One of my favorite YouTuber’s, Zoella, recently posted a video of her recipe for funfetti cupcakes. So of course I decided I had to try them out – which was awesome because I LOVE cupcakes and terribly daunting because I’m awful at baking. So I started where any reasonable person would start and wrote down the recipe. After which, I quickly realized all the measurements were done to UK standards so I had to convert them before I started baking. This was an oddly cathartic process because literally all I was doing was typing numbers into google for conversion, but the process of doing so made me feel super smart! So that’s a thing I guess. Next I checked that I had all the ingredients and bought any that were missing. I also had to buy icing tips because I haven’t ever iced anything – ever. So yes, I suppose this also present the perfect opportunity for me to learn how to ice… things. To say the least I was skeptical, but it turns out even if I had completed botched these in the beauty department it would have all been okay because they taste incredible!
Here we have another case of an “oh shit I have nothing planned for dinner and need to go grocery shopping” meal. To be honest I hadn’t planned to post this, until I tried the marinade and decided it was actually pretty delicious!
I find this happening quite a bit actually. The impromptu meals I make (and don’t plan to write down any recipe for) end up tasty and are then requested again later-on causing me to run around like a chicken with its head cut off because I have no idea how I made them.
Well not today! I’ve written down and photographically documented this one to be used at a later date. Ah, also before I forget (in case you were curious) the fries are Trader Joe’s Frozen Hand-Cut Potato Fries, which you’ll simply need to follow the recipe on the bag to make.
Spicy BBQ Chicken
Another childhood favorite! Ceviche is one of those foods that has always seemed (to me) so fancy and exotic, when really it’s incredibly fast and easy to make. Honestly, other than playing the waiting game while the shrimp were marinating this dish took me… maybe 30 minutes total? Fast and easy – I like it! Haha, ease of operations aside though, ceviche basically screams summer to me whenever I taste it, see it, or think about it. Probably because of lots of fond memories eating it at summer holiday parties, but also because it’s packed with the brightness of citrus and spicy kick from cilantro that fly you to a clear watered, white sandy beach where you have no cares in the world. Which is maybe just me (food REALLY speaks to me), but I hope you enjoy it just as much!
1 Pound Fresh Shrimp (Deveined)
1 Orange (Zested and Juiced)
4 Limes (Zested and Juiced)
1 Teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot
1 Teaspoon Sugar
2 Tomatoes (Deseeded and Finely Chopped)
½ Red Onion (Diced)
½ Jalapeño (Deseeded and Diced)
2 Tablespoons Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Rinse and clean the shrimp in a colander under cold water before cooking. Fill a medium sized sauce pan with water to about an inch to the top, bring water to boil over high heat.
3. While the shrimp are cooking create an ice bath in a large mixing bowl by filling it with ice and cold water. Once the three minutes have passed immediately drain off the hot water and shock them in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
4. When the shrimp have cooled enough to touch begin peeling them. If you are planning to serve the shrimp whole, be careful to leave the tail on the shrimp. After all the shrimp have been peeled drain off the cold water and set them aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the fruit juices, zests, Red Hot, and sugar.
6. Fold in the tomato, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro until well combined.
7. Depending on how you want to eat your ceviche you may add in the shrimp whole or cut into thirds. Traditionally my mom serves hers as an appetizer so she leaves the shrimp whole with tails on, arranges five or six in a margarita glass, and drizzles the marinade over them. I served my ceviche as a taco topping so I cut the shrimp into thirds for more bite size pieces when guests put them on tacos.
8. Add your shrimp to the marinade and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill in your refrigerator for a minimum of four hours.
This is by far my absolute favorite type of salad. I can’t exactly remember when my mom started making this, but ever since it’s been my standard food request for birthdays, visits, and really any food oriented event at my parents’ house. Yesterday, some friends and I went to Goat Rock Beach for climbing and picnicking so of course I jumped on the opportunity to bring this. My love knows no bounds. So I prepped the salad and a mojito watermelon dish (recipe here) the night before because both seemed to be bright, filling pick-me-up dishes – that wouldn’t bog us down or make us sleepy for a day outdoors.
4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2 Cups Barilla Gluten Free Rotini
1 (15-ounce) Can Garbanzo Beans
1 ½ Cups Combination of Grape and Komato Tomatoes (Diced)
¾ Cup Sweet Red Onion (Diced)
½ Cup Fresh Basil (Chopped)
¼ Cup Fresh Mint (Chopped)
¾ Cup Red Wine Vinaigrette
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Depending on whether you’d like the salad to be vegetarian or not, start by bringing the chicken or vegetable broth to a boil on high heat in a large saucepan. Once the broth is boiling add the rotini and cook according to the box instructions for al dente pasta.
3. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans under cold water in your sink. Add the cleaned beans to the bowl of onions and tomatoes.
4. Chop the herbs and add to the bowl as well.
5. Once the rotini is finished cooking, drain off the vegetable broth and add the rotini to the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients.
6. Toss the salad with the red wine vinaigrette until well combined and place in a covered container. Chill for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
4 Teaspoons Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste
Add the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and honey to a medium mixing bowl. Using a whisk, blend the ingredients until fully incorporated together and the vinaigrette comes to a smooth consistency. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.
The recipe is inspired by Giada De Laurentiis Orzo Salad – enjoy! (PS more pictures of Goat Rock Beach coming in the next post)
Here’s another quick and easy recipe for when you’re lost on the side dishes front! This is very similar to my simple green beans, but instead of keeping the veggies warm you shock the asparagus immediately after blanching to stop the cooking process – which is actually my favorite thing about this recipe because the asparagus turn out awesomely crisp and fresh. Because honestly the worst thing you can do to yourself is eat overcooked asparagus.
1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 Cloves Garlic (Pressed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Start by cleaning and cutting the ends off the asparagus.
2. Evenly distributed the prepped asparagus across a shallow pan with a lid, I used a sauté pan, and add enough water to just cover them. 3. Cover with a lid, and set them on medium high heat until the water comes to a light boil. While waiting for the asparagus to come to a boil create an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. When the water in your pan begins to boil pierce one of the asparagus with a fork to make sure they are cooked – it should be crisp, but easy to stick your fork into.