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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Weight Watchers BLT Pasta Salad

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Sometimes its the little things in life that mean the most, like picnics in the park with your best friends. Today was such a beautiful day. It was warm and sunny, and besides my zebra-like sunburn that I came home with, things were just as perfect as these pictures.

My friends and I relaxed, talked, went for a beautiful walk in the park, and enjoyed this yummy (and healthy!!) pasta salad. We set up our picnic right next to the water, and had the most beautiful view.
The park also has great walking paths, and the scenery is just GORGEOUS. I'm so blessed to live five minutes away from this place. It's a great place to just come by yourself and clear your mind, or enjoy it with friends like I did today.
Now back to what you probably came here for...THE FOOD. For lunch, I made us ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit salad, and this pasta salad. I didn't want to make anything heavy so this weight watchers pasta salad was just PERFECT. It was super yummy, and if I didn't make it myself, I would have NEVER known it to be "diet" food. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of pasta, cooked
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 cup lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup scallion onions
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
Recipe:
  1. In a small bowl, mix sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise mixture with the pasta and tomatoes. 
  3. When ready to serve, mix in the lettuce, and place a scoop of the pasta salad on the plate. Sprinkle with bacon and scallion onions. 
Note: You may want to double check these weight watcher points yourself. I did slightly alter the recipe (aka I added more bacon!), which I'm sure altered the points.
  • Weight Watchers Points: 3 points per ½ cup
  • SmartPoints: 4

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Game Day Cuban Sliders

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If you are unfamiliar with cuban sandwiches, you are missing out. Normally, a cuban has ham or shredded pork, cheese, mustard and pickles. Then, it is pressed on a panini grill. So yes, this recipe isn't authentic by any means, but it is super fun and delicious. It is SO easy and fast to put together and is great finger food so it is perfect for a potluck or on game day. We ended up having it for dinner with a side, which was also great. No matter when you make it, I'm sure everyone will love it. I'm definitely going to be saving this for game day. I get so excited for football season for the sole reason of getting to make yummy and fun dishes like this, and I already have SO many recipes saved. I can't wait!!

Ingredients:
  • 8 small hamburger buns
  • 1 package of ham
  • 1 package of sliced swiss cheese
  • dill pickles
  • half of a white onion, chopped in small pieces
  • dijon mustard
  • 1 stick of butter
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Grease two baking dishes (or one depending on how big your baking dishes are)
  • Place the bottom buns in the baking dish.
  • Layer two slices of ham, one slice of swiss, and a few pickles on top of the bottom buns, then place the top of the rolls on top. 
  • Whisk together melted butter, dijon mustard, and onion.
  • Pour butter mixture on top of sandwiches.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

SERIOUSLY the BEST Mac and Cheese in the WORLD

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I love mac and cheese more than anything and for YEARS I've been trying to find the perfect mac and cheese recipe. I like my mac and cheese creamy and cheesy (but who doesn't?!), and I will NOT settle by using velveeta. As I may have mentioned before, I hate the stuff. In order to find the perfect recipe, I am constantly trying different techniques, but nothing seems to do the trick. Usually, the mac and cheese turns out to not be creamy enough, or taste cheesy enough. Fear not though!! After continuous trial and error, I have FINALLY found the million dollar winner. THIS recipe is BY FAR the BEST mac and cheese I have ever had. As you can see, it is ridiculously rich and creamy, and it is SO flavorful. If you want to treat yourself, or impress someone special, make this recipe. If you follow the recipe perfectly, I can GUARANTEE you will love it!! This is the only mac and cheese recipe you will ever need.
Just a side note, this is a stove top recipe. If you like baked macaroni and cheese, follow these directions after making the mac and cheese: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; 2. Spray a baking dish with Pam; 3. Pour the mac and cheese in the baking dish; 4. Mix panko bread crumbs with melted butter or olive oil; 5. Top the mac and cheese with shredded cheddar; 6. Sprinkle the panko on top; and 5. Bake the mac and cheese for 25-35 minutes, or until the mac and cheese is golden brown.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound cellentani pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
 Recipe:
  • Cook pasta according to package directions
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and whisk in flour. Whisk for 2 minutes then turn heat to low. Whisk in milk. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk.
  • Add the evaporated milk to skillet.
  • Add the Dijon mustard and all remaining seasonings to the skillet.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened (continue to whisk). 
  • Whisk in sharp cheese until melted. 
  • Add pasta and toss until evenly coated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Crockpot Irish Beef Stew

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The best thing about living around the corner from friends is getting free dinner. Okay, there are other benefits to living close to each other too...but really...that food though. My friends Ericka and Cornelius are THAT couple who you always want to hang out with because they are thoughtful, outgoing, positive people, and overall a fun time to be around. Not to mention, they love food as much as I do and feed me, so thats always a win win. (As you can see, I'm TOTALLY trying to butter them up so they make me more food lol. No, but really, love you guys.) Yesterday, Cornelius made this amazing Irish Beef Stew and I just had to share it on the blog. Gotta love a man that cooks. This was such a comfort food meal. I can't wait to save it for those cold fall and winter nights. Cornelius made it with irish soda bread, and it was the perfect pair. Can't wait to see whats for dinner tomorrow guys!! lol just kidding....but not really.
Ingredients:

  • 2 lb chuck round, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, halved
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 medium white potatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • rosemary, thyme, parsley (equal parts chopped to 1 tbsp)
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Recipe:

  • Mix flour with salt and pepper and coat beef.
  • In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown beef on all sides. 
  • Place beef in in slow cooker. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Our Airbnb Vacation and Great Summer Cookout Recipes

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The week after vacation is always a tough one. We had been looking forward to our vacation for months, and it passed by so fast. Thankfully, I have a couple other weekend trips coming up which helps to get over the post-vacation blues!

Last week was a special vacation for us because we were celebrating my boyfriend's 30th birthday (which happened to be on the first day of the bar). We were also celebrating the end of the bar and the beginning of our summer. And yes, I said OUR summer because studying for the bar was almost (notice that I said almost....lol) as bad for him as it as it was for me. Lets just say I was a little cranky and preoccupied for the past few months.

We decided to book a beach house through Airbnb. We wanted to have a relaxing trip, and stay close to our friends so they could join us as well.
I am so happy with our decision. Our Airbnb turned out better than expected. We rented the cutest house with a huge backyard. It was great for entertaining. We were also close to the most beautiful beach!
If you haven't tried Airbnb yet, I would highly recommend it! It definitely feels like a home away from home.

The backyard of our Airbnb was our favorite part of the house. It was the perfect place to hang out and enjoy a glass of wine. 
Our first night there, we enjoyed a cheese platter made by moi. I jokingly sent a picture of our cheese platter to my friend Amanda who makes the most BEAUTIFUL picture perfect cheese platters like this....

As you can see, I could use a lesson or two from Amanda. I tried to make pub cheese look just as elegant as Amanda's spread but for some reason it didn't have the same effect lol.

We were also able to enjoy a delicious backyard dinner with our friends.
I contributed a delicious salad and quiche!! They were great summer cookout recipes.

Summer Salad
Recipe:
  • The summer salad was as basic and simple as it looks. I cut up cucumber, tomato, and red onion in big chunks. Then, I drizzled it with a store bought olive oil vinaigrette (which you could totally make yourself!). Finally, I added salt and pepper and gave it a toss!! You can also use fresh herbs, like my favorite, dill.

The quiche was my favorite part of the meal. Since we were away from home and I wanted to make things simple, I used a disposable pie tin and pre-made crust. It tasted delicious so don't judge!!

Bacon and Cheese Quiche
Ingredients:
  • Pre-made pie crust (You can usually find pie crust with all the Pillsbury products, like their crescent and cinnamon rolls. It comes in a box and you simple roll the flattened dough over the pie tin) 
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • goat cheese
  • bacon
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place pie crust in the pie tin, cutting off any excess dough leaning off the side. You can then pinch the edges of the dough to make a decorative edge. I'm not going to lie, I youtubed how to do this part lol. 
  • Cook the bacon on the stove top. (I didn't measure out exactly how much bacon I used. This is all based on preference)
  • Once bacon is crispy, place it on a paper towel, leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
  • Add the onions to the bacon drippings and caramelize. 
  • Once the onions are caramelized, add the onions, crumbled bacon, and cheddar cheese to the bottom of the pie tin. 
  • Whisk together eggs and half and half.
  • Pour egg mixture into pie tin.
  • Add crumbled goat cheese on top of eggs. 
  • Bake for about 40 minutes.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why I've been MIA...

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Hi again! I know, its been forever, and for good reason!! There have been a lot of changes in my life lately. I finally finished law school, hopefully my last degree. Right after graduating, I started studying for the bar. I knew studying was going to be difficult, but I had NO idea how grueling and exhausting it was going to be. July was probably the most stressful period of my life. I was so stressed and anxious, that I was studying over 15 hours a day, I was barely sleeping, and overall just living a very imbalanced life. Now that studying is over and done with, I have to wait for the results to see if I passed. It's such a tease because I don't find out until November! Regardless of whether I pass or not, I'm probably going to be taking a third bar in February, so I'm in no way done with this journey yet!! Even though taking the bar again is the LAST thing I want to do, I've realized that it has to happen in order for me to achieve what I want in life.
So until I start studying again...I'm going to have a lot more down time in the next couple months to focus on things that make me happy. Like this blog!! I already have some great ideas like a possible redesign and a change in content. I've changed a lot since I started this blog 5-6 years ago, and I think its time for a revamp so that this blog reflects who I am today.

I know that in the past year my blog posts have become few and far between, and that is going to change too!! HELLO daily blog posts!

Also, if you like following me on a daily basis, don't forget to follow me on social media. I've always had a Twitter, but I've become much more active with it, and I finally created an instagram just for my food posts. I encourage you to follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @GIRLSGONEFOOD. You'll be able to see posts like this...
As always, thanks for following me along in this journey. I love all my readers and followers, and I'm excited for the changes that are to come.
 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Saint Patrick's Day Desserts

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Well it's that time of year again! Get out your shamrocks and Kiss Me I'm Irish Tshirts because Saint Patrick's Day is here! I didn't have a chance to try any new recipes this year, but I wanted to reshare these two recipes that I posted a couple years ago. They are oldies but goodies!! My friend Sarah and I went through a phase where we absolutely LOVED girls scout cookie shots. They are like a sweet dessert. I think they are absolutely perfect for Saint Patrick's Day because of the festive color. Also, who doesn't love dirt pudding? I love pistachio pudding so this dessert is most definitely a favorite of mine!! If you are looking for some more Saint Patrick's Day desserts check out my Jameson Cake and Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes!

SAINT PATRICKS DAY DIRT PUDDING
Ingredients:
  • Pistachio Pudding
  • Oreos
Recipe:
Make a box of pistachio pudding according to the directions on the box. Take a bunch of oreos (or your favorite cookies) and crush them up. Layer the pudding and crushed cookies, and there you go!! One box of pudding made about 3 martini glasses.
GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SHOT
Ingredients:

  • Kahlua
  • Bailey's
  • Creme de menthe-green
  • Girl Scout Thin Mints (Oreos or Keebler's Grasshoper Cookies are great too!)
  • Chocolate Syrup 
Recipe:
  • Place cookies in a ziploc bag. 
  • Crush cookies using a rolling pin. 
  • Pour crushed cookies onto a plate. 
  • On a separate plate, pour  chocolate syrup. 
  • Dip a shot glass first into chocolate syrup then immediately into crushed cookies. 
  • Pour 1/2 oz of kahlua, bailey's, and creme de menthe into a shaker with ice. Shake until cold. 
  • Strain into prepared shot glass.
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