Cocktails galore! Featuring MIJA by 90+

mostly, I put food recipes up on this site. I absolutely love cooking and baking and, to be honest, the science behind it makes more sense to me than when I’m behind the bar. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE creating new cocktails but I definitely think I’m food, not in drink.

  

  
I’m on my way back from St John and finally getting around to blogging some cocktail recipes I created for MIJA Sangria. (The company behind 90+ cellars is now bringing MIJA to consumers!)

And remember my awesome friend, Caitlin, who I told you all about a few posts ago? Well, she works for 90+ and asked me to create a few cocktails highlighting the Sangria.

  

 

 I plodded into work and started creating! And hey, I’m not proud enough to tell you I failed when trying a few ideas. The above one was a… Failure. Simply not good!

But then I kept chugging along, made one or two more mediocre ones and then hit the jackpot. I made two that I am so incredibly proud of, I just had to tell you about them.

  

This gin drink works AMAZING as a punch bowl. If you have a big group and want to dazzle them with a refreshing, light but very boozy drink then this is definitely the way to go.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce simply syrup
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce creme Yvette
  • 1 ounce MIJA red sangria
  • 1.5 ounces gin (Plymouth or Beefeater work best)

Note: if building as a punch, multiply the quantities above by how many people you’d like to serve.

Measure ingredients into a cocktail shaker and give it a hard shake for 30-40 seconds. Using a hawthorn strainer, strain into a rocks glass and enjoy!

Note: if building as a punch, put all ingredients into a punch bowl, add ice and stir slowly for several minutes. Serve with ice in punch glasses.

These ingredients work so well together. They compliment each other rather than try to overpower. It’s light and floral with just a touch of sweetness. Since gin is a more neutral liqour but with earthy qualities is plays very nicely with the sangria by highlighting it’s sweetness. Similarly, the gin mixes well with the creme yvette and bring earthy tones and slight juniper out. Adding a pop of citrus (lemon) brightens up this cocktail and adds balance.

Really, think drink is SO delish. It does require a bit more of “expert knowledge” because it contains creme Yvette (not to be confused with creme de violet!) but it’s worth it.

Like bourbon? Tomorrow I’ll share the bourbon recipe I designed to highlight the sangria in a different way. Stay tuned!

  
Tee-hee. Little tease. I sat on a beach for three hours by myself because tourists are so silly and run to the first stretch of white sand they see. Explore for a hot second more and you stumble upon this beauty.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

  
That’s my lone towel!

Posted in Cocktails | Leave a comment

Butternut Squash – Ginger Soup

IMG_9218

Mother nature is starting to get on my nerves. After this disgusting winter we have I was expecting oodles of sunshine and heat. Right, OODLES! I demand OODLES of sunshine! But no. Mother nature has been torturing us with barely 60 degrees, rain, cloudy, overcast and a crappy Red Sox season.  WTF Mother nature. WTF. This is the worst.

IMG_9209

Anyways, stupid mother nature, and I’m still constantly cold. So, I made soup. Hot soup. Soup I cherished for probably a day and a half because it was so cold and I ate it for every single meal.

IMG_9212

And this soup is supppahhh healthy with a bit of a kick. I’ve been on a crazy ginger kick and ask for extra when we order sushi. So I opted to see how it worked in a soup and it was SO DELISH!

IMG_9211

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 quart vegetable stock

Boil butternut squash until uber soft. Strain and return to pot. Add butter and use a hand stick mixer to mash up the butternut squash until smooth. (You can also do this in a large food processor.)

Once the chunks are all broken up, add all other ingredients. Continuing to use the hand stick mixer, puree until… soupy!

Serve with a tad bit of shredded parmesan cheese on top.

IMG_9215

Now everybody pray we get REALLY warm weather. How’s the weather where ya’ll are?

Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Soup | Leave a comment

Veggie Frittata’s

IMG_9203

I am all about a quick and easy morning routine. I like to wake up and go, go, go. And since I have that “sleep till the last minute and then run out the door like a maniac” approach to the mornings, I have tried to simplify the breakfast process as much as I can.

This little recipe is perfect because I prepare the entire thing the night before, pop it in the fridge over night and wake up, bake and eat.

IMG_9200

You can absolutely use any vegetables you have in your fridge at the time, these are just the ones I used.

Ingredients

  •  eggs
  • 3 tbls milk
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tbls Italian seasoning
  • pinch red pepper chili flakes
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 diced Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup diced broccoli
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper

IMG_9198

*Prepare two 5″ casserole dishes by spraying with non-stick spray. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

*Dice up all vegetables and set aside. Scramble the eggs and milk together in a separate, large bowl. Slowly fold vegetables into egg mixture. Add seasonings and cheese while gently folding ingredients together until well combined.

*Using two 5″ prepared casserole dishes, evenly spoon your egg/veggie mixture into the dishes. You can either put the dishes directly into the oven or place them on a baking sheet for ease.

*Bake for 15-20 minutes or eggs are cooked through. Let cool and enjoy!

IMG_9199

I got these awesome dishes from my parents for my birthday a few years ago and love making individual meals for people in them. If you don’t have one you can easily do the same thing with cupcake holders or one big casserole dish.

IMG_9204

Enjoy! Now I’m off to begin my new summer reading and lay outside and soak up the loving sun.

Posted in Breakfast | 1 Comment

Baking Lesson Thursday – mise en place

It’s Thursday and you know what that means. I don’t work till 6pm and have the entire day to putter around my apartment and clean the be-jeezus out of it. I love it. Like, OCD love it. I put on a facemask, a cheesy movie or loud country music and put everything back in it’s proper place.

IMG_6066

It’s a practice that I’m trying to put into place not only just on Thursday’s and not only just in the organization of my apartment. The theory, a kitchen term called mise en place, refers to always having  things in place. It is a french phrase that means having everything that a cook might need during a shift prepped, organized and arranged before a shift.

IMG_6185

Here is one of my baker friends photos before he began to bake brownies. Everything is ready to go. Everything is portioned out. If he was doing two batches then you’d see each one of those bowls twice.

IMG_6065

And this motto kind of flows into my life, or at least, I try to make it that way. It’s important to me to have everything where it belongs. Of course we make a mess but I try to start each day with everything being in order. I try to start my day with everything mise en place.

I want to have all the ingredients I’ll need to make my day successful.

I also apply this mentality to the bar I work at. My station always has my bar tools in the exact same place. The liquor wells are always set up the exact same and my shaker tins are always laid out in the same place. This way, when the bar is super busy I can grab and go. I can build cocktails without having to look much at what I’m doing and spend more time talking to guests to figure out what they want.

Make sense? Just a little tid-bit of information for you. A little insight into chef/bartender lives. Hope you enjoyed it!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

To My Momma

As everyone and their mother knows, yesterday was Mother’s Day. I love my little mama so much, she’s simply the best. One of the strongest women I know and a crazy awesome role model to me for the past 28 years.

For this Mother’s day, my parents had a bbq at their house where we hosted a small handful of family members and per usual, I was in charge of some part of the meal. This year I made stuffed mushrooms and tomato, basil, mozz, cucumber… things.

IMG_9241

I love making the basics and jazzing them up. This time around, the stuffed mushrooms (recipe to come later this week) was simply but with a swath of mozzarella on it. After they were cooked and cooled a little, I drizzled one swipe of balsamic glaze across it.

IMG_9232

I also cut red and orange cherry tomatoes in half and layered them with mozzarella and cucumber. I diced up basil super small and sprinkled it all over. I drizzled just a tid mid of olive oil over the skewers too.

IMG_9221

To make the presentation a little special for the mother, I set them on display in champagne glasses. So cute! And easy! It brought a little but of elegance to our backyard bbq.

IMG_9231

Anyways, back to my mother. She’s amazing. Literally amazing. She’s passionate, driven and simply one of the smartest woman I know. I go to her for everything. From financial questions to love-life questions to interior decorating. And she’s always there for me. Always.

IMG_9240

I don’t think I have enough words to tell you all how much I love my mom. I tried to spoil her as much as possible in the last two days. We did margaritas and guacamole, spa pedicures and then my boyfriend brought her flowers. We love that little woman.

What did you all do this past weekend to celebrate your moms?

Love you mom!

 

 

Posted in Appetizers | Leave a comment

Peanut Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It’s SUMMER. SUMMER TIME. My favorite time! Last weekend we went to to Gloucester for the day to enjoy the an early day at the beach.

IMG_6289

If you don’t know anything about Gloucester, it’s situated on the North Shore and is a huge fishing/boating community. Remember the book The Perfect Storm? That’s it.

IMG_6290

So many ships out of Gloucester were lost at sea and hundreds of thousands of men went down with them. The shoreline has monuments and tributes scattered all over it to remember these sailors. One of my favorite statues is the one pictured above, a mother with her two children looking towards the sea for her husband and his shipmates. I don’t know why it just moves me. In the background, kind of toward the right you’ll see a house and I caught the resident coming out onto the Widows Walk. This little terrace was named after the wives of sailors who used to come out on the terrace and watch the water for their husbands. So many were lost at sea that the terraces were named “widows walk.”

So that’s some of Gloucester. And because of the beautiful weather and I want to be on the beach I’m eating lighter and healthy! YAA!! So boyfriend and I made these awesome ground chicken with peanut sauce, and yummy crunchy stuff. All wrapped up Boston Bibb Lettuce. Nom Nom.

IMG_6213

Ingredients

  • 1 package ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup peanut sauce
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • asian sprouts
  • bag of shredded cabbage
  • 2 tbls olive oil

IMG_6216

Add your olive oil to a large sautee pan. Once hot, add onion. After a minute add the ground chicken. Continue to “mash up” the ground chicken and break it all up. When the chicken is cooked through, gently drain it by either dumping into a bowl lined with paper towels to soak up the grease or by pouring the grease out into the trash. Whatever is easier for you!

Return the pan to the heat and add the peanut sauce. Continue to stir for a minute until the sauce is completely soaked into the chicken. Put in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, gently pull off 10 leaves from the Boston Bibb Lettuce head. Keep them as intact as possible. Wash them VERY delicately (I pat them down with a wet paper towel).

Put your shredded cabbage in one bowl and the Asian sprouts in another one.

IMG_6219

Line ’em up and make some TACOS! If you want an extra kick add some sliced avocado!

IMG_6223

 

Posted in Dinner | Leave a comment

DYI Sushi Lettuce Wraps

Oh hellloooooo sweet summertime. It’s finally mildly warm and even though I’m in long sleeves and pants, I want to be outside all the time.

IMG_6154

So boyfriend and I took a fun little day trip to Newport Rhode Island to walk along the cliff walk, see the mansions and, of course, dine at some fabulous restaurants. It was splendid.

IMG_6177

And after having a seafood filled lunch at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar we were on that healthy seafood kick and bought some sushi-grade tuna on our way home.

IMG_6178

I’m trying soooo hard to eat healthy (aka, not a million carbs/sugars/sodium) and since I was craving sushi, I decided to make my own rice-less version of a tuna roll.

IMG_6161

I’m also on this weird ginger kick. I LOVE eating raw ginger. OHHHH IT’S SO GOOD!! And it’s SO GOOD FOR YOU! (post coming on the health benefits! don’t worry!)

IMG_6167

So I took all the flavors that I LOVE in sushi and blended them together with some tuna, and extra boston bibb lettuce we had kicking around the house.

Ingredients

  • 2 baby sweet peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 avocado, cut into strips.
  • sushi grade tuna, cut into strips
  • Boston Bibb Lettuce, approximately 8 pieces

Mix your ginger, shallot, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice and champagne vinaigrette in a small bowl. Cut your sweet peppers and avocado into strips… aiming for them to be just shorter than your lettuce pieces.

Fill each lettuce piece with a a few strips of peppers, one strip of avocado and one strip of tuna. Drizzle with your vinaigrette and enjoy!

IMG_6179

We only made 8 mini wraps because it was an appetizer (for a shrimp-based dinner!) but this is so easy if you want to make into a meal. Just double everything but the tuna. Unfortunately, you have to (usually) buy a larger piece of tuna. I used just a few slivers to make this app. But fear not my followers! I’ll post a recipe soon showing what you can do with the rest of it.

IMG_6180

Posted in Appetizers | 3 Comments

Blogger Spotlight: Caitlin Croswell

Hey ya’ll! This is a new kind of post for me. In the past few months I’ve made lots of amazing new friends and some of them are really great food, fashion, fitness and lifestyle bloggers. Here is one of my besties… the wonderful Caitlin. We initially met when she sat in front of me at my bar and we bonded over kale salads with poached eggs, whiskey cocktails, and our food obsession. Hope you enjoy reading about her!

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Florida and still call myself a Florida girl! My family moved a bit when I was little, but I mostly spent my childhood playing outside and swimming every single day. My dad’s job moved us to Connecticut when I was 13, and I’ve lived in New England ever since (I even went to college at UConn).

How you’d get to Boston?

I moved to Boston a little over a year ago (in February 2014) for the job I still have now, at 90+ Cellars! I spent more than two years back in Connecticut at a job that wasn’t for me (though I am very grateful for all I learned there). Once I got my MBA I searched hard for a new job, and ended up finding one via the network I’d built through, of all things, blogging.

Where do you work? What do you do now?

90+ Cellars is a wine company that buys excess finished wine from vineyards all over the world. We bottle that wine under our own label and sell it for less than what the vineyards sell it for – and we keep the vineyard a
secret. We’re able to bring customers great wine for less, and vineyards are able to get rid of excess inventory without discounting under their brand name. Win-win!
https://infinateappetite.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/9d6ad-10914340_711926448930597_1140690059_n.jpg?w=634&h=634
I do all things marketing for 90+ Cellars, with a focus on digital (social media, our online store, etc). I also plan and execute a ton of fun events, so you’ll find me around Boston pouring wine at soirees like Wine Riot and the Boston Wine Expo.

Tell us about your awesome blog!

Why did you start it? What does it mean to you now?

I wanted to start my blog soon after I graduated from college because I was working a job that didn’t align with my interests in restaurants, cool cocktail, fitness, and nutrition (yes, those things can go together). I needed an
outlet for those interests – a place to talk about them! I also was going through recovery from an eating disorder, and the blogging community was very supportive. My blog eventually turned into a place where I could share roadblocks in my recovery and how I was overcoming them. I didn’t intend it to go in that direction, but it did! So now it means so much more to me than just recipes, workouts, and restaurants.

Weekly workout schedule?

I’m definitely NOT a morning workout person so unless I have somewhere to be right after work, I go to the gym when I get out. I go to the Boston Sports Club and lately have been into yoga sculpt at Core Power Yoga as well. I try to get a workout in six days a week, even if it’s just 20 minutes. But I LOVE that rest day each week! I try to switch up my workouts but I don’t plan specifically what I’m going to do each day – I just go with what I’m feeling, be it spin, the stair master, weight lifting, or yoga sculpt.

Biggest athletic achievement / are you working towards anything now?

Definitely running my first half marathon last fall! I would like to train for another half, but I’m not a big fan of running when I’m not training, so I’m not currently running.

https://infinateappetite.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/3d12e-1660259_620577414726498_1189318616_n.jpg?w=634&h=634

Favorite cocktail / bar / restaurant / snack food at a restaurant & why?

I cannot choose one favorite restaurant in Boston so I’m glad this question has some variety to it! Some of my favorite cocktails in Boston are the Ideal Manhattan at Citzen, the Prospect Park at Eastern Standard, and the Maker’s Markham at Regal Beagle. I also am in love with the fried pickles at Citizen, Regal Beagle’s seafood entrees, and Eastern Standard’s calamari. I could always go for a big old biscuit from Island Creek Oyster Bar.

And I really loved City Landing down by the Aquarium – so bummed that closed!
http://caitplusate.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IMG_8872-768x1024.jpg

Go-to outfit?

Over the winter in Boston it was ALWAYS snowing so outfits that worked with boots were a must. I became obsessed with wearing my Target leather boots with black tights and a button-down tucked into a black skirt.

Throw a statement necklace on there and you’ve got a solid going-out outfit that’s city winter friendly!

https://infinateappetite.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/c8700-10755986_569791686455135_1532568183_n.jpg?w=634&h=634

 

https://infinateappetite.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/0fb73-11005147_523335827806653_1992228727_n.jpg?w=640

 

Quick, easy go-to recipe?

My favorite recipes are easy and come together by either throwing things on a pan into the oven, or mixing ingredients on a big pot on the stovetop. I like to make a bunch of food at once to have on hand all week for healthy meals. So I love chilis, roasted veggies, and casseroles. I follow recipes more often than create them, but here are some of my favorite recipes that I’ve modified or created:

Meatball Bake:

Bacon, Egg, and Brussels Bowl:

 

Pop over to her blog, CaitPlusAte, for lots more info, recipes, make up help, fashion advice and more!

Posted in Blogger Interviews! | Tagged | 1 Comment

Egg Stuffed Pepper

IMG_9001

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means? DAY OFF! I work Saturday through Tuesday normally and Wednesday is my first day off and generally the day I get about 90% of the things on my to-do list done.

IMG_9008

I plan to-do lists for 4 days, basically, and get incredibly excited to accomplish them all in the first 5 waking minutes of every Wednesday. Seriously, I get about 90%ish of the things done, get tired, take a nap and then relax for 2 days.

IMG_9011

And this Wednesday morning was pretty normal. Except I woke up SUPER early for a gyno appointment and after only accomplishing 30% of my to-do list, I took a nap.

IMG_9012

But yes, normal Wednesday morning. I ate eggs. Eggs, eggs and more eggs. I eat eggs almost every morning and I’ve been getting soooooo bored with the normal scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with different cheeses, omelets, omelets with different cheeses, omelets with different veggies. woof. I’m sick of eggs just writing this.

And then I found some random lifehack on buzzfeed and saw this breakfast egg/pepper thing. nom nom nom

IMG_9005

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 peppers of any color
  • however many eggs you want to eat

This recipe is awesomely easy. You can use whichever color peppers you like, although I like red/yellow/orange the best because their sweeter and have better nutrients (brighter colors = better nutrients!)

Cut the tops off, and then cut however many slices as you’d like. 1 slice = 1 egg. I did 2 per person. Cut the veins and other junk out of the insides so they’re clean and an egg can cleanly break inside.

Using a non-stick pan on medium-high heat, lightly spray and place pepper rings in the pan. Let cook for about 2 minutes (until one side of the pepper is cooked). Turn the pepper slices over, crack egg (or egg white!) into the center of each egg and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid. Putting a lid on the pan will help the top part of the egg cook- the part not directly touching the pan. You with me? Yeah, you you’re with me.

Let cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg yolk is cooked as much as you’d like. I prefer mine on the runny side so I let it cook for 5 minutes. If you prefer the yolk to be solid, let cook for approximately 7-8 minutes.

Sprinkle with the TINIEST BIT of salt, pepper. EAT. ENJOY!

IMG_9007

 

Posted in Breakfast | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Baking Lesson Thursday – Know Your Oven 

I have a ton of friends who excitedly text me pictures of their latest kitchen accomplishments. My dad is also an offender here. And in turn, I looooooove getting the pictures people send me about what they’re cooking or baking!

But what has been happening a lot recently is I get one AMAZING picture of a muffin or cupcake, broken just enough to see the moist steam spilling out and then another picture of a burnt, hardened one. “WTF happened” is generally the text I get after.

Well my friends, you need to do an oven test.

IMG_5906

This is how my oven cooks. NOT EVENLY. Not evenly one little bit. See the bottom right corner is dark and toasty and the top left doesn’t even look like it was in the oven at all? Yeah, THAT’S why you get one weird, burnt muffin, 10 glorious ones, and one raw muffin. Blahhhh.

So know your oven. These almonds hung out in my oven at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes (my nose could tell that they were done).

breadtest

The above picture is from Cooking Light and is a similar example to my almonds. As I’ve become more and more of a baker in the recent years, I’ve done more and more research on how to make the best possible things. And my research always has included this oven bread test.

I just could never bring myself to waste 9 pieces of bread on testing! I KNOW! I’m CHEAP! I’m my fathers daughter (love you dad).

So the other day when I was toasting almonds for my salads I realized I had inadvertently created my own oven test. SUCCESS IS MINE! So if you don’t want to waste a TONNNN of bread figuring out if your oven bakes evenly or not… toast something you actually need!

almondtest

Here is a more detailed picture of how wildly different my oven bakes. YIKES BIKES!!! So please, test your oven. NO MORE THROW AWAY MUFFINS! GIVE ME ALL THE MUFFINS!!

 

Posted in Baking Lesson Thursday's, Uncategorized | Leave a comment