mother to which, as a family, just love spending quality time together, mostly around the dinner table. She is a woman after my own heart. It is to my luck that Krista is my first guest post because she was one of the fellow foodies and cooks that connected with me right from start and hasn't let up since. Day in and day out Krista is always online with tips, tricks and treats for her fans and never without kind words and continuous support for her foodie friends {ME} as well, clearly she is WonderMOM.

With over 1,700 followers on Facebook she clearly has made her mark on the food blogging community and is loved by so many for all she puts into her loving dishes... and who wouldn't love her with such wonderful well wishes like... "I wish you all frosted cupcake dreams (w/ no calories of course)".
How cute is she.

Make sure to visit her
 blog, send her some love and see more of the amazing things she has been cooking up and sharing with all of us! <3
With that being said, I give you Krista!


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Hello Healthy Jalapeno Fans!! I am so happy to be w/ you today. For those who don't know me, I'm the everyday mom in Everyday Mom's Meals. I am a full time wife and mother to my husband of 8 years Adam, and our almost 7 year old son Alex. I began blogging in May 2010 and could have never imagined the wonderful world of food and friendship it would open up for me. I am so proud how far the blog has come, enjoy every single post and appreciate each and every "click" that leads someone my way. I enjoy easy, home style food that brings my family around the table, and I hope one of my recipes comes to your table very soon!

Today I'm sharing a very easy pie recipe I found in an old cook book that was Adam's great aunt's. She was such a great lady, and while we miss her every day, making this reminds me of her b/c it came from one of her favorite dessert books! This is very simple, and so tasty!! I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does! And I hope to see you at Everyday Mom's Meals very soon!


Peach Custard Streusel Pie
1 9 inch unbaked pastry shell
1 29 oz can sliced peaches, well drained
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 eggs
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. cold butter
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. unsifted flour
1/4 c. finely chopped pecans (my bag called them "pecan chips")

Preheat oven to 425. Place peaches in bottom of pastry shell. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add condensed milk, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Pour over peaches. (I put mine on a cookie sheet to catch drips) In another bowl, combine sugar and flour. Cut in cold butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over pie.

Place in bottom third of oven. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce temp to 375 and continue baking 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

This pie is best served cold.

{How cute is she with her son Alex}
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She truly is an amazing woman and with all her stories and recipes she shares with us, she equally supports all of her fans, followers and fellow foodies just the same. Thank you so much Krista for sharing this amazing dessert with us.
As Krista says... "Thanks for stopping by and I hope at least one of her recipes makes its way to your family's table!"

Enjoy!

August 25, 2011

Fresh Shrimp Salad

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When the men are away, the girls will play... and that is exactly what we've been doing. Paul has been away for Army so I have been taking it easy on the couch with loads of chick flick movies and my puppy girls. 

There absolutely has been some cooking going on but I took this time apart as a re-start to focus on what I have been eating, i.e. proteins, fats, carbs, as well as look at my portion sizes. Living with a guy with such a huge appetite sometimes makes me lose focus that I am not his size and therefore shouldn't be eating the same so I really honed in on everything I ate and started to tweak my diet.

I realized that I was consuming a lot more carbs and sugars than needed and being that I sit at my desk most days I noticed a lot more careless snacking, which was clearly because I am a chubby kid and really wasn't hungry at all so all this needed to change. 

More veggies, salads, smaller portioned meats and lots and lots of water. I mean, we all know I am going to have my glass of wine with dinner most nights but if my grandparents could get away with it then I see no harm... and would never break tradition. lol
So continuing in my healthy eating habits and keeping portions smaller and more  'Laura Sized' I had picked up this smaller-sized bag of pre-cooked shrimp (which I never get the pre-cooked kind) and then flipped through all of my magazines, followed blogs, websites, food iphone apps, grandmas recipe box and every corner within my four walls where there could have been a recipe hiding until my trusty iphone Food Network app popped up a Barefoot Contessa for a shrimp salad. 

This was just what I needed... healthy, quick and perfectly refreshing for a late August dinner in front of the boob tube with my pups. I modified her recipe to serve two instead of the picnic feast I think this recipe was calling for but either way it came out fabulous.

The refreshing crunch of the celery with the shellfish shrimp and fresh chopped dill was a salad treat I would have gone back for seconds, but I am being good and now I have lunch for another day - YES! Out of sheer bragging rights, I texted Paul a picture of this beautiful dinner and as expected he was super jealous. I am a good girlfriend though so I of course promised to make it again when he came home - plus I get second grabs at this dish for dinner, it's a win-win!!!

Fresh Shrimp Salad
Photos by A Healthy Jalapeno
Recipe adopted by Ina Garten


Ingredients
14 oz large shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
tbsp champagne vinegar, or any wine vinegar
4 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1/2 red onion, diced fine
2 celery stalks, diced fine
salt and black pepper, to taste
lemon wedges, for garnish

Defrost the pre-cooked shrimp by submerging the shrimp in room temperature water. Dump water and refill as to slowly bring the cooked shrimp back to room temperature. Peel the tail off, and dice the shrimp (into 4-5 pieces).

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, champagne vinegar, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings. 
Combine with the shrimp and toss salad all together. 




Serve or cover and refrigerate for a few hours. Garnish with a lemon wedge.



Enjoy!

August 22, 2011

Seven Facts! {A Fun Blog Game}

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I am so absolutely excited that I was tagged in this game of seven. After reading Kelly’s top 7 I was inspired to share my ‘tops’ with everyone and then of course pass on the love. YAY! Thank you, thank you so much to Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny for tagging me in this, and of course go check out her blog, she is fabulous :)

Here’s the fun part and I have to say I had a little trouble with this because I had multiple answers for some and then got stuck on a few others but this is my master list of SEVEN based on my past blog posts, pictures and plates. Since starting my blog in January of 2011 I have absolutely come a long way and only recently started to really kick it up a notch now that I have figured out this whole blog, html, posting thing. I am very proud of what I have done and I am even more excited what I will come up with now that I have a new camera for even better photo shots and a wider range of cooking ideas to stay on my diet while keeping all of natures good flavor!

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1. Most Beautiful Post: Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Tart


This was almost the easiest one to pick out because come on, it looks so wonderful (and it was). The tart itself was so easy to make and fun to put together. I have made this dessert twice since this post and every time I get the same jaw dropping response, that the flavor and consistency are just so smooth and delicious. It’s a treat not to be messed with and I will continue to make this dessert time and time again.





This dish was one that I knew would be popular. For one it’s a vegetarian lasagna which I personally was desperately excited to make because meat lasagnas aren’t always that appealing to me but second, it was a very decadent summertime lasagna that would feed a crowd humbly. Again this was a very simple dish to put together. I knew what I wanted to make but I couldn’t fina recipe that really fit the bill to what I had in mind so after looking though about 15 different ‘white’ and ‘vegetarian’ lasagnas I decided to take little pieces of what I loved about each and create my own. BEST DECITION EVER.


The lasagna was so rich and cheesy I almost fell over with happiness. Béchamel sauce is so simple and quick to throw together…who knew until you made it and it went fabulously with the three cheeses and pasta? Match made in heaven.


3. Most Controversial: Rotelle with Walnut Pesto


So this was a dish I had made very early on in my blog so clearly the photography wasn’t near perfect and I was still trying to figure out this whole bloggy world of html and guest posts and such but I was cooking and having fun. I love pesto and love playing around with what dishes I can dress up in the fancy green sauce so the obvious one would be pasta. I found a recipe that had walnuts in the pasta and I thought that would be a nice way to hearty the recipe up and add a contrasting texture to the dish.

Paul thought wrong. Haha. Although he is a great food tester and eats practically anything I put in front of him, there comes a few times when his palate just doesn’t pair up with what’s on his plate. For some reason he was very turned off by the nuts in the pasta and although he ate every last bite it was not his favorite.

I myself enjoyed it but not to the degree I thought I would. The walnuts took away from the pesto a little bit which was surprising because normally walnuts add flavor but either way it was a dish I expected a little more from. I will defiantly be making it again with a few modification but I am not sure Paul will be alongside to plunge in with his fork.


4. Most Helpful: My Very First Poached Egg


This recipe was bar far the most helpful for me because I had never poached an egg before and it honestly helped me get over a cooking block that I had where certain dishes and recipes were out of my reach. WRONG…. I can do anything. As I mentioned when I first started this blog my family isn’t very adventurous in the kitchen so just like my years and years of the same chicken… eggs followed the same tradition. From this one recipe I branched out to soft cooked eggs, specialty omelets and even dared to be so bold and made my very first Eggs Benedict which has now become one of my absolute favorite breakfast treats.


5. Post That Was Surprisingly Successful: Greeny Green Gazpacho Shots


Never having tried gazpacho before I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew what it looked like and I pictured what it would taste like in my mind but I went into this recipe more blind than another other before. I really made this recipe my own because the more and more ingredients I didn’t find I kept having to substitute and substitute until almost the entire recipe was changed, so that is exactly what did.

As you can read in my post, I made this for a tapas bridal shower my friends and I were throwing for my girl friend and the feedback I got was wonderful. Everyone said it was so fresh and light and the toppings I laid out ala cart just added extra flavor and flare to the shots. This cold soup on a hot summer day was filling, flavorful and just fun to shoot back with different toppings. Surprise, I had a winner.


6. Post That Didn't Get the Attention It Deserved: The Juicy Onion


Just as Kelly mentioned in her top 7 post for this same question, this recipe was one of my earlier post when I had my note so wonderful camera and didn’t understand anything about food styling (to which I am still a newbie) plus as I had referenced earlier, I have only recently brought on a larger audience, other than family and friends, and this passed right by. This is by far one of the best dishes Paul and I have ever had and the simplicity of it is almost mind boggling. We have been cooking these ‘onions’ for a few years now and they never get old, plus when you have Vidalia’s in season you know it’s truly summer. I highly recommend jumping back to this post and giving it a second look, you will not be disappointed.




Cupcakes, everyone makes them so what’s all the fuss about. Well to top the fact that I was never a good cook until now I have NEVER been a good baker. Props to all you wonderful bakers out there because let me tell you it is not easy. I have spent a lot of time dashing this and adding that to create a delicious dish however that is something that is not allowed in bakers world because you will completely destroy whatever treat you are making, trust me I know.

It seems so simply but I know better. I am still a beginner in most respects so when I decided to make these little cuppies I put so much concentrated effort into making sure they came out perfect. Again with taking a group of recipes i created my own batter which came out terrific, so now all I had to do was make sure I didn’t burn it. These cuppies would have been outstanding on its own as a brunch muffin but dressing them in frosting really punched up the sweet factor to a perfect sweet treat.

I was so proud of myself for taking my time to make these correctly and for the wonderful flavor that they had. The tricky part trying not to eat to many because being that they were ‘mini’s’ they were way to easy to pop a couple in your mouth and not even flinch. Either way, they were the best treats I have ever baked and I will certainly be baking again soon!

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Thank you AGAIN Kelly for tagging me in this game and for always sharing all your wonderful recipes and fun adventures in the kitchen! Here are 7 blogs that I think are AMAZING that I would like to continue are share this game with. Check them out as they are always posting fun and exciting new recipes that are just fabulous. :)


Have fun everyone!!

August 19, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Grapes

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Grapes are one of those little treats that you can pop at your desk, whip out at a softball game or place out on your table for company to pick at.

The absolute best way to have grapes are to put them in the freezer for at least an hour or up to 4 hours and then pull them out. They have the consistency of a frozen pop and keep you nice and cool on those hot summer days.



Of course my second favorite way to enjoy grapes is covered in chocolate. Everything is better dipped in chocolate, I think bacon would even taste great with chocolate. All types of fruit dipped, drizzled or covered in chocolate is the perfect way to double your sweetness factor but it's still fruit... so it's healthy, right?


These pop-able grapes crush right in your mouth and slowly the chocolate catches up with the grape juice and melts in your mouth. 


Chocolate-Covered Grapes
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients
1 bunch red seedless grapes
8 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
2 tablespoons shortening

Wash your grapes thoroughly.



Drain them on a paper towel and pat until fully dry. Lay out a larger peice of waxed paper for the grapes to rest after being dipped. 

In a small saucepan combine semisweet chocolate and shortening. Heat and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted.



Holding grape bunch by stem, dip grapes partially into melted chocolate. If necessary, spoon chocolate over grapes to coat. Let excess chocolate drip off. Place grapes, stem side up, on prepared wax paper.

Chill in the refridgeorater until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. You can make these up to a day in advance but you want to serve them before the grapes start to go bad.





Enjoy!

August 16, 2011

Crispy Fish and Chips

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Last week I went out to lunch with some great friends and ordered fish and chips. Of course ever since then I have been craving some homemade fish and chips, Laura-style of course, and this was the perfect recipe to satisfy that exact craving. 
The blended spicy batter makes these fish crisp up so perfectly and adds such a beautiful crunch when you bite down. The taste and texture take you right to the docks of your favorite boat house restaurant. Fresh and perfect.

Then I obviously added my sweet potatoes to the mix, my favorite, which just topped the meal off. For a hearty lunch with friends or a weeknight dinner you will absolutely enjoy this meal.

Crispy Fish and Chips
Recipe adopted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients
2 pounds fresh cod fillet
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water
1 extra-large egg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying


Lay the cod fillets on a cutting board. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Cut the fillets into 4-6 pieces.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of water and then the egg.




Pour 1/2-inch of oil into a large (12-inch) frying pan and heat it to about 360 degrees F.


Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place it very carefully into the hot oil. Don't crowd the pieces. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil between 360 and 400 degrees F. 


Cook the fish on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the "chips."

Baked "Chips"

2 large baking potatoes, unpeeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half in thirds lengthwise. You'll have 6 long wedges from each potato. Place the potatoes on a b
aking sheet with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together, making sure the potatoes are covered with oil. Spread the sweet potatoes in a single layer with 1 cut side down.

Bake the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, turning to the other cut side after 20 minutes. Bake until they are lightly browned, crisp outside, and tender inside. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Enjoy!