07/4/16

Sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles

Happy Fourth of July!

Need a last minute summer snack to whip up for a party or picnic? Try these SUPER simple sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles! 
ddc6df9b-fb92-4edddddddb5-b142-50632b0c4c52These pickles are SO flavorful, with just the right balance of sweet and sour- with a little kick at the end from some spice. They can be ready is as little as 2 hours and will last 2-3 weeks in an air-tight container in the fridge. You can use whatever type of cucumber you like- English, mini-pickling, etc. OR try using onions, sweet peppers or even carrots! The pickling possibilities are endless!

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The best part? These pickles are made with all natural ingredients that you can probably find in your pantry AND they are completely Paleo as they are sweetened with coconut sugar! The original recipe is from Valerie at Home, but with a few replacements, this great recipe is Paleo friendly!

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Sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 mini pickling cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
  2. 8 baby carrots
  3. 2 mini sweet bell peppers, sliced
  4. 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  5. 3 sprigs of fresh dill
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. 1 cup coconut sugar
  8. 1 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  9. 1 cup water
  10. 3 tsp. sea salt
  11. 2 tsp. ground
  12. 1 tsp. red pepper flake (omit if you don't like spice)
  13. 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring the vinegar, water, coconut sugar and dry spices to a gentle simmer, stirring to dissolve. Turn off heat and set aside. Place the veggies, dill and garlic into tall tight sealing jar (like a mason jar). When the liquid has become a bit cooler (but still warm), pour into the jar and let cool to room temperature. Seal and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. The carrots get better sitting over night, but the cucumbers, peppers and onions will be ready after 2 hours. The pickles will keep for 2-3 weeks in the air-tight container. Enjoy!
Adapted from Valerie at Home
Adapted from Valerie at Home
Orangespoken http://orangespoken.com/
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06/25/16

Summer adventures

Hello from Philly!13524396_10154354176277474_4827096404118096982_n

We’ve had an amazing time up here visiting with family in Delaware and enjoying a few days in Philly while the Dave Matthews Band is in town! To top things off, yesterday was our 5th anniversary and today is my 37th birthday! What better way to spend both of those special days than on an epic vacation!

So far we’ve….

Devoured some delicious food…13537685_10154354177467474_7865704489201489712_n

13524394_10154354178002474_3124594092157906772_nVisited some amazing sights…13466126_10154354176257474_5822570893625545851_nShopped til’ we dropped…13533333_10154354176587474_6177409782614703215_n

13495339_10154354177097474_8573333402324869180_n

13438865_10154354177232474_5127315219769257656_nMet up with some long time Instagram friends…13466100_10154354177407474_4042522491338008174_nJammed out at night 1 of Dave Matthews Band in Camden (Night 2 is tonight!)…13466269_10154354177397474_3276038659476842025_nEnjoyed quality time with Grandma…13516669_10154354177642474_2479359612944426227_nAnd….13516228_10154354177537474_559077871349846985_n

GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!13495346_10154354177512474_7123887005794003019_nEach year when we go and visit Brian’s grandmother in Delaware, she always asks us to take some pictures before we leave. This year she decided to take us outside so that she could have a picture of us by the creek behind her house. I handed her my phone, showed her how to use it and then posed for the picture next to Brian. Gram ended up having some problems using my phone, so I had to run back up to her a few (5 or 6) times to help her with the camera. Little did I know what while I did this, Brian was pulling a ring out of his pocket….PicMonkey CollageI really had NO idea and I was SO surprised!!! Of course I said YES and now we can happily shout from the rooftops that we are engaged to be married! It was a perfect start to our 5th anniversary and the ring was everything I could have asked for and more. The center stone is a gorgeous emerald cut citrine stone, which is a sentimental and beautiful tribute to my mother as citrine was her birthstone and the color that has represented #TeamJudy from the start. The center stone is surrounded by sparkling diamond accents and I’m just so in love with it and him! 13508864_10154354177447474_5847195749746237910_n

I am so grateful to have met Brian. Everyday I thank my lucky stars that he dropped into my life, just when I needed him most. He is my everything, and now, my forever. I couldn’t ask for a more loving, supportive, and kind-hearted partner to enjoy this life with. Everyday he goes above and beyond to make sure I am smiling, happy and that I feel loved. What an adventure we are in for… and I cannot wait!

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06/12/16

Light and fresh shrimp salad

Yesterday I attended two parties.

Right? Party animal, right here. 😉

The first was a bridal shower for my cousin Jake’s lovely fiance Michelle and the second was an engagement party for the same happy couple. Aren’t they the cutest? I used to babysit Jake back-in-the-day and cannot believe he’s about to tie the knot! Where does the time go? 10255808_10205521843789353_4478302339785795183_n

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Both shin-digs were just awesome. Family, friends, good food, lots of laughs and of course, lots of celebrating!

The shower was hosted at the beautiful house of one of my aunt’s friends. Not only did Sue, the hostess, provide the space for the event, but she also prepared lunch for the guests. Everything was absolutely delicious. From the peach tea cocktails and the enchiladas, to the orzo salad and frozen coffee dessert- she truly outdid herself with this party menu!

What stood out to me the most, however, was the amazing shrimp salad she made. It had gorgeous pink Florida shrimp, thick ribbons of pasta and a creamy dressing to tie it all together. Since eating this dish, I have been craving it. So naturally, I whipped up a version of my own, and it is out of this world!0f30eead-9fad-4ef2-a541-a44470c082b8

This salad is light but succulent, with juicy shrimp, chunks of buttery avocado, ribbons of perfectly blanched zucchini, kernels of fresh sweet white corn- right off the cob, a zesty and creamy lime and cilantro dressing, and just a pinch of chopped red onion, fresh jalapeno and chopped cilantro. It can easily be whipped up with scallops, crab meat, grilled chicken if you’re not a fan of seafood, or omit the protein for a simple and delicious vegetarian dish!

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Light and fresh shrimp salad
Serves 3
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 12 cooked shrimp, peeled and cleaned- tail off
  2. the juice of 2 limes
  3. 1 ripe avocado
  4. 1 zucchini blanched (directions-
  5. 1 cob of fresh white corn
  6. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  7. 1/4 red onion
  8. 1 clove of garlic
  9. 1 fresh jalapeno
  10. 1/4 cup mayo
  11. 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  12. 1 tsp. sea salt
  13. 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  14. PREP WORK: Finely chop the garlic clove and red onion. Remove the seeds and rib from the inside of the jalapeno and finely chop. Use a spiralizer or mandolin to create zucchini ribbons (you can also use a sharp knife to thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise) then add to boiling water for 1 minute to blanch. Remove the kernels from the corn cob. Finely chop the cilantro. Pit, peel and dice the avocado into bite-sized chunks.
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the juice of 1 lime, half of the chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and the chopped garlic clove. Stir to combine and then add in the shrimp and the avocado; and then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, Greek yogurt, the juice of 1 lime, the rest of the cilantro, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add in the corn, onion, jalapeno, zucchini, shrimp and avocado. Stir gently to coat.
  3. Serve chilled.
Orangespoken http://orangespoken.com/
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06/8/16

Ode to Summer Sensations at #Winghouse

One ordinary Tuesday,
A group of bloggers and I,
Got an invite to taste.
We were asked to stop by,

Ker’s Winghouse Bar and Grill,
In Tampa’s west side of town,
For some summer menu sampling,
An offer we couldn’t turn down!13412916_10154304429457474_1872867656669884253_n

The new summer sensations menu,
Is packed with delicious flavor.
From appetizers to dessert,
There’s something for everyone to savor! b72a5404-4b49-4ec7-8818-f1296072cea5

While we chatted and we mingled,
We sipped on something fresh and bright,
The lemon smash cocktail,
Is a great way to start your meal right!13412916_10154304429457474_1872867656669884253_n

We nibbled and swooned over
Warm and chewy pretzel bites. 
With two dipping sauces to choose from,
Every dunk was a delight!cd80840e-fa26-4c78-abf8-f1b77aeac704

Next in line was a table favorite,
Smokey nachos…with bbq pork!
Drizzled with cilantro lime crema,
No need for a fork!1994757e-00a3-402c-81fc-c65b8ea63458

We devoured the cheesy nachos,
And awaited the next dishes. 
Two fresh salads appeared before us,
Both were equally delicious! 

The pasta salad with chicken,
Was hearty, flavorful and fresh.
The taco salad, with chili and fried jalapenos,
Was simply the best! 4411e5cc-ef44-4e3e-9618-db4402b6e3ae

And just when we had decided,
There wasn’t room for any thing more,
The wonderful people at Winghouse
Came toting tacos out of the kitchen door!

This summer menu offers up,
Three tacos: chicken, pork and shrimp.
All topped with fresh ingredients,
When it comes to flavor, they don’t skimp! 13339603_10154304576407474_7277822932193102182_n

At this point we were full (oh so full)
But we still had more to try!
Pork sliders with onion straws,
Possibly my favorite of the night. 13418747_10154304572967474_2905634219885220090_n

The pork was oh-so-juicy,
The sandwich topped with slaw.
Crispy onion strings made it extra special,
As well as a drizzle of Dallas sauce!

We were ready to cry “uncle!”
But somehow we found the space,
For a chilled slice of guava cheesecake,
Which brought a sweet smile to our face!568f5ddb-c16b-4b15-8ed9-cbe6fe832693

You’ll be able to sample these items
June 13th; just a few days away!
Make sure you get over to Winghouse,
This menu is limited so don’t delay!

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I was invited on behalf of Ker’s Winghouse and the Tampa Bay Bloggers to attend this event to help promote the new Summer Sensations menu. The menu will be available starting on June 13th at all 26 Wingshouse locations! 

06/5/16

A taste of summer & Tampa’s #Margaritafestival!

I attended the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival last weekend as part of a partnership between Big City Events and The Tampa Bay Bloggers. I was compensated in the form of complimentary tickets in exchange for social media love and an honest review on my blog. All lime-infused opinions are my own. 

Summer is so close.

Like soooooooooooooo close. 

With just 5 days left until I bid my students adieu, the yearning for long days by the shoreline, road trips and vacations, Dave Matthews concerts (T-19 days!) and absolutely no work-related responsibilities is making me all giddy! And even though summer is not quite here yet, I’ve had a taste of those glorious months the past few weeks with some fun events and summery activities. 

A few weeks ago I planted my first garden in our backyard and I’ve started to reap some of the fruits, er, herbs of my labor!13344628_10154299542752474_6265594222118726046_n

So far basil, lavender, dill, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, thyme, eggplant, and sunflowers have all sprouted and are growing like crazy! I was able to pick some basil today for a fresh caprese salad AND a little something something mentioned below. With all of the rain we are getting, my sweet little garden should be flourishing as we head into the summer. Stay tuned for more updates! 

Last weekend we attended the Margarita Festival at Curtis Hixon park which is another tell tale sign that summer is VERY near! 13325482_10154279990892474_3870697961730976788_n

Although the festival started earlier in the day, we decided to head downtown closer to the evening so that we would be able to avoid the heat of the middle of the day. We were able to find a parking space super close to the entrance gate, and because we were given VIP tickets, we were inside the festival in less than 5 minutes. We found a great spot in a grassy area to prop our camp chairs on just outside the VIP tent and promptly joined the line to sample our first margarita! It was a beautiful evening for an outdoor festival with a light breeze coming off the Hillsborough River as the sun began to set. Although the lines were longer than expected, when the delicious peach cobbler margarita hit my lips, I was in love. It was cold, refreshing and mixed to perfection! It was the perfect beverage to accompany a round of people watching, listening to music and enjoying some quality time with my main squeeze. 13307361_10154280046237474_3221558133326136790_n

The second margarita I sipped on was the raspberry peach. It was just as refreshing and delicious- the perfect drink to watch the sunset with. We were beginning to get hungry and although there were tons of food vendors to choose from at the festival, we decided to head off site for some grub. We were having some trouble loading money onto our wristbands- an issue many people faced and something that Big City Events is working tirelessly to improve for next year’s festival. They have received a lot of feedback since last weekend and have been very receptive to it, ensuring that next year will be even better than before due to the suggestions from attendees. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what next year brings!

Before we headed out, we ran into fellow blogger and friend Lindsey, from the blog Lindsey Goes Local! She was definitely getting the most out of her festival experience spending almost the entire day out there- including staying for the headlining act, Blues Traveler! It was definitely great seeing a friendly and familiar face and catching up with her for a bit. 

Thank you to Big City Events for the wonderful opportunity to attend the Margarita Festival this year! USEthis

Inspired by all of the deliciousness of the Margarita Festival, I decided to use some of that fresh basil from my garden to whip up a little margarita of my own here at home! This watermelon, lime and basil frozen margarita is super easy to prep and is a cool and refreshing beverage that would be perfect for a backyard bbq or pool party! ff856245-7262-4e6b-b44d-a3bc68e66970

Frozen watermelon, lime and basil margarita
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups frozen seedless watermelon chunks
  2. 1 cup of tequila of your choice
  3. 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  4. 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  5. 2 tbsp. coconut sugar + extra for the rim of the glass
  6. 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  7. tiny pinch of salt
  8. *Extra basil leaves and lime slices for garnish
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately with a garnish of basil leaves, a slice of lime.
  4. *Optional- rim each glass with coconut sugar for extra sweetness. Want it extra cold? Add some crushed ice to the blender!
Orangespoken http://orangespoken.com/
 Enjoy! sig

 

06/1/16

Hi, hello, #GIVEAWAY time!

Hi and hello friends!

I hope you had a restful and wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

On Monday, I woke up bright and early to workout at Orangetheory. The 6:15am class was teeny tiny, which was a nice change of pace from the typical packed house. We did a very intense endurance workout reminiscent of the Memorial Day crossfit “Murph” workout that you may have heard of. 13312664_10154281583722474_8463818346519828707_nEven though I was tired, sweaty, and ready to throw in the towel at any moment, I used the time that morning to reflect on those who have passed serving our country. If you can squeeze in some exercise this week (and I hope you can!), try the Murph and see how you do! It can easily be modified to meet your own fitness needs. In the end, it’s all about sweating and honoring those who left to fight for our freedom and never returned to us! Continue reading