Green Yummy Dressing

Ok, so I have no idea what to call this dressing.  It’s a little bit of “this” and a little bit of “that”…. and it’s uber easy to make (provided you have a Bullet blender).

I took inspiration from several other avocado cilantro and cilantro lime dressings I had pinned in Pinterest, and put my own spin on it.  Actually… I used what was handy in the fridge.  And then adjusted to taste.  So, Green Yummy Dressing it is.  For a marketer, you’d think I’d come up with a name that was more eloquent or catchy or “snazzy”, but I like to just call it like it is and keep it simple.  Until of course, I make some other green dressing that turns out to be yummy, and then I will really have to put my thinking cap on.  LOL!

I know I need a picture of the dressing… I’ll get to that eventually. For now, here’s the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup EVOO
  • 1/3 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 small Avocado (remove the skin and pit)
  • 1 small bunch of Cilantro
  • 1/2 small Jalapeno (seeds removed)
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice
  • 1/3 cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • Sea Salt, add as needed to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Put it all in a Bullet blender (or whatever blender) and pulse until smooth.  Adjust to taste preference.

I happen to love the flavor and texture as it is.  It’s thick but not too thick like a dip.  And it’s not overly avocado-y or too garlic-y or anything.  I think I found a pretty good balance. And for those that think it might taste like pineapple, it doesn’t unless you have super taste buds that can make it out. I added the pineapple juice because I felt like it needed a bit of liquid and sweet/tart profile, and the pineapple juice did just the trick.

Feel free to adjust all of these ingredients based on your preferences… if you like more garlic, go for it and add more garlic. If you prefer less, use only 1 teaspoon and work up from there. If you want it to be “earthier”, add more cilantro and jalapeno.  If you want it to have more kick, keep the jalapeno seeds or even add in some red chili flakes.

What I love about making my own dressing is that I can experiment with flavors and textures and viscosity.  And it doesn’t waste all that much ingredients-wise and doesn’t take long at all.

 

#easy #avocadodressing #homemadedressing #saladdressing #cilantro #applecidervinegar #nosugar #nodairy #yummy #icantbelievethereisntboozeinthis

 

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The Giving Season

We all know that Christmas, “The Holidays”, as we now refer to them is for Giving.  (Yea… whatever… I call it Christmas, you call it whatever you want.)

As the saying goes… “It’s better to give than to receive.” The act of giving allows you to receive the joy, love, gratitude, excitement, etc. from the person you are giving to.  But Giving doesn’t have to be material/physical in nature. (Unless you want to give me a bottle of wine or a million dollars, I’m not going to dissuade you.  LOL!)

Sure, you can give someone a gift that is heartfelt, homemade, a memento of past experiences, a symbol of your love… yada yada.

The Evil Retailers  …. have turned the Giving Season into an over-crazed spending holiday to get people to buy more and more crap we don’t really need to begin with.  They’ve managed to convince everyone that it’s better to spend a gazillion dollars on “stuff” rather than to spend time with one another.  In some cases, the only reason we get together is so we can exchange the “stuff-that-we-don’t-need-or-want”.

So… stop giving “stuff” and start giving your time, your efforts, your friendship, your camaraderie, your love through other means.  AKA… Spend time with friends and family.

Go to lunch, go window shopping, get everyone together to cruise holiday decorations, happy hour…. Share a cup of coffee, cocoa, tea, (or in my case a glass of wine)…. Take an exercise class together, help each other wrap presents, bake cookies… Whatever… The point is…. Do something fun that will create a memory…. GIVE a little bit of yourself.

Giving your time is something that is much more meaningful and in my opinion much more valuable.  Everyone is rushing around to shop for presents when what we really should be doing is spending time with one another.  Ditch the gifts (unless they are white elephant … because seriously I love how creative some people get), and let’s just hang out and do something together.  The pictures and selfies we take will for sure be memorialized forever on social media, and probably pop back up from time to time.  It’s the gift that keeps giving especially if they are silly.  🙂

I consider myself lucky in that the people in my life like to “do stuff”…. like go to a concert, a movie or my favorite… do an exercise class and then go drinking afterwards. #WeWorkoutToDrink

Ok…. enough ranting…. I’d like to Thank my family and friends who take time out of their days to give their time to me.  You know who you are… Seriously if I have to call you out, you aren’t paying attention.  And if you want me to come over and help you bake while drinking wine or wrap presents while drinking wine (you see a trend, right?), Call Me!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Are You Prepared?

For anything life might throw at you?  Are you nimble and can go with the flow and make common-sense, logical decisions quickly?  Are you more the “I need to think about it, make lists and work a plan”?  (I’m the latter.)

Whatever you are… There’s no better time than NOW to start getting prepared.

Apparently, September is National Preparedness Month.  (I found this site which may have some useful info: http://www.ready.gov/september?utm_source=Academy+of+Defensive+And+Protective+Training&utm_campaign=9f05338e9e-Monthly_Newsletter_June_2014_6_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f08c451ec9-9f05338e9e-67563541)

Who Knew?!  I totally stumbled upon it and luckily so… because according to the calendar September is almost over.  So, I better hop to it. (I bet no one will chastise me for taking a few more weeks or months to get myself and family “prepared”.  Heck… it might take longer, but as long as I’m thinking about the What Ifs and the Options, then I’m probably doing pretty good.)

So.. prepared for what?

  • The Zombie Apocalypse? Ha! Ha!  As far as I’m concerned, this is already upon us and we’re having to deal with crazy people every day in our lives in one way or another.  Now, if you’re looking to outfit yourself with a “zombie kit” or “bug out bag”… just do a quick online search and you’ll have dozen of sites pop up with all sorts of lists of what you should have ready.
  • A natural disaster like a flood or earthquake or tornado or hurricane?  Yea… absolutely.  Stock up the pantry with water and canned goods and have manual tools at the ready…and have some basic first aid handy.  Heck, get a book on first aid. Visit your local camping store like a Big 5 or Bass Pro to buy just a few portable, camping things that will serve you well should your electricity, plumbing, etc… get turned off for a few days. (Now… don’t get crazy and buy the store out.)
  • The next step in your life?  A move?  A job change?  A lay-off that you know is coming up?  Again… yea… there’s some preparation needed for that.  Mentally and physically… there’s a transition so be prepared to make that change.  Change can be fun and scary at the same time.  Prep yourself for it.  However, you think is best.  Personally… I think taking a week off as a “break” from the grind is a good way to mentally and physically break the habits you had with the “old” ways so that you can start the “new” with a fresh breath and fresh perspective.  That way if you are carrying any ill feelings or baggage from the “old”… you give yourself time to “cool down” and re-focus.
  • Getting older?  Yea… I went there.  What are you going to do when you’re *gasp* “old”?

Many people can and do prepare for “emergencies” and “disasters”.  But not many really plan and prepare for when they get old.  They just figure they’ll figure it out “later”.

Getting older is inevitable. It’s the one thing, we all can pretty much figure is going to happen to us or our parents or our kids….. if we don’t die first. I say this half tongue-in-cheek and half seriously. Because the reality is that you are going to die at some point whether you are old or not.  I’ve experienced much too soon that life is full of unexpected unpleasantries.  My dad and my MIL both died when they were 60… 60!!!  That is So-NOT-Old.  That is young by today’s standards.  However, in both cases it was unexpected and quick.  (Thankfully, not in the same year, but still the ramifications were and are clear. Get Your Affairs In Order!)

If you do plan on getting “old” before dying… What’s your plan?

plan

  • Do you have a retirement plan?
    • An actual one, not just a 401k and a portfolio.  These are instruments, not a plan.  An actual plan has benchmarks / milestones which you need to hit in order to retire by “x” age.
  • Are you (or someone) managing your funds so that you are saving money sooner rather than later?
    • Now, don’t get crazy and start moving funds around constantly because there’s a hurricane in the gulf or there’s a freeze in Florida.
    • Listen to your financial advisors, and make smart, calm, rational, logical decisions.  (Oh wait… no one does that anymore.  Oh well.)
  • Are you discussing this with your loved ones and kids?
    • Not only is this a good idea… but guess what?!  They might even have other ideas you didn’t know about or didn’t think about that might be useful.  I know it’s a novel concept… COMMUNICATION!
    • Now, if they don’t want to listen and be part of a constructive discussion and understand your wants and needs because they’d rather stick their head in the sand and not face reality….  Just write it all down and leave if with your lawyer to deal with later.  Your family doesn’t have to like it, they just need to accept that your wants and needs are just that … YOURS!  Even if they are far-fetched and absurd…. in that case they can have you declared mentally unfit.  Ok.. so maybe you are and you should get help. Either way… have a plan, write it down and let someone know.
    • So… maybe evaluate your relationship with your loved ones first before opening the door of communication.  If they have common sense, love and / or respect for you, go with option 1.  If not, go with option 2.
  • Do you have a living trust or will in place? (or at least a draft of one)
    • Always a good idea… as soon as you have anything worth anything.  Don’t leave it to your spouse or family members to figure out what to do with your stuff once you are gone.  Trust me, they will only screw it up or squabble over it.  So,  be sure to document what’s what and have it made legal.
  • Have you talked to your spouse or loved ones about what you want when you pass?
    • Yes, this is a tough one.  But life is full of tough conversations and choices…. the Birds and the Bees with your kids, How to tell your spouse they need to get a prostate exam to make sure their parts are ‘ok’, How you want the end of your life to go… all important and all necessary!

Most probably answered “No” to most of those questions.  I know I did, and it scares the hell out of me.

Time to start making those lists, setting up a living trust and putting the funeral arrangements on a payment plan so it’s a done deal when the time comes. That way I know I’m not burdening someone else to figure it all out at a difficult and possibly sad time.

And if anyone is wondering… when I die, I want a big ass party.  You can cry, but it better be with a cocktail in hand saying “Damn, we had fun! Remember that time when…. ”

 

Peach Spice Cake

2014-08-14 12.41.42 (2)So… I had some fresh peaches that were getting a bit too ripe… and I had a box of Spice Cake Mix.  Why not make a cake out of the 2?  So, I did!

If y’all know me… you know 2 things… 1) I rarely follow a recipe to the “T” and 2) I bake with booze.  This time was no exception. I eyeballed most of what I did to this creation.  So, if you try this, feel free to add or change this up to suit your tastes.  And while it doesn’t look all that great, it was super tasty.  The cake was moist, and the peaches held their form and flavor and didn’t turn to mush.

To start, I pulled out all my ingredients and tools, and put them on the kitchen island.

And then I started the oven… preheat to 325 since I was using a dark Bundt pan.

Ingredients for the Cake part:

  • 1 box of Spice Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 sugar free applesauce container (from the pack of 6) – I think it’s like 1/3 cup if I had to measure  (this was in place of the oil that the box said to use)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 tsp of spiced rum (I used Captains)

Instructions: Mix all the above together.  It’s not scientific or anything.  Set aside. You will pour this on top of the peaches.

Ingredients for the Topping part:

  • 3 large fresh ripe peaches, pealed and slice
  • 3/4 of a stick of butter
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of cinnamon (I used Pampered Chef’s Cinnamon)
  • 1 Tbsp of flour (because I read somewhere that this helps with thickening up the “sauce”)
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp of spiced rum (yup… Captains)

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter and brown sugar together… once melty… incorporate the flour and then the lemon juice. Stir constantly.
  • Turn down the heat and add the spiced rum and then the peaches … coating them with the sugar mixture.
  • Pour (as evenly as possible) into greased Bundt pan.
  • Pour the cake mixture (as evenly as possible) on top of the peaches.  I did a little jiggle with the pan to get the mix to settle and even out.
  • Put into a preheated 325 degree oven and bake for like 30-35 minutes depending on your oven.

Upon reflection and taste, I probably could have used a dash of salt to punch up the flavor in the peaches.  But this is “just cuz” I want to try something different next time.  Again… I rarely follow recipes and like to tweak.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  What matters is taste and whether or not the husband will eat it.  Actually… it matters whether I’ll eat it or not.  I’ve been known to throw out stuff after I’ve taken a bite even if the husband thinks it’s edible.  Edible or not… it needs to taste good.  And if it doesn’t taste good, why bother?!