06/14/14

Red Beans and Rice with Abita Spring IPA

Red Beans and Rice with Abita Spring IPA

Red Beans and Rice- Life Food and Beer

Red Beans and Rice is a traditional Creole dish. Traditionally this dish was served on Monday using the leftover from Sunday. Ham was usually prepared on Sundays.

Red Beans and Rice- Life Food and Beer

Now, this dish is not traditional by any means. I made it on a Saturday, I used canned beans, my veggies were on the larger size, I served my rice on top instead of the bottom, and I added a splash of beer because everything in life is better with a splash of beer.

Red Beans and Rice- Life Food and Beer

Even though this isn’t traditional, it’s still a winner in my book. The IPA adds a slight sweetness to balance out the spice. If you do not like spicy food, I would cut back on the IPA, and only use 1/4 of a cup. Otherwise you’ll have sweet Red Beans.

Red Beans and Rice- Life Food and Beer

I allowed this to simmer for an hour which thinned the liquids and created a gravy almost. I also used brown rice instead of white. I’m on a brown rice kick right now. It has so much more flavor than plain white. It’s like a nuttiness almost. I buy the Publix brand Frozen Steam bag. In 5 minutes I have perfect brown rice. Love it!

Red Beans and Rice- Life Food and Beer

The Start of My Birthday Weekend

It’s almost my birthday. My last year in my 20′s. I’ve had so many amazing things happen over the last 9 years. Some good. Some bad. But everything has lead me to the life I currently have, and I wouldn’t change one second. Now, that’s not saying I wouldn’t like to add in a few more things along the way.

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I’m the kind of person that sets expectations for myself. Like by the time I’m 30, I want to have done this, this, and this. Well, I’m knocking on 30′s door, with a list of stuff I still haven’t accomplished, and I have a feeling she’s going to open whether I accomplish them or not. Damn it!

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My goal was to travel the world by 30. Visit a handful of US cities {I’ve never been to NYC, and I found that unacceptable!!}. I wanted to live in a different state {I did that one}. Live in a different country.

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Ok so, my list of things to do before 30 is just a big list of places I want to visit. Story of my life. I was born with a major case of wanderlust, apparently. It’s crazy because no one in my entire family is like that. It’s a blessing and curse at the same time.

travel bucket list map

I am happy with the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had. I’ve traveled to some pretty awesome places, made some great friends, and married the love of my life. Honestly, the last one is the only thing that matters.

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I still can’t believe I’ll be 29. Where did the time go? I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I feel like I’m in my early 20′s, maybe. I’m about to go out drinking. We will see if I still feel like I’m in my early 20′s, tomorrow.

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As I enter the 29th year of my life, I will not be sad I haven’t accomplished everything on my ridiculously long list of expectations, but instead celebrate all the amazing things I’ve done, the amazing people I’ve met, and the amazing life I have.

Here’s to another great 29 years!

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Red Beds and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Oil
  • 1/2 Medium Onion (Diced)
  • 1/2 Medium Bell Pepper (Diced)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1/2lb Cajun Sausage (Diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper Powder
  • 1 can Low Sodium Red Kidney Beans (Drained and Rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup Beer (Wheat, Lager, or IPA)
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • Tabasco Sauce (To Taste)
  • Salt and Pepper (To Taste)

Directions

Preheat a medium size pot over medium heat. Add Oil, Onions, Peppers, Garlic, and Sausage. Cook until veggies start to soften and sausage starts to brown.
Add seasonings, beans, and stir to combined. Add beer and chicken stock. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes. Add water if needed.
Serve with white or brown rice and enjoy.
06/11/14

Beer and Food Pairing with Kirin Brewery

Last weekend, I was invited to attend a beer and food pairing sponsored by Kirin Brewery. The event was hosted by Publix Aprons School, and the guest chef for the evening was Candice Kumai. Candice was on the first season of Top Chef, has multiple cookbooks, and a regular judge on Iron Chef. She’s also the spokesperson for Kirin Brewery Company. As a fan of Top Chef, I was really excited to meet her. Her cookbooks are geared to healthier cooking techniques using fresh ingredients.

The event took place at the Publix Aprons kitchen in Plantation, Florida. It’s about an hour south of our house in Jupiter. We arrived a few minutes early ready to learn more about Kirin Ichiban and eat some yummy food.

Once we were seated in the kitchen, we were informed the demo was being recorded. I use to watching cooking shows all the time. I’m pretty sure the Food Network logo was burned into my TV screen. My dream was to one day star in my own cooking show, and when I’m cooking, I sometimes talk to the dogs in a Julia Childs voice. Luckily, Huck hasn’t caught me doing that yet! I was really excited to see what goes on behind the scenes during a cooking video.

Kirin Ichiban Beer and Candice Kumai (1)

I’ve had Kirin a couple times when eating at a Japanese Steakhouse, but I didn’t know much about the beer. Kirin has been brewing beer since 1888, and have two styles available in the US, Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light. Ichiban means Number One and it’s brewed using only the first-press of the wort. Kirin Light only has 95 calories. Both beers are good for the style. They paired well with the Asian food we were presented through the night.

We started the evening with Kirin Ichiban and Wasabi-Ginger Spiced Cashews.

Kirin Ichiban Beer and Candice Kumai (2)

Kirin Ichiban Beer and Candice Kumai (3)

I love cashews! Huck and I almost polished off this whole bowl on our own.

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Huck practicing his chopstick skills.

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Camera crew setting up.

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Candice was energetic and fun. She had great stories about her life and family, and she was very detailed when explaining the dish and preparation. You can tell when someone has a real passion about what they’re doing, and she definitely has that. Huck and I both agreed, we’d love to meet her mom.

The first dish she prepared was Sushi Rolls. She made a basic California and Salmon Roll and paired them with the Kirin Ichiban. One tip she shared, and is a problem I run into often, if you can’t find fresh fish, try using smoked tofu or smoked salmon.

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The Sushi Rolls were served with Soy Sauce, Spicy Mayo, and Homemade Pickled Daikon Radishes.

Kirin Ichiban Beer and Candice Kumai (8)

Next up, Mom’s Homemade Gyoza. Gyoza are also known as potstickers. Candice added a little oil to a hot skillet and added water to help steam the potstickers. It’s a great combo of crispy and tender. The Gyoza were also served with Kirin Ichiban and a soy dipping sauce. The flavors complimented each other well.

Kirin Ichiban Beer and Candice Kumai (16)

While we were snacking on the Gyoza, we met a representative from Kirin. She discussed the history of Kirin more and told us about a new way to drink Kirin beer in the US- Kirin Ichiban Frozen. Apparently, it’s like a beer slushy. It’s available in a few ballparks. Great way to keep your beer cold while watching baseball.

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Our last dish of the the night was Beer Marinated Ginger Garlic Chicken and Roasted Miso Honey-Glazed Root Vegetables paired with Kirin Light.

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Kirin Ichiban Beer and Candice Kumai (11)

This was our favorite meal of the night. The glaze was delicious. I used my chicken to soak up every drop! I wanted a bottle of it to take with us.

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After the cooking demo was over, we had a chance to speak with Candice. I purchased one of her cookbooks, Pretty Delicious. It’s full of healthy recipes I can’t wait to try.

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She even signed it to me and Life Food and Beer… So cheesy I know!

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{Do you think when you get a cookbook deal, they teach you to write and sign your name neatly? My handwriting and signature are HORRIBLE!!}

It was such a fun opportunity. Thank you Kirin, Candice, and Publix Aprons for allowing us to attend.

As a special treat for LF&B readers, Kirin and Candice gave me permission to share one of the recipes we sampled.

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Beer Marinated Ginger Garlic Chicken and

Roasted Miso Honey-Glazed Root Vegetables

Recipe by Candice Kumai
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 Cloves Garlic- Finely Minced
  • 1/2 cup Kirin Ichiban Beer
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons White Miso Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1 1/2 lb Root Vegetables {Carrots, Parsnips, Waxy Potatoes, Turnips, Rutabagas}
Method:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, Kirin beer, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and brown sugar. Pour into a re-sealable plastic bag. Place the chicken in the bag with the marinade and make sure breasts are evenly coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for 25-30 minutes or overnight.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine low sodium soy sauce, garlic, Ichiban beer, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and brown sugar and whisk well to incorporate. Peel and slice the root veggies into 1/2 inch pieces. If using beets, wear gloves while preparing and add them last. Toss the root veggies in the marinade until coated and allow them to site for approximately 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the root veggies on a large, foil-lined baking sheet and cook for approximately 45 minutes.
  3. Spray a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place the marinated chicken into the baking dish along with the marinade. Bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, and until the internal thermometer registers 165 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice on the bias and serve with Roasted Veggies.

Disclosure: Kirin Brewery provided me with two tickets to attend the cooking demo. As always, the opinions are my own! 

06/8/14

Grilled Beer Flatbread with Der Chancellor

Grilled Beer Flatbread topped with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Arugula, and Feta.

Grilled Beer Flatbread- Life Food and Beer

Have you tried grilling pizza dough before? If not, you have a new assignment for the week. I promise you will not be disappointed.

I like my pizza or flatbread thin and crispy.

Grilled Beer Flatbread- Life Food and Beer

We normally stick with traditional pizza favors {cheese, pepperoni, and veggies}. Last night, I decided to change it up some. Recently, I tried a flatbread with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions, and Arugula. I wanted to recreate those flavors at home with a this Grilled Flat Beer Bread. I decided to skip the Gorgonzola and used Feta. It’s a strong flavor that can overpower your dish. The Feta has a light flavor that paired well with light flavor beers. With the combo of sweet onions and earthy mushrooms, this was a winner. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar completed the dish.

Grilled Beer Flatbread- Life Food and Beer

This is a great appetizer for entertaining. You can make the dough and caramelized onions ahead of time. You can shape the dough and place on a lightly greased piece of parchment paper. When you’re ready to eat, place the bread on grill and remove the paper. Once finished, top with desired topping. I wouldn’t recommend cooking the bread ahead of time. Warm, fresh, dough is always better. You can also setup a topping bar and allow guest to top their flatbread with whatever topping they desire.

Tequesta Brewing Company- Der Chancellor

Recently, we talked about how I’ve never used a TBC beer on the blog. Huck decided that was unacceptable and went to the brewery to pick up some beer. I asked him to get the Der Chancellor. I wanted a light flavored beer for this recipe and this German Kolsch was perfect. They just so happened to be brewing Chancellor that day, so Huck asked for some Spent Grains to add to the recipe. If you’re a homebrewer, this is a great way to use all those leftover grains, and add texture to your recipes.

Grilled Beer Flatbread- Life Food and Beer

It’s no secret around this blog, we love Tequesta Brewing Company! If you follow me of Instagram, I’m sure you’ve noticed we go there weekly, and my office has TBC growler Friday, every Friday. They’re my favorite brewery, and they make some of my favorite beers.

If you’re not lucky enough to live a couple miles for TBC, I recommend any light flavor American Wheat, Lager, or Kolsch for the dough.

Grilled Beer Flatbread- Life Food and Beer

Behind the scenes. If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE the new bar!!

{Click on the underlined links for Homemade Reduced Balsamic Vinegar and Caramelized Onions recipes.}

Grilled Beer Flatbread

Serves 4 medium or 2 large
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Crispy Grilled Beer Flatbread with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, and Feta.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Unbleached AP Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Spent Grains (Optional)
  • 12oz Beer (Lager, Wheat, Kolsch, or any other light beer)
  • Extra Flour for Dusting
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Desired Toppings (Caramelized Onion, Feta, Mushrooms, Arugula, Balsamic Vinegar, etc.)

Directions

Shift together flour, spent grains, baking soda, and salt. Add to a mixing bowl with hook attachment. Add beer and mix, on medium speed, until combined and dough forms a ball.
Remove dough onto a floured surface. Knead 3-4 times and place dough in large bowl that is lightly coated with oil. Lightly rub top of dough with oil, cover with a dish towel, and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes to rise.
Preheat grill pan or grill over medium heat.
Remove dough onto floured surface, and knead a few more times. Shape to desired size and shape. Keep the dough thin for best results.

Add dough to pan or grill and cook until dough is golden brown. Flip and continue cooking About 8-12 minutes total.
Remove from grill, add toppings, and serve.
06/5/14

Kayaking At Riverbend

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For all my new couples or single people, if you ever want to really get to know someone or test your relationship, go kayaking together, up a windy stream with a strong current. If you manage to not drown each other, your relationship is golden. 

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That’s exactly what we did this weekend, and as you can tell, neither of us drown {even though there were talks of throwing the other person in the gator infested waters a time or two}. 

The first part of our 4 hour trip was easy! The 8 of us floated down stream. Some parts were complicated with the narrow, sharp, turns, but nothing crazy. River bend isn’t a lazy river by any means. I couldn’t even drink my beer because we were consistently have to maneuver around logs, turns or roots. My arms started burning on the way down, so I knew going back was going to be hell. 

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We stopped 2/3 of the way down for snacks, drinks, and lunch. I was so impressed with the food section on our trip. We had cheese and crackers, assorted meats, hummus, and curry chicken salad. And of course we had some really good homebrew and other craft beer assortments. Sweetwater IPA in a can! Yeah! 

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We hung out on the bank for a while before make our way to the turn around. 

We seen an alligator along the way. All the times we’ve been to River Bend looking for alligators, this was our first time actually seeing one.

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We made it to the second dam, and immediately turned around to head back. The current was strong, but the real problem came when going around the bends in the river. We seen multiple couples, in kayaks, having troubles and getting really frustrated with each other. 

I wasn’t able to paddle, through the turns, by myself. Huck would stop paddling or try to turn us in the right direction while I was paddling, and we wouldn’t move anywhere. I blame it on the fact all the weight was in the back and middle of the kayak… 

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I was so happy to make it back, and I’m 100% sure we burned every calorie we consumed from the fried chicken

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Kayaking is fun and we both enjoy it, but kayaking at Riverbend… Not so much. I think we both agree, lazy rivers or wider streams are way better, like Itchetucknee! Or one way trips, and the one way being down streams, are the only way to go! 

06/2/14

Spicy Buttermilk and Beer Fried Chicken

Buttermilk and Beer Fried Chicken

Hi. My name is Sloane, and I’ve never made fried chicken before. I always told myself I can’t fry food. That way I’m not at home frying everything we eat. It keeps me balanced. At Huck’s request, I attempted making Fried Chicken. I enjoy good spicy fried chicken, but it can be hit or miss. There’s nothing worse than ordering mediocre fried food. If you’re like me, you feel compelled to eat everything because you’re paying for it, but you’re not enjoying it. Remember, bad food makes me sad!

Buttermilk and Beer Fried Chicken (2)

While in New Orleans, we ate lunch at Popeye’s. They have good fried chicken for a fast food restaurant, but I always wish their spicy chicken was spicier. I decided to make my own, spicier, version. And of course, I had to make it with beer.

I’m not going to lie, frying a bunch of chicken was scary. In my head, I pictured everything going wrong. We had lids, baking soda, and the fire extinguisher on stand by just in case something happened.

In the end, the frying experience wasn’t bad! I didn’t catch the house on fire, no dogs or people were burned by hot oil {we actually barricaded the kitchen so the dogs stayed safe}, there was minimal oil splatter to clean up, and we had incredible spicy fried chicken! Win Win Win!

Don’t worry though. This isn’t going to become Life, Fried Food, and Beer. As uneventful as the ordeal was, it’s still a lot more work. Just like fried foods itself, it’s great for every now and then, but not something I want to make on a regular bases.

Buttermilk and Beer Fried Chicken (7)

As a Southerner, I know any good fried chicken recipe starts with soaking the chicken in buttermilk. I combined buttermilk, beer, and LOTS of spices together, and marinated the chicken for almost 24 hours. I used Abita Spring IPA in my marinated. I wanted a full flavor beer to infuse as much flavor as possible into the chicken, and Abita was everywhere in NOLA.

I combined flour and more spices to coat the chicken before frying. There definitely wasn’t a lack of flavor in this recipe. The meat was so incredibly tender and moist from the buttermilk/beer mixture.

I had to make a phone call to find out the perfect frying temperature, though. A question I knew my grandparents could answer better than Google.

They recommended using a cask iron skillet, and I’m sure they wanted to disown me when I told them I didn’t have one. Actually, I do have one, it’s just not seasoned and takes up to much room in our little kitchen.

Buttermilk and Beer Fried Chicken (10)

I used a regular skillet with a high rim, and filed it a little less than half way up the sides with oil. It’s also important not to crowd the pan when cooking the chicken. I did 2 batches, and placed the finished chicken in a 200 degree, preheated, oven to stay warm.

So, the lesson today, fried chicken isn’t that scary, making it at home is healthier than eating out,  {less sodium I’m sure} and as long as you’re careful, you’re not going to burn the house down.

If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can reduce or omit the spices all together. I still recommend Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Onion powder though. It would be too bland without it.

Spicy Buttermilk and Beer Fried Chicken

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • MARINATE
  • 3 cups Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Beer (IPA or other full flavor beer)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Jalapeno Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • 2lb Chicken Legs or Thighs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • BATTER
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Powder (More or less depending on your heat preference)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Jalapeno Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper (To Taste)

Directions

Combined Buttermilk, Beer, and Seasoning in a large bowl with a lid. Place chicken pieces into the bowl, cover, and refrigerator overnight.
When your ready to start cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator.

Add oil to pan. Do not fill pan more than 1/2 full with oil. Preheat oil to 325 degrees.
While oil is warming, combined flour and additional seasonings to a large bowl. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, removed excess mixture, and add to flour. Coat with flour and shake off excess.
Slowly dip chicken in oil and lower in the opposite direction of yourself to prevent splashing yourself. Do not overcrowd the pan.
Cook until golden brown on each side, about 10-12 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Remove chicken from oil and place on a rack in a 200 degree oven until ready to eat.
05/31/14

Last Day In New Orleans and Visiting My Nanny

Friday morning, we were up early and ready for our test. I felt pretty confident I passed, and was pleased to find out Huck and I both passed the certification. Wow! Actually, Huck only scored a few points higher than I did. Considering I haven’t used the program in months, I figured that means I’m smarter! 

We had lunch at the Pearl Restaurant & Oyster Bar. It was located next to our hotel, the Royal St. Charles.

Pearl Restaurant & Oyster Bar New Orleans (1)

Pearl Restaurant & Oyster Bar New Orleans (2)

Pearl Restaurnat & Oyster Bar NOLA (2)

We each had a Po’boys, Shrimp and Alligator Sausage. The Alligator tasted like regular sausage but really tasty.  

Canal Street New Orleans

Downtown New Orleans (2)

We also went to Harrah’s Casino and wasted $10 in less than 10 seconds. We literally walked in the back down, put $10 in a machine, and walked out the front.

We finished up our class around 4pm, packed up, and headed to my grandparents. 

Huck pulled over and made us take a picture in front of the Mississippi state line sign. Our plan was to take a picture with each sign. That was a complete fail! 

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We arrived around 10pm and sat up talking with my Grandparents for a while before calling it a night. 

We were up bright and early Saturday morning. We all sat around their table drinking coffee and talking. 

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My Nanny let me make homemade biscuits with her. She actually let me make them, and instructed me on what to do. Like every good grandparent recipe, there was no measurements. Just a bunch of “add some of this, little of that, little more, now wait for it to form a ball”. Unless I’m making something for the blog, I do not measure anything either, so I get it. It just makes recreating the food you love harder! 

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Making Breakfast with Nanny (1)

We served the biscuits with Tomato Gravy. It sounds weird, but I LOVE Nanny’s tomato gravy. When I called and told her we were coming, I requested Tomato Gravy and homemade biscuits!

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We spent time with them before heading to Huck’s Uncle and then his Aunt’s house for dinner. Aunt Ruthie and her husband made us a huge Fried Shrimp and Fish Fest! I overindulged in fresh shrimp and fish, and listened to stories about Huck’s childhood. 

Making Breakfast with Nanny (7)

I was up early again Sunday to spend a much time with Nanny before we had to leave. We had BLTs for breakfast and left around noon. Have I told you guys how much I hate goodbyes?? Goodbyes and see you later, are the same thing. They both mean I’m not seeing you tomorrow! :( 

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Huck had a claim to look at in Jacksonville on our way back. We arrived home around 9pm, and our vacation/work trip was over. The last two week went by in a flash. I honestly can’t believe they’re already over. 

We had a great time on our mini-vacation/work events. If only we could do it more often.

Stay tuned for a New Orleans themed dish. Actually, I have 4 New Orleans themed meals to share. Cajun Gravy, Red Beans and Rice, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Chicken and Waffles. 

Which recipe would you like to see first? 

05/28/14

Eating Our Way Through New Orleans

Our trip to New Orleans was not long enough! Our day of travel started at 4:30am. It’s a 12 hour drive from our house to NOLA. Originally, our plan was to fly, but airfare was expensive and Huck had a chance to look at a few claims in the panhandle along the way. He figured we could save $600+ in travel expenses and cover the cost of the trip at the same time. And by driving, we would be able to stay with my Grandmother, who lives in the panhandle, on the way back.

Driving Through Florida

Honestly, the ride wasn’t that bad. From Jupiter to Pensacola sucked! It was flat nothingness. That was about 8 hours of our trip. From there Huck looked at his claims, which broke the ride up a good bit. I-10 from Pensacola to NO was a nice ride. It follows along the coast and goes over a bunch of bridges that provide nice views. We even seen a shark attacking something. We both agreed it wasn’t a dolphin, so it had to be a shark.

I-10 (1)I-10 (2)

We were both really crabby by the time we arrived in NO. We were at the “don’t talk to me” point of the ride. We held off on eating until we arrived. After a few hiccups checking into our hotel, we finally made it to Bourbon Street around 9:30pm NOLA times. We already knew where we were going for dinner before we arrived, and thanks to the Google Map app {The walking distance option is great for traveling. You don’t look like a tourist looking for directions on your phone!} we already had the restaurant pulled up and went straight there for food.

Desire New Orleans (5)

We decided to have dinner at Desire Oyster Bar and Restaurant. I read a good review from Iowa Girl Eats about the restaurant, and it was really close to our hotel. We wasted no time ordering.

Huck ordered the Creole Trio. It came with Gumbo, Seafood Jambalaya, and Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage.

Desire New Orleans (3)

I ordered the Crawfish Etouffe.

Desire New Orleans (4)

Everything was great, and we cleaned our plates in recorded time. It was almost embarrassing how quickly we consumed our food. Considering we had breakfast at 11am Florida time, dinner was long overdue!

Once we finished, we walked to Crescent City Brewhouse. Of course, we had to check out the local craft beer places.

Crescent City Brewhouse New Orleans

Crescent City Brewhouse New Orleans 1

I ordered the Red Stallion. Huck ordered the Pale Ale. Both okay beer. We wanted to make a trip to Abita, but never made it that far.

We stopped by Café Du Monde, but we didn’t have any cash, and I was really full from dinner. We walked around for a while before calling it a night.

Jackson Square New Orleans

Thursday, we were up bright and early. We were in New Orleans for a class Huck was attending. I registered for the class too since we were there. The first day was a quick review of the estimating software adjusters use, and a practice test. If you passed the practice test, you could take the test the following day. I haven’t used the estimating software in a while, and was a little nervous I wouldn’t pass the test. I did some research before and found out it has a low pass rate, which was repeated several times during the class. I was so nervous I wasn’t going to pass!

Once we finished the practices test, we were released for lunch. Right across the street, from the conference, was a Popeye’s. Of course, my spicy fried chicken loving husband wanted to stop.

Popeyes New Orleans

I’m not going to lie, I like their Fried Chicken, too!

Once we returned, our practices test were graded. I missed a few questions because of stupid calculation errors but was given the OK to sit for the test the next day. We went over practices questions for about an hour longer and were released for the day.

Huck and I dropped our stuff off at the hotel and headed out to explore/eat and drink more.

Downtown New Orleans (1)

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I love Huck’s GoPro!!

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Downtown New Orleans (21)

We tried Café du Monde again, this time with cash, but the line was too long. Even the express line wrapped around to the front of the building.

Cafe Du Monde

Downtown New Orleans (13)

I didn’t feel like waiting either, so we carried on.

French Quarter New Orleans (1)

French Quarter New Orleans (2)

French Quarter New Orleans (3)

We walked past Evangeline and noticed they were doing a beer and food pairing for happy hour. For $15, we sampled three different kinds of sausage: Boudin, Smoked Sausage, and Andouille that were paired with 3 different Saint Arnold beers. We received a 10 oz sample of each beer. It was a deal!

Evangeline New Orleans

The Boudin was our favorite along with the Black Kolsch, surprisingly. I’m not usually a fan of Kolsch beers but this one was good.

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Evangeline New Orleans (1)

The sausage was served with a mustard sauce over a potato pancake.

Evangeline New Orleans 1 (5)Evangeline New Orleans 1 (6)

After our meat and beer dinner, we met up with some people from the class. We spent a few hours talking with them, before Huck and I separated from the group. Our first stop Café de Monde, again.

Cafe Du Monde New Orleans (4)Cafe Du Monde New Orleans (5)

10pm is the perfect time for Beignets and Coffee. The place wasn’t very busy. We were seated and served right away. Much better than waiting in line.

Cafe Du Monde New Orleans (2)Cafe Du Monde New Orleans (6)

I was a little disappointed with the beignets. I went to NO with my parent in 2006 and remember them being lighter. These were very eggy. Huck compared them to French Toast. They were still really good, and the coffee was a great pick-me-up, too.

On our way back to the hotel, we passed The Gumbo Shop. I wasn’t really hungry but knew I wouldn’t get good gumbo again for a long time. We went in and ordered two bowls of Gumbo. One Seafood. One Chicken and Sausage. Both equally good.

Gumbo Shop New Orleans (4)

It was cold in NOLA by the way {like 55 degrees and windy cold!}, and all we brought were summer stuff. Poor Huck had to wear his dress khaki because we didn’t pack him any pants.

Gumbo Shop New Orleans (5)Gumbo Shop New Orleans (6)Gumbo Shop New Orleans (7)

We walked around Bourbon Street for a while before heading back to the hotel. Our hotel was only one block from Bourbon Street off of Canal Street. Perfect location.

I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow that night. It was a long day full of great food and good beer!

I’ll be back with a recap from our last day in New Orleans, and the trip to my Grandparents, Friday or Saturday. Then I’ll post some recipes. I have a bunch to share :)

05/26/14

Honey Ginger Grilled Shrimp with Dandelion Ale

Honey Ginger Grilled Shrimp with Dandelion Ale

I can’t believe I managed to write 3 posts last week! Crazy right! And I have three more of this week, too. I also have lots of recipes to share that I’ve already tested and photographed. We’ll see how long this motivation last.

I wanted to create a recipe to wrap up our trip to the Georgia Coast. When I think of the coast of Georgia, I always think of Shrimp, and I had to incorporate the Balsamic I purchased.

Do you remember me telling you about that amazing Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar I bought in St. Augustine? I could not wait to get home and make something with it. After two weeks of traveling and eating unhealthy, I was ready to go back to eating “semi-healthy” again. I got use to eating heavy meals, lunch time beers, and afternoon naps. Last week, at work, was rough without my daily nap.

Monday, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on veggies. My body needed less fried food and more fresh stuff.

Honey Ginger Grilled Shrimp Salad 4

Huck LOVES shrimp. I’ll ask him what he would like for dinner, and 99% of the time, it’s shrimp or tacos. At one point, we thought he was allergic to shrimp. He broke out from head to toe in hives after eating shrimp a few years ago. You can develop an allergy to shell fish, and when I told him this, he almost cried. I actually think he did cry. “There’s no point in living without shrimp!” My hubby is a tad dramatic at times!

A few weeks later, I purchased a bottle of liquid Benadryl, and he ate a few shrimps with dinner. Nothing happened and he was trilled! Life was worth living again.

Honey Ginger Grilled Shrimp Salad 5

Now back to the recipe. I combined the Balsamic Vinegar with the Dandelion Ale from Magic Hat, and Garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil,. I soaked fresh Garlic in EVOO, attempting to recreate the mixture I tried when buying the Vinegar. I’d have to say, mine was WAY better.

I’m sure most of you do not have Honey Ginger Balsamic in your pantry, but it’s easy to make your own flavored vinegar. I found White Balsamic Vinegar at Publix for only $3.99. You can add fresh ginger and honey to create your own, homemade, favored vinegar. And trust me, this option is WAY cheaper than the bottle I bought. {See below for recipe}

Honey Ginger Grilled Shrimp Salad 8

{Huck had to add Bacon, of course!}

I’ll be back with a recap from our trip to New Orleans and visit with my Grandmother plus a couple Cajun recipes. You’re not going to want to miss them… Trust me!!!

Memorial Day

Thank you to all my family and friends that have served or currently serving in the military.

I hope everyone has a great, safe, Memorial Day.

Honey Ginger Grilled Shrimp with Dandelion Ale

Ingredients

  • VINAIGRETTE AND MARINATED
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1-2 clove Garlic (Smashed)
  • 1/4 cup Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar (See Below for Homemade Option)
  • 1/2 cup Wheat Beer (A fruit beer would be best)
  • Salt and Beer (To Taste)
  • 1/2- 1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • GRILLED SHRIMP
  • 1lb Fresh Shrimp (Shelled and Deveined)
  • GRILLED CORN
  • 2 Ears Fresh Corn (Shucked)
  • SALAD
  • 8oz Mixed Greens (Spinach, Arugula, Romaine, Endive etc.)
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes

Directions

VINAIGRETTE AND MARINATED:

Combined Olive Oil and Garlic in a container with a screw on top. Allow to infuse for 15 minutes {the longer the better, though}.

Add the additional ingredients to container, screw on lid, and shake to combined.

{Leftover dressing is good for a few days, but do not place in the refrigerator. I made this mistake the first time I made this dressing.}
GRILLED CORN:

Soak whole corn cob {with husk still on} in a sink full of water for 10 minutes. Removed from sink and cook in microwave for 4 minutes. Remove husk and silk. Brush lightly with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and place on preheated grill pan searing on all sides.

Once done, cut corn off of cob.
GRILLED SHRIMP:

Add half of the Honey Ginger Vinaigrette and shrimp to a large Ziploc bag. Fully coat the Shrimp and allow to marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat grill pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Remove shrimp from marinated to remove excess liquid and add to hot pan. Cook for 1-3 minutes or until pink {depends on size}. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan.
SALAD:

Add lettuce to a large bowl. Drizzle desired amount of vinaigrette over greens and combined. Top with Grilled Shrimp, Corn, and Cherry Tomatoes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Homemade Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger (Grated)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Honey
  • 1/4 cup White Balsamic Vinegar

Directions

Combined all ingredients and allow to marinate for up to 24 hours.
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