07/28/14

Cheesy Sausage Balls

Why are ball-shaped things so delicious?

Um, let me rephrase that. 

Why are spherical treats so delicious?

Better.

I mean think about it. Meatballs. Scrumptious. Cake pops. Tasty. Scoops of ice cream. Divine. Cherries. Lovely. 
One of my favorite balls spheres are those made of sausage and cheese. 

You know what I’m talking about, right? Well if you’re from the south, you are probably familiar with sausage balls. They’re practically a party and holiday staple in every southern girl’s kitchen. And with good reason. They are DELICIOUS.

Ground Italian sausage was on sale at my local market a few weeks ago, and as it sat in my freezer I thought and thought and thought and thought about what I should do with the pound I purchased. 

And out of the blue, just like *that*, sausage balls came to mind. Of course, being grain-free, I needed to play around with some options for the traditional “Bisquick” these typically call for. I must say, for my first trial run, these turned out AWESOME, and I don’t think I’ll be making any changes to the balls anytime soon. 

Cheesy Sausage Balls makes 40-50 
These little spheres of heaven should make an appearance at every party or potluck you attend for the rest of eternity. If you’re gluten free (instead of grain free), feel free to sub the 2 flours for 1 cup of gluten free baking mix. 

1lb ground uncooked Italian sausage (I used mild)
2 cups ground almonds (almond flour)
1/2 cup arrowroot flour (Whole Foods carries it)
1/2 cup tapioca, quinoa or garbanzo bean flour (I used garbanzo bean) 
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1/2 cup shaved asiago cheese
1 cup shaved cheddar cheese 
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 egg
almond milk (optional- only use if your mixture is too dry- just a tbsp. at a time)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Combine all ingredients, except for the almond milk, in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix to combine all of the ingredients. The consistency should be “sticky”, like drop biscuit dough. If it’s dry and crumbly, add a bit of almond milk (tbsp at a time) until it becomes sticky (but not “wet”). If you add too much milk, you can add more of either of the flours to absorb the extra liquid. 
3. Using a melon baller or spoon, drop rounded spoonfuls of the mixture onto a very lightly greased baking sheet. You can pack them close together, as these don’t spread at all. 
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature! 

unnamed (10)

07/21/14

Bacon wrapped shrimp tacos

Way back in once upon a time time, I learned about a new Mexican dive that was sooo good, it could bring the coldest of assholes to tears.

Soooo good that it was worth the 30 minute drive from Tampa.
Soooo good that it would make you come back for breakfast, lunch and dinner… multiple times a week. 
Soooo good that it would make you stop cooking at home altogether.
Soooo good that eating just 1 thing off this diverse menu might make you punch someone that speaks of “the Bell”. 
Soooo good that someone needs to call Guy from triple D. 
Soooo good that it would make my friend Kristen ask us to go there 351,882 times within the past 6 months. 

Yo, it’s THAT good. 

So, after multiple attempts, we finally planned a girl’s lunch at this little, hole-in-the-wall strip mall dive called Capital Tacos. 

A few of us from this side of town decided to carpool over to Land O’ Lakes, and as we drove, we drooled over the online menu and tried to decide what we would order. With creations like the “Catawampus”, the “Billy Yank” and the “Peacemaker” (any of which you can order as tacos, burritos, nachos, or salads), the decision was NOT easy.

I swear at some point we crossed the Florida/Georgia line, but before we knew it, we were pulling in, and joining our friends, already downing beers and looking like little kids on Christmas morning, awaiting the face-stuffing hour. 

Capital Tacos is tiny, however, if it gets too crowded, there is some seating outside on the porch. And you know what? If you can’t find a place to sit, plop down on the curb in the parking lot. You’ll forget about not having a chair as soon as you take your first bite. 

There aren’t any waiters here. You walk up to the counter, place your order, pay, then wait for the magic to happen. Within minutes, you’ll be called back to the window (via license plate tags they’ll hand you as you pay) to grab your meal and your beverage (beer, bottled drinks, sangria, and homemade sodas on tap!). 

Then, you feast. 
In silence, preferably.

You don’t need distractions in your life when it comes to enjoying Capital Tacos. So tell your friends to pipe down and savor each bone-shaking, orgasmic, moment and contemplate proposing marriage to one of the cooks so that you can have free Capital Tacos any damn time you please. 

Now I’ve only been once, so I can only tell you what I enjoyed, which was the Federale taco and the Ranger taco, but I will say this. From what my friends have claimed, everything on the menu is delicious. Even the breakfast options… specifically the “dirty potatoes.” And I cannot disagree. The Federale was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Hands down. 

If you haven’t tried Capital Tacos, remove the excuses from your brain (see above) and go. Go NOW. Run. Believe the hype. You won’t regret it!

And because Capital Tacos is practically a day trip for this Seminole Heights girl, I’ll need something to calm my cravings in between visits. 

I shall call this “The Hold-me-over”
unnamed (6)

Layer in this order:
A drizzle of bbq sauce recipe here
Bacon wrapped shrimp recipe here
Corn salsa recipe here
Homemade ranch (use homemade mayo if possible and add a bit of hot sauce for a kick!) recipe here
Warm corn tortillas, and toppings (lettuce, tomato… the world is yours!)
STUFF in your face. Repeat.  And shed a small tear of regret that it’s not Capital Tacos. (it’s good though, so make it, and share. It’ll hold you over until your next visit!). 

Have you tried Capital Tacos? 

07/15/14

Squash Pizza Pie

I love spaghetti squash.
I love that it’s tasty. 
I love that I can order it as a side dish at Ruby Tuesday. 
I love that it looks like and acts like pasta.
I love that I can turn it into a million different recipes.

Tonight I whipped up a variation of Paleomg’s Pizza Spaghetti Pie. Here’s what I used:

Ingredients
1 whole spaghetti squash (baked, then shredded)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1lb. ground turkey
1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup (divided) shaved Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flake
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Directions (preheat oven to 350)
1. Saute the ground turkey and onion in the olive oil until brown.
2. Add basil, fennel seed, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
3. In a pie pan (or baking dish of similar size), layer the spaghetti squash, ground turkey, cheese, and tomatoes. Top with remaining shaved Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

It was absolutely scrumptious! You can play around with the flavors by adding your favorite pizza toppings! YUM-O!

unnamed (4)

Do you like spaghetti squash? What are your favorite recipes?
Steph :)

07/13/14

Grilled chicken quinoa salad

How’s your summer so far?
Mine has been glorious.

After a few busy weeks of training for the upcoming school year, my gentleman and I took off for a week out of town, and since we’ve returned, I have been soaking up every second of free time I can squeeze in!

Beach? Check.
Pool? Check.
Daytime trips to Trader Joe’s? Check. 
Staying up late watching Modern Family reruns? Check. 
Orangetheory workouts at a normal time of the day? Check.
Recipe testing? Check.

Like I said… I’ts been glorious! 

Speaking of recipes…I have a few lined up to share with you guys! 

Let’s start with this Grilled chicken quinoa salad! 
A simple, yet delicious recipe to whip up and take with you the next time you’re invited to a summertime shin-dig. It’s perfect served warm, or cold, and can easily be made veggie-friendly by replacing the grilled chicken with your favorite grilled vegetable (think grilled eggplant, zucchini or mushrooms!). 

Ingredients
2 cups of cooked quinoa (I used tri-colored)
2 cups diced grilled chicken breast
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup fresh peas (or thawed frozen)
1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers 
4oz soft goat cheese crumbles
1/8 sliced almonds
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
the juice of two limes
1 tbsp. raw unfiltered honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic

Directions
1. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until combined. 
2. Add quiona, veggies, almonds and diced chicken to the dressing. Carefully fold the ingredients together using a spatula. 
3. Gently fold in chunks of goat cheese. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

unnamed (2)

 

07/8/14

Grain free brownies with date caramel

Sometimes I lay in bed at night contemplating life’s biggest questions.

What is the meaning of life?
Why are we all here?
Why are brownies so delicious?

Grain-free fudgy brownies with date caramel yields 8 brownies
These brownies might be grain-free, but they are PACKED with chocolately flavor which will make you completely forget that they’re made without refined flours or sugars! 

Ingredients
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
5 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup raw unfiltered honey

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
2. Combine dry ingredients together. 
3. Stir or mix in eggs, honey and vanilla into the dry ingredients until combined. 
4. Lightly grease an 8in x 8in baking pan. Stir the brownie mixture once more then pour into the pan. 
5. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until fork test proves done. Let the brownies cool completely before you cut into them!

I topped these brownies with date caramel from the Detoxinista, shredded unsweetened coconut flakes, sliced almonds and a sprinkle of sea salt! 

unnamed

06/29/14

The big 3-5!

It’s Official!
I’m 35!

35 has ALWAYS been my “scary” year. There’s just something about “35″ that makes you feel all grown up. And while I’m definitely not in a place I thought I would be as I enter my 35th year of life, it turns out that where I am now is so much better than I could ever have imagined. I’m happy, healthy, strong, educated and loved. What more could I possibly ask for?

And although I would have never, in a billion years pictured myself as a 35 year old without a mother, this experience has really changed me; both mentally and emotionally. Grieving and surviving the loss of my mother has been something that has come to build the person that I am today.

I have learned to appreciate every, single moment and enjoy the present. 

I have come to understand the importance of making myself a priority (my health, my well-being, my sanity, my happiness), and that understanding that importance does not make me selfish. It makes me feel worthy. 

I have learned to make time for relationships that are special and where both parties give 100%. 

I have learned what it feels like to give back. I’ve been able to do things that make others feel wanted, important, loved and needed through #TeamJudy’s charitable events. 

I have realized when it’s time to walk away, move on, and let it go. The past is the past, and I don’t live there. 

And above all, I have experienced and understood what it means to love and be loved unconditionally. Because Brian has also experienced the loss of a parent, we share a special bond that is difficult to put into words, but something I would not have experienced if I had not gone through all of these challenging moments. 

I miss my mother terribly. Not a moment goes by that she doesn’t cross my mind. And although I wish she were here to celebrate with me, I know that what’s most important is that I continue to live on, far past 35, experiencing all that life has to offer each and every day. 

And that’s what I intend to do.

To kick off our 3rd anniversary weekend, and the big 3-5 (they’re back to back!), we jumped on a plane and headed for a week of adventure. Our trip started in Delaware, where we spent time visiting B’s grandmother. Then we drove up to Philadelphia, where we caught a Phillie’s game, and took in all the sights of the City of Brotherly Love. Then wrapped up our week in beautiful Washington D.C., where we were oh-so-lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the First Family as they dined out on Friday evening at BLTSteak. It was definitely a memorable trip! Here are a few of my favorite moments. 

My sweetie and I at the Phillie's game!

My sweetie and I at the Phillie’s game!

Downtown Philadelphia!

Downtown Philadelphia!

The amazing Reading Terminal Market!

The amazing Reading Terminal Market!

10501647_10152585280222474_6494797716453323405_n

My grain-FULL birthday breakfast. WORTH it!

The Liberty Bell!

The Liberty Bell!

Boardwalk fries at Rehoboth Beach, DE!

Boardwalk fries at Rehoboth Beach, DE!

Lightning bugs!

Lightning bugs!

10410811_10152590633337474_3245235457761296140_n

The Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial.

The Washington Monument.

The Washington Monument.

Flying into Tampa.

Flying into Tampa!

-Steph :)

06/24/14

Tips to making your friends gag (happy 3 years!)

Today marks 3, yes 3 amazingly happy years with my guy. 
Can you believe it? I feel like just 2 seconds ago I was writing our first year post! 
And I can honestly tell you that just about every single moment of those 1,095.75 days has been complete and utter sugar coated happiness. Brian is my best friend, the man whom I adore, the person that keeps me on my toes, and someone I can’t imagine life without. 

10489842_10152577303612474_583675937344982702_n

Sure we’ve had our scoffs, but they’re short and few and far between. Why? Well, because we’re awesome, of course! And when you bring 2 awesome people together, and they just happen to fall in love, it’s magic. 
Oh, and some of these tips might help…

1. Find a balance and build on one another’s strengths. I cook delicious food, he removes the spiders. 

2. Laugh. A LOT. Even during those shitty times you’d SO like to forget! 

3. Love each other unconditionally. Yes even through the most pungent of farts, or those super whiny moments where you think you’re going to die from that runny nose. 

4. Find things you enjoy doing together and as individuals. Football Sundays? I’ll be at the farmer’s market! C-ya later! 

5. Be each other’s cheerleader. Brag on; Even if your friends want to gag. 

6. Make each other feel wanted and get excited about seeing each other. Whether it’s 3 years or 30 years, don’t ever fall into the monotony of the every day routine. Mix things up. Flirt and be silly. 

7. Don’t be a stalker. You don’t work for the CIA. No snooping through phones or emails. No going behind backs to get the scoop. Trust one another, and if there’s a doubt, always ask before jumping to conclusions. 

8. Challenge each other. Whether it’s learning to play golf or eating kale, always encourage each other to try something new.

9. Avoid the put-downs. If you get into an argument, try to focus on the facts. Emotions may get crazy, but save those put-downs for the asshole that cuts you off on the highway, not the one you love. 

10. Be best friends, partners and most of all, equals. Forget money, age, experience, education, and any other factors that could drive a wedge between a couple. In the end, none of that matters. What makes a relationship work is the dynamic that two people have because they both give 100%, cherish the bond they share, and treat one another as best friends would. 

Happy 3 years of awesome Brian! Love you more every day! 
Steph :)

 

06/8/14

Zephyrhills #FLFavorites Campaign

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation from Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water in the form of products in exchange for my help in promoting this initiative. All refreshing, Florida-loving, crystal clear opinions are my own. :)

Zephyrhills 100% Natural Spring Water is launching a “50 Things We Love About Florida” initiative to celebrate their 50th anniversary and to help spread the word about Florida and it’s amazing features!  Continue reading

06/2/14

7 Easy tips for working out in the morning

Breaking news: You don’t have to be insane to enjoy morning workouts!

I know right? I was shocked too. All this time I thought I needed to see a therapist. I thought that because I ENJOY morning workouts, surely I MUST be insane. 

But guys, I’m telling you. Morning workouts are where it’s AT. Continue reading