So You’ve Bought a Whole Watermelon…

Now what are you going to do?! If you’re in a small household like me, you quickly realize that a whole watermelon gives you A LOT of fruit. How could you resist though? If you love summer and low prices as much as I do, you’re going to say What the hell! and figure it out on the way. 😉

 My first step was chopping up as much of it as I could want for future snacking. You could also throw it into a salad! Add some feta and arugula and you’ll have yourself a nice summer meal.  Once you’ve gotten through about 1/3 of it, chop up the rest and blend it for juice!

To get that sweet sweet juice, blend watermelon chunks (I used my Nutribullet, you could use a food processor as well), then transfer to a mesh strainer over a bowl. Press the pulp with a spatula to get as much of the juice as you can!  With the juice you can make…

Making gummies is simple when you have the right equipment. I will say that these don’t have the chewiness I want in a gummy but they still taste good; they’re more like little jello bites.

Add 1 cup of watermelon juice to a small pot and sprinkle 3 packets (3 T.) of unflavored gelatin over. Allow the juice to solidify for a few minutes until gelatin is no longer visible. Heat pot over low heat to melt the solid juice and take off heat when it is a smooth liquid. Whisk in 2 T. honey.  Add a 1/4 c. of lemon juice for sour gummies. Skim off the foam from the top.

Now this is the trickiest part. You will need a silicone mold (I used this one), a trustworthy baster/pipette (depending on the size of your mold) and a cutting board. Place the silicone mold on the cutting board for easy transport. Fill your baster/pipette with liquid and drop into silicone mold until it’s slightly overflowed but holds together because of surface tension.

 Try to avoid air bubbles if possible, they add a weird mouth feel to the gummy. When your mold is filled up, put it in the fridge to cool and solidify for 30 minutes. If you have leftover mixture, simply pop out your molds when they are done and reheat the mixture until it is smooth again. I found whisking softly really helped to smooth it out. I did this 4 times to get as many gummies as I did!

This alchie knows that fruit juice + mixer + liquor is an easy way of making a delicious drink! I added vodka and ginger ale, but tonic water could also work. Or take out the alcohol and make watermelon lemonade! 


Please forgive my phallic shaped popsicles, they are actually crayon shaped but when it’s pink and shaped like that…I’ll just have to keep it in mind if I’m licking it at my family’s next get together. Still, it’s watermelon juice! And it’s frozen! Maybe use it as a stirrer for your watermelon lemonade. Keep it cold and watermelonlicious.

As you can probably guess I am now sick of watermelon but my taste for it will return! I would suggest not eating and drinking all these things in one day…like I did. 



Spring Salad

 It’s the first day of Spring! Unfortunately it didn’t look like this at all today, but that didn’t stop me from celebrating. I had an overload of leftover produce and what better than to throw it all into a salad! 

This whole weekend has been yucky, cold & gray. I had plans that ended up getting rained out, so today was spent lazying around, watching movies on Netflix and eating fast food. If you have Netflix, I would recommend watching The One I Love (very weird & interesting movie!), and if you’re going to gorge on cheeseburgers & milkshakes for lunch, I recommend having this salad for dinner! 😉

Spring Salad Pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
Half a red pepper
4 green onions
Half a cucumber
2 slices bacon
2 hard boiled eggs
Chopped nuts (pecans & peanuts)
Baby Spring salad mix

Honey Vinaigrette Dressing

Please keep in mind that this salad can be endlessly personalized. The red pepper, green onions, broccoli and bacon were leftovers in my fridge. It all came together quite nicely.  I boiled the eggs in the morning so they could chill before dinner. Cook up the bacon until crispy, slice up your veggies, and whisk together the delicious dressing I got from Martha Stewart. I like to pile up the plates with lettuce, then sprinkle the different ingredients over.  It saves a bowl and makes for a pretty presentation. Spoon over dressing just before serving.
It might not look like Spring yet out there, but that doesn’t mean Spring can’t be found in the kitchen! 


This is THE Fall Salad

  It’s got glazed pecans. Apple chips. Garlic balsamic vinaigrette. Gorgonzola cheese. Red onion. Oh my, it’s amazing. And you are going to make it all!
I was searching online for Fall salads and this one boasted to be the copycat recipe for the Panera Fuji Apple Salad. OMG yes, am I right?? I was on board. This is the recipe for the salad and dressing. But what about the apple chips? The glazed pecans? Are we home cooks or are we HOME COOKS??   
 I have already posted a lovely recipe for apple chips previously in this blog, and you can view it here. Word of warning: don’t add the sugar and cinnamon like I did! It adds too much sweetness to the salad.  
Finally, what about those glazed pecans? They are easy, and they are fabulous! Here’s the recipe:

Glazed Pecans

2 T. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp butter
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup pecan halves

Add all ingredients except pecans to skillet and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Add pecans and stir until well coated, 5-7 minutes. Spread pecans in a single layer onto parchment paper and let cool.

As for the sheer volume of tasks for this salad, spread it out! It’s what we do at the bakery I work at. Make the apple chips on Monday, the glazed pecans on Tuesday, and cook the chicken and serve the salad Wednesday. And your loved ones will be AH-MAZED!!


Easy Recipe of the Week: Fish Tacos!

Fish tacos. Are. AWESOME! The flakiness of the fish combined with creamy avocado, crunchy cabbage and the irresistible sourness of fresh lime juice is one of my favorite things. And when my husband and I planned on spending the day at Kings Dominion, I knew I needed a simple dinner that was as delicious as it was easy.

Fish Tacos 
Serves 2

2-3 white fish filets
2 limes
2 avocados
1 small head red cabbage
Various seasonings
Corn tortillas

Here’s how I did it: the day before, chop up half a head of red cabbage (green would work too but it’s not as fun!). Mix mayonnaise (enough to reach a dressing consistency) and juice of one lime in a bowl before adding cabbage. Cover and store in fridge.

When you’re ready for dinner, rinse your fish filets (tilapia, catfish, even frozen & thawed–any white fish will do), and season them with a bunch of seasonings! I added garlic powder, red pepper, cumin, ginger, oregano, salt and pepper, basically whatever I have on my spice rack.
Heat pan on medium high heat, add olive oil and/or butter and sauté fish for 3 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, wrap corn tortillas (I do 3 per person, 6 total) together in tinfoil and place in oven. Preheat oven to 300 degrees to warm them up. Grab 2 avocados, cut them open and scoop them out. Slice each one into thin pieces and place on a plate; squeeze with half a lime.

And that’s your dinner! Cut the last half a lime into 2 wedges and put one on each plate. Perfect for hungry and sore roller coaster riders! 🙂

  Nick and I at Kings Dominion 💏

Summer Sweetness

IMG_4341 IMG_4342

Its Summer!!!!  Which I realized the other day means I can wear minimal clothing and still be comfortable in air conditioning (because I certainly wasn’t missing the humidity).  But it also means that fruit is ripe and plentiful!  I have already been enjoying loading up my meals with vegetables but fruit was always more of a snack for me, besides the occasional breakfast banana. Its a slow process to work it into dinners, but I’m getting there.  Sure, two of them were breakfasts but breakfast for dinner is a perfectly acceptable way to combine dessert and dinner. 😀

French Toast with Blueberries and Peaches


French toast for dinner is fun, and easy. Its a great way to get rid of bread that you don’t want to eat in a sandwich.  Crusty bread is the best bread for french toast, but this particular dinner was just regular ole Nature’s Own Honey Wheat.  The easiest, least stressful way to make french toast is to do it in batches, and as they finish, you throw them onto a foil-wrapped tray in a 200 degree oven.  They stay warm until mealtime while you take your sweet time.  And once they’re finished, why not throw a little butter on the pan and toss peach slices and blueberries over medium heat until they get nice and soft. Sprinkle with cinnamon and then serve on top of french toast. Its so much more dynamic than just eggy bread.

Pork Chops with Rice and Pineapple Mint


I have a perfect pork chop recipe, but its not quite an exact science as my perfect chicken recipe.  For 1″ – 1 1/4″ thick, cook 5-6 minutes on each side. For thinner pork chops, cook 4 minutes on each side, medium high heat for both. Sometimes they come out browner than other times (I think my gas stove runs hot), but the greater the sear, the juicier the meat!  The mint was from my growing container garden, and as you can see I couldn’t resist buying a whole pineapple to cut up. Saute the pork chops using the loose recipe above, and when its time for them to rest, throw the pineapple and mint in the pan to get them nice and soft.

Blueberry and Strawberry Pancakes


Patriotic pancake batter!  This one is real easy.  Use your favorite pancake batter (I’m partial to Martha Stewart’s recipe), and when it’s ready, dice up a bunch of strawberries as small as the blueberries and toss them all in.  I ended up saving some of the fruit on my cutting board to throw it onto the pancake batter rounds, since heavy fruit can sometimes sink to the bottom of the thin batter.  Do the same thing with the pan in the oven as the french toast and it gets even simpler.


Fruit is fun and delicious, and it provides your body with the good kind of sugar.  Always balance it with other healthy items of course — balance is the key to life!



Eat Yo Greens

Disclaimer: I am not a healthy eater. I like fresh, real foods, but I don’t try to skimp on the stuff that tastes good–fat, sugar, salt…however, I am getting married in less than 3 weeks. And what better time to try and curb your habits a bit, right?

I like salads. Salads always taste so good in restaurants, but their complexities always boggled my mind a little to make at home. Salads need balance; a crunchy element, a sweet element; what dressings complimented what ingredients?? And so on.  When I wanted to make a salad, I’d break out my classic Caesar, with romaine hearts, torn bread croutons and homemade dressing complete with anchovies and egg yolk. (Pictured above)

But then my lovely husband to be requested a salad every week. Who wants to eat the same salad week to week? The only thing worth eating every week is pizza! ;).

So I went all out with the next one. It’s Cobb, baby! Hard boiled eggs, bacon, homemade croutons–along with broccoli, tomatoes and green onion. Topped with ranch because it’s always in our house (good for dipping pizza crusts–I told you I wasn’t healthy!).

Next go around was a simpler salad, made up of various pantry items. Mushrooms, some leftover broccoli, feta cheese, tomato, and sunflower seeds. I tossed it with my own made up recipe of oil and (apple cider) vinegar because I’m sort of trying to avoid dairy. Sort of…

Tonight was another fancy salad! I candied some pecans in sugar and added them to this sweet salad of pears, avocado and blue cheese. Topped it off with a mustard vinaigrette.

Behold, the most summery salad of all salads! I got some of those delicious little creamer potatoes and boiled them for a few minutes, blanched them in cold water, then quartered them. Grilled corn in the husk then slipped them out and cut the corn right off the cob. Add cherry tomatoes, red onion and lettuce grown from your garden and toss with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

 This is my Summer-fading-into-Fall salad. Make it easy on yourself and dice up the meat from a rotisserie chicken. Add it to one diced green apple and half a cup of oven-toasted pecans, and toss together with red leaf romaine and a mustard-orange vinaigrette.

It’s fun finding new and interesting ways to eat lettuce! I hope this post inspired you to try your hand at making a delicious salad.





Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

20141111-164734.jpgAs I found while preparing to make macarons for my mom last Christmas, the Internet is filled with FAQs and guides on making macarons. To many it is not an easy task, and I found this out the hard way as I practiced the recipe for her present. Time and time again, they didn’t look right. The ones I ended up giving her still didn’t look right:
20141111-165156.jpgIt was enough to make me reconsider my chosen career! This year, with half a bag of almond flour still in my fridge, I decided to try again using a different recipe. It made all the difference! I’m proud to say I didn’t give up, and now feel like I’ve mastered macarons. It just goes to show you,
never give up, never surrender!!


Edit: I’ve made them since with mixed results, so I finally decided to get Mad About Macarons and made these pictured below! Haha, MASTERED. 👍


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