Beets for Breakfast, Beets for Lunch

Most people who know me know I love beets. I know, that’s a really weird thing to know about a person, but I feel with a love that is more than love for beets. I’ve been known to persistently push the purple wonders on people, and I may have even chased my former boss into her office while forcing them on her. (No, that isn’t why she’s my former boss, although I can see why someone would come to that conclusion).

beets

Doug understood me

I can eat beets every day and never be tired of them. My favorite way is to dress chilled sliced canned beets with oil, red wine vinegar, and some oregano. They’re probably my favorite food, and I only say probably because it’s hard to make a whole meal out of beets. But I do have a few beet based recipes that can be meals. A beet smoothie for breakfast and a beet spinach salad for lunch.

The smoothie is not my recipe . I found it on the blog We are Not Martha

This is, by far, my most repinned pin. I sometimes get several emails a day notifying me it had been repinned or liked. As much as this has been pinned, I have never tried to make it, mainly because chia seeds scare me. I hate slimy foods, and I didn’t know how quickly chia seeds slime. I finally decided to give it a try, and if you drink the smoothie right after making it (which you would anyway) the seeds stay crunchy.

The original recipe is here

        The only changes I made was I used half a can of sliced beets, and low fat dairy milk instead of soy milk, because I don’t like soy milk. After tasting my version, I realized why you would use flavored soy milk for the recipe.

Blender

My beet smoothie

Even though beets are sweet, this is pretty bland. I added a spoonful of sugar, and it did the trick. It was delicious and really filling. I’m not sure what the difference in sugar content is in sweetened soy milk vs regular milk and a spoon of sugar, but I guess you can pick your poison.

Smoothie

Yum!

Now there were lots of halves used to make the smoothie, so I became resourceful and used the ingredients for breakfast in lunch. Using the spinach as a salad base, I added a few strips of very thinly sliced onions, the beets, avocado, and some crumbled goat cheese.

Beet Avocado Salad

Use smoothie ingredients for lunch!

I’ve also made a similar salad for family dinners, so here is my “bulk” recipe:

Salad
1 package mixed baby greens
1 package baby spinach
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
2 cans quartered beets
1 can half pears, drained and cubed
4 oz dried cranberries
4 oz candied pecans
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

dressing

Use fresh herbs for dressing

Dressing:
1 part olive oil
1 part balsamic vinegar**
1 splash of orange juice
a few leaves of fresh basil and oregano
**I used pear cranberry white balsamic, but regular balsamic is good too

dressing

Dressing ready to go!

Beet salad is an awesome lunch, side, or add some grilled chicken for dinner. MMMmMm beets all day!!

Salad

Beet, Pear, Cranberries, & Pecan Spinach Salad

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Spiced Rum Mojitos

 Yum!

My sisters birthday was last weekend, and it has inspired me to make my own mojitos.

We went down to Atlantic City to dance the night away at Boogie Nights and eat like slobs at Cuba Libre. We successfully did both. (You can read my reviews on both places on Yelp) I happen to love 70’s/80’s disco, so I find Boogie Nights in Atlantic City awesome. We danced our socks off, and my brother-in-law was on creeper duty whenever my husband wasn’t nearby.

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Our dinner at Cuba Libre was delicious, but I thought the mojitos were just a bit too sweet for my taste, so when I came home I tried to make my own.  They actually came out pretty good…I was impressed with myself.

Mojitos are pretty basic. For 2 mojitos, all you need is:
Handful of fresh mint (About 20-30 leaves)
1 lime, cut into quarters
2 shots of Rum – or more, if you like 😉
3tsp sugar, divided (depending on how you like your cocktail, you may want more or less sugar)
16oz club soda
Ice

Divide the leaves and sugar into each glass.
Muddle leaves and sugar.
Add rum and the juice of a quarter of lime in each glass.
Muddle again.
Top with club soda and ice

My mojito was made with spiced rum because that’s what I had (and that’s what I like) and fresh mint from my Mama’s garden.  I used a wooden spoon to muddle the mint, lime, and sugar. I added the shot of rum to each glass, muddled a bit more, and then added the club soda. A few weeks ago, I had some berries that were about so go bad, so I froze them with mint leaves in an ice cube tray. I used those to ice the mojitos, and topped each off with another quarter of lime.

I still thought the mojito was still just a touch too sweet (probably because I used spiced rum), but the nice thing about making this from home is that I get to try and try and try again, until it’s just how I like it ;).

Happy July 4th Weekend!

Happy Independence Day, and happy long weekend to some of us. This is one of our favorite holidays. We get to spend time with our friends and family and enjoy the weather with no pressure of having to buy gifts and no one judging you for slipping into hot-dog induced comas.

One of the dishes I made for the day was pulled pork. The recipe is super easy, and thanks to my Aunt Barbara. All you need to do is put some pork shoulder in the crock pot (fat side up) and cover with root beer. Cook on low overnight (8 hours). Pour out the rootbeer and shred the pork with a fork. This part is basically effortless at this point. After you’ve shredded, add in a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Tada! Perfect pulled pork.

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It’s O.K. to let the dog have a small piece before you add the sauce. Don’t judge me, with eyes like that, who can say no?

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For the 4th, we celebrated at my sister Maria’s house. I thought it was “just us” and a few friends, but I always forget how many people that actually turns out to be. At one point we counted 90 people. Holy crap. That’s a lot of people, and that’s a lot of food. I think the grill was on for 6 hours straight, then we gave it a break for about an hour and turned it back on. We stopped cooking around 10pm. It was wonderful.

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I also brought some festive, Red White & Blue sangrias. Most people don’t know that the great state on New Jersey isn’t all manufacturing and  actually beautiful, and yes, there are farms and wineries here!  Blueberries and cranberries are two major fruit crops in New Jersey, and Valenzano winery uses them to make some tasty wines.

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Base Sangria:
1 cup juice
1/2 cup rum or brandy
1 bottle wine

Fruit:
1 pear
2 oranges
1 nectarine
1 apple
lemon
lime
frozen berries and grapes

In the “Red” sangria I used Cranberry wine, cran-grape juice, and Captain Morgan rum. The “White” sangria was made with white wine, white grape juice, and Cruzan Mango rum, and the “Blue” sangria was made with blueberry juice, blueberry wine, and blackberry brandy.

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Make the Sangria at least two hours ahead of time and chill. Use the frozen berries and grapes instead of ice.  Be careful; this stuff creeps up on you!

Today’s the last day of the long weekend, and we’re celebrating at Mom’s pool. Oh how I love the summer!

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Texas Craft House

blood, sweat, and glitter y'all