Tag Archives: spicy

Nuts For The Holidays

A couple months ago my friends Erin & Rachel hosted a little West Coast IG meet up with Canadian and Arizonian friends, Melisa & Rachel.

Seven of us sat around a beautiful gold & mint themed dining room chatting, noshing, making all kinds of hot nut jokes and giggling like a bunch of tweens.

Erin made an old Marta Stewart nut recipe and we all immediately spooned another helping on our plates after the first sample.

The flavors in this are indescribable. They mesh together amazingly.


Here is what you’ll need…

5 cups mixed nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts {I subbed peanuts for the pecans and used 1 cup of each nut}

Note: use unsalted nuts

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced crosswise into rings to yield about ¼ cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Here is what you’ll do…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange nuts in a single layer on baking sheet and toast until golden…8-12 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl. Add shallots and garlic to hot olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.

Fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towels and set aside.

Pour melted butter over nuts. Stir in rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt. Add shallots and garlic and combine well.

Serve warm. Nuts can also be reheated in a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes but watch carefully.

Store in an airtight container….that is IF there are any leftover.


I haven’t started my holiday baking yet, but I did make a batch of these to take to our PTA Teacher Appreciation brunch last week.

Several people asked for the recipe so I know they were a hit. I mean, why wouldn’t they be?

I served in a bowl with a big spoon with some fancy ziploc bags on the side so they could take as a snack to their classroom.

I cannot wait to make these to snack on while our house is full of holiday visitors.

They’d be perfect for neighbors or as hostess gifts, too!

Enjoy. And let the hot nut jokes begin…..

Burger Bash ~ Spicy Asian Pork Burgers

I love trying out new burger recipes with different flairs.

Jay found this version in Men’s Health and it reminded me so much of our favorite Banh Mi sandwiches, but in burger form.


Spicy Asian Pork Burgers

What you’ll need:

½ English cucumber
½ cup rice wine vinegar {I like “seasoned” rice vinegar}
Salt to taste
1 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp sriracha
4 sesame-seed buns, lightly toasted
¼ cup hoisin sauce

How to make it:

1. Make the pickles by combining the cucumber, vinegar, and a few pinches of salt in a bowl or jar. Set aside.

2. Preheat the grill over medium heat. Combine the pork, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Gently shape into patties, season with salt, and grill for about 5 minutes on each side.

3. Combine the mayonnaise and sriracha and spread on the bottom buns. Spread the top buns with hoisin and then sandwich the two halves around the burger with pickles. Makes 4 burgers.

They were delish, of course.

Spicy from the Sriracha mayo, sweet from the hoisin and crunchy & tangy from the pickled cucumbers!

I served them with sautéed zucchini and red onion in about a tablespoon of coconut oil ~ my new fave.




Grab the ingredients and grill up some of these this weekend!

Here’s to a beautiful Saturday & Sunday….

Guilt-free Buffalo “Chicken”

If you know me by now, you know that I will try anything {buffalo chicken}.

Buffalo Chicken brownies?

Buff Chix Smoothie?

Chocolate chip cookies?

I kid, but you catch my drift.

What I am NOT kidding about are these Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” which were probably first pinned from PETA’s website here.


I chose to follow skinnytaste.com’s version here with my own teeny tiny twist.

I followed Gina’s directions to a “t”, but used about 1 tsp. unsalted butter and 2 tsp. coconut oil instead of 1 tbsp. butter. I am just now getting around to jumping on the coconut oil bandwagon…can you believe it? If you know be my now, you also know that I love all things coconut.


Um, these were amazing. I could’ve eaten the whole pan. To be honest, you don’t even need to dip them in ranch or blue cheese. They are perfect alone.

I didn’t have any celery on-hand so I served with some cucumber slices and just a tad bit of ranch.

Oh, and this is the only buffalo sauce that I use…




Once in awhile I love to go to Hooter’s or Chili’s for boneless buffalo wings and an ice cold beer. These cauliflower bites just might take away the craving and are certainly more guilt-free ~ both in my eyes and in PETA’s eyes.

If you, too, love all things buff chix, you MUST give these a try.

Linking up again with sweet Jess and her monthly PinterTest Kitchen!

Spicy Apple-Glazed Meatballs & Yam Hash

Popping in again to share a healthy, fall inspired meal.

I discovered this in the May 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, but thought the apple glaze would be perfect for Fall…..and it was.

: Spicy Apple-Glazed Meatballs & Yam Hash :

For the meatballs:

1 egg

1/4 c. milk

2 slices white or wheat bread, torn {I used 1/4 cup bread crumbs instead}

1 lb. 85% lean ground beef {I used a package of ground turkey}

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. vegetable oil {for frying….I baked my meatballs in the oven @ 450* for 17-20 minutes}

For the glaze:

1 cup apple juice

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. ground ginger {I used fresh}

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

6 green onions, sliced

1. Whisk together egg and milk in a bowl. Add torn bread or bread crumbs. Let sit for a few minutes until softened. Add ground meat, garlic, black pepper, salt and cayenne. Mix thoroughly. Roll into balls ~ I got 20 meatballs, but you can go bigger or smaller, just be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly.

2. Bake meatballs at 450* for 17-20 minutes on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with PAM. Or you can heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet and cook the meatballs a few at a time until they are brown and crusty on the outside. Turn occasionally. About 6 minutes per batch. Remove cooked meatballs and place onto a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and begin to prepare the glaze.

3. For the glaze, combine apple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger and cayenne in a bowl. In the same skillet, over medium heat, cook and stir sauce until thick and bubbly {should be at a full boil}. Cook and stir about 2 minutes more. Return meatballs to skillet to glaze and heat through. Top with green onions after plating.

: Yam Hash: 

I just kind of made this up based off this recipe. I had two yams that needed to be eaten up so I just grated them with my box grater and sliced up a shallot that I had sitting around. You could also use a little onion instead. Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan and add the shallot and the grated yam/sweet potato. Saute, stirring occasionally, until soft. That’s it.

Plate the hash up with about 4-5 meatballs and don’t forget to add some Sriracha to your hash if you like heat!



Well Hello and Happy Monday!

I just realized that I haven’t really been posting much on the weekends…not my intention, but I guess it’s OK because that means that we’ve been busy and still enjoying summer even though school is definitely in full swing again.


Today marks day 28 of my 30 Day Shred.

I have to say that I have been MUCH better this time around. I did take a couple days off due to my knee bothering me, but I did something in lieu of the DVD those days ~ either biking or walking the big loop in our development at night. I love that the DVD is only 30 minutes and I really try to give it my all and make the most of the half hour with Jill and her girls. Also, I’ve been using 4 pound hand weights and I can probably go up to 5 pounders. Today the kids did it with me and used the Handy Manny plastic tools as their hand weights…yes, Squeeze, Pat, Felipe and Dusty joined in on today’s shred ~ WHATEVER works.

I feel great, though and can tell a difference, but I certainly need to tighten up the eating. I was doing great with that for the first two and a half weeks and then got a little lazy.


Speaking of eating better, I have a couple healthy recipes to share since the last couple were far from it…

Spicy Honey Lime flank steak and this quinoa salad from Pinterest {thanks Erma for pinning it!}…

I marinated the flank steak in 1/4 cup honey, the juice of 3 limes, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 tbsp Sriracha for about an hour and a half, flipping from time to time. Jay grilled for about 6 minutes on each side. Will make great salads and sandwiches throughout the week.

I also made Giada’s gazpacho last week…

It’s verrry healthy if you don’t put anything on it! She topped it with some polenta croutons which looked amazing. I, however, threw on some cheese & garlic croutons from my pantry. Would also be nice with a little dollop of light sour cream and some crushed tortilla chips.

The perfect summer soup since it’s served cold and has a nice refreshing kick to it.


LOVE this pic of Holden and me taken this weekend at the concert in the park…

{yes, I am fully clothed and no, Holdy is not drugged}


This week is a jumble of the new school schedule, homework {already!}, pool time {if they behave!}, park play date, dance class and two birthday parties this weekend.

Never a dull moment.

Hope your week is off to a successful start!

Super Crazy Condiment Girl

OK, if you’re familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba (and unfortunately I’m afraid I AM) then you must say the title of this post like they do on the show ~ “Super Martian Robot Girrrl”.

I know lately I have been promoting all these random condiments that I am somehow all of a sudden obsessed over! I swear I’m not being reimbursed at all for my many plugs lately. I just love them so much and want to share….they’re nothing fancy, but I find myself using them ALL the time. I feel like I should wear a super hero costume and cape and fly around rescuing everyone’s boring lunches and spicing up people’s bland dinners with all these fabulous new finds of mine. Believe me, we were in a rut with our meals, but lately I have been kicking everything up a notch just by adding some zest here and there.

First, there was the Red Pepper spread from Trader Joe’s.

Then the Sriracha pepper sauce.

Then my recent jarred jalapeño push.

Now I’m sharing my newest discovery:

Mango Peach salsa from Smart & Final!

OMG is it good! I served it at the taco bar at Holden’s party and several people asked me if I made it. There are HUGE chunks of mango. It was super cheap (like $2.50) and in the refrigerated section! I am out and need to go back and get more. Which brings me to my next topic ~ Smart & Final.

Each week we get an ad for S&F in the mail. I spotted a couple things I needed for Holden’s party and went to the nearest one to pick them up. I haven’t had the best image of S&F since the couple stores I’ve been in before were a little sketchy. The one near us is only a couple years old, clean and organized. I always thought S&F was similar to Costco where you have to buy larger quantities of stuff….NO, not entirely so. It’s almost like a grocery store and a mini-Costco all in one. I went in for 2 or 3 things and ended up doing ALL my grocery shopping there…swear! They have produce and let me just say that I am picky about my produce! I am the one that stands there fondling every onion, squeezing every cantaloupe, checking for bruises on every apple. The produce guy is probably thinking,”Easy, Lady! Just pick one already!” My point is, I actually got some produce there. They have their own store brand too and it’s actually completely fine.

So now I have another grocery store I need to figure into my food trips! There are things that I love about a lot of different stores…Albertson’s is close, Vons has good deals, Super Wal-mart has super cheap food prices, Trader Joe’s is a given and now I’ve discovered that S&F is pretty cool too!

Get “smart” people! Check it out…you may end up loving it as much as I do!

P.S. Coming up later today….Sushi 101: Spicy California Rolls & Teriyaki Chicken Rolls

Sat-Sun Summary

After devouring my heavenly doughy bagel from Noah’s yesterday morning, I got really lazy.

I had good intentions:

~ take down decorations from Holden’s party!
~ clean out/straighten up the garage
~ go to the grocery store
~ do some laundry
~ workout
~ make sushi for dinner

I managed to accomplish ONE of the above mentioned tasks…laundry!

Instead of carrying out the other five chores, I made some banana bread:

…and viewed this gorgeous rainbow after cuddling up on the couch and doing nothing ALL day:

Since I didn’t make it to the store, I raided the freezer for dinner and we feasted on Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken and some of Lola’s lumpia ~ not too shabby.

But today was much more productive. It was gorgeous and Jay played outside with the kids while I ran a couple errands. I decided to make pulled pork and potato salad for dinner.

I found this pork shoulder on sale and grabbed a BBQ pulled pork seasoning package. Thanks for the tip, Lisa!

Just trim outside fat off roast, plop into the slow cooker, combine seasoning packet with 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, mix and pour over pork….Voila! (Note: I am going off memory on the amounts above, but they’re close – just follow the EASY instructions on the back of the packet.)

8 hours on low or 4 on high and you will have this:

Hawaiian Sweet Roll Pulled Pork Sliders


I made some Spicy Ranch Potato Salad to go alongside. (Adapted from my sister’s Ranch potato salad recipe.)

This time I used 2 large russet potatoes (1.88 lbs.) since I only wanted a little bit of potato salad….uh, these 2 taters made a TON of tater salad! Normally I use a 3 lb. bag of red potatoes, quarter them and leave the skins on. This time I skinned the russets and cubed them before boiling. Once they are fork tender, drain, cool and add the following:

1/4 red onion, minced
2-3 stalks celery, chopped (I use a mini food processor) My sister also turned me on to using the leafy parts of the inner stalks which I used to trash. These add a lot of extra flavor so I throw in some chopped leafy parts, too.
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3/4 package Ranch dressing mix (I swear this is the secret to this recipe)
10-12 jalapeño slices, chopped
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayo depending on your mayo threshold (I’m a mayo girl, but don’t like my potato salads too heavy – if that’s at all possible!?!)
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all together and chill in ‘fridge for an hour or so before serving.

I was able to go workout while dinner was in the crock pot!

No, I haven’t taken down the decorations or worked on the garage, but there’s always tomorrow, right?

This week’s recipes:

Salmon Cakes & Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

(I picked up a couple gorgeous bunches of asparagus today for 97 cents a pound!)

Oh, and what do you think about flipflopfollies’ new look?

No more cheesy red flip flops and candy cane border!

Kudos to my personal blog bling’er, Jay!

I {L-O-V-E} it, babe! Thank you!

South Of The Border Salad


I kicked off the weekend with my Ladies and Chopped Taco Salad with Spicy Sour Cream Ranch Dressing. All that was missing was a ‘rita on the side!

This salad is perfect for Summer……or whenever!

Chopped Taco Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 package ground turkey, chicken or beef (about a pound)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 small can corn, drained
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, pepperjack, whatever floats your boat)
1 avocado, diced

cilantro, chopped (optional)

olives, chopped (optional)

green chiles, chopped (optional)

Sauté the onions in the olive oil for 5 minutes or so. Add the ground meat and brown – breaking up with a wooden spoon. Once the meat is cooked through, add about 3/4 of the taco seasoning package reserving the rest for the dressing. Add about 2 Tbsp. water to the meat mixture and cook for a few minutes longer. Let cool.

I like to layer my salad in a glass bowl – lettuce, meat, black beans, corn, tomato, cheese, avocado, lettuce, meat, black beans,corn, tomato, cheese & avocado.

Spicy Sour Cream Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup low fat Sour Cream
Low fat Milk
Packet Ranch Dressing Mix
Reserved taco seasoning from package

Put sour cream in a small bowl along with about 1 Tbsp ranch seasoning and the rest of the taco seasoning. Add about 4 Tbsp milk and whisk together. I like my dressing a little thinner so add more or less milk depending on how thick you desire your dressing.

Don’t toss until right before serving….the salad can get soggy pretty quick.

Garnish with crushed tortilla chips or, if you’re really feeling naughty, crushed Doritos. Cornbread is a tasty sidekick, too!

Have a wonderful weekend….Adios!