Jul 29, 2015
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Hi.  I’m going to prove to you that I do much more than come up with cocktail recipes (and then drink them).  I’m big into eating.

 

It’s been summer for a while now and I finally got my ass to the Farmer’s Market today.  Sheesh, what a bum.  But I was hungry and craving something fresh so I took the boys to buy some veggies.

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I love love love love love love pasta.  I can’t help.  It’s the Italian girl in me who can down a plate of spaghetti like a champ.  As I was thinking about veggies, I was also considering that I wanted something else to fill up my belly.  Usually pasta salads are my go-to dinners in the heat of summer.  Just cook up a pot of noodles, mix up some veggies and meat and stick it in the fridge for a chilled feast.  But I wanted something new, and different.  I went to the Farmer’s Market with the idea that I would use whatever was in season today.  The kiddos and I picked up fresh basil, yellow, orange, red and green cherry tomatoes, green and yellow zucchini and a head of cauliflower.  We were going to eat the rainbow!

 

I let the boys inspect the veggies for freshness and pay the for the food, especially because they have become obsessed with money, how it is worth different amounts and getting change back.  I figured that would be my mothering for a bit because when we got home, I pushed them out of the kitchen and into a pile of Legos so I could cook.  Mother of the Year.

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When we got home I immediately started the grill because I was gonna grill these suckas!  The “suckas” being the veggies.  A grilled vegetable pasta salad was on my mind.  )For the record, I lurve charcoal grilling 894 times more than gas.)  So while the charcoal was burning, I got the water on the stove and washed my veggies.  I also made tin foil “pans” to cook the veggies in while on the grill so the veggies wouldn’t fall into the fire or the olive oil wouldn’t spill out.  (I basically folded up all 4 edges and creased them into corners, forming a tray.)

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Once everything was cooked/grilled, I put it all together in a bowl and had a bite.  HEAVEN!  FRESH!  SUMMER!  I was pleased…but I had to scoop some for the harshest critics in the house…the 7 & 4 year olds.  They loved it, which was good because I had a good amount of balsamic vinegar in there and was wondering what their reaction would be.  The money-obsessed little monsters wanted more mouthfuls!  I would say that this is a kid-friendly dish, if your kids like the veggies you add.  So feel free to customize the vegetable mix to suit your tastes.   Hell, I can see some shredded chicken breasts going in here and really knocking some socks off.

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Enough writing, here is how I did it:

 

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

1 lb box of pasta, cooked and rinsed

1 small head of cauliflower, cut in to small bites

4 small zucchinis, sliced

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

1 small bunch of fresh basil, torn

garlic, 2 cloves minced (I love it and use more)

2 tbsp olive oil

4-5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

parmesan cheese

 

Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water and rinse with cool water.  Set aside.  Grill zucchinis in a in foil pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic and salt and pepper, about 10 minutes on grill.  Do the same for the cauliflower, about 15-20 minutes on grill.  Add cherry tomatoes to tin pan of cauliflower for the last 5 minutes to warm up or just place directly on hot grill to blister.  When all of the veggies are grilled, mix in large bowl with the pasta.  Add the balsamic vinegar and gently stir.  Sprinkle some Parmesan or Romano cheese on top and enjoy.

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It’s delicious right off the grill and still warm.  Also can be refrigerated and eaten chilled.  Stays 1-2 days in refrigerator.  You can make the veggies in the oven if you don’t have access to a grill.  Substitute rice for pasta if you are anti-carbs.

Jul 22, 2015
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It’s Wednesday, which means you need to start thinking about what cocktails you will be drinking on Friday.

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I have been mildly obsessed with La Croix the past few weeks.  Bubbles, like pop, but no sugar.  WHAT.  I love the Coconut and the Lemon flavors.  And in my experimenting, I found the Lime is an awesome addition to my Peach Mojito.   That got me wondering, what other yummy La Croix flavors can make awesome low-calorie cocktails??  Time to get mixing.

 

I went straight for the new “Curate” line of 2 flavored beverage and focused on the Cerise Limon, aka Cherry Lime.  So delicious straight outta the can!  YUM!  And as always, I stress the use of fresh fruit whenever possible.  Fresh cherries would be AWESOME in this cocktail, but I couldn’t find any at the time.  And yes, fresh limes need to be in this drink too.  Really makes the flavors pop!

 

I love La Croix because it is flavorful and bubbly without the extra sugar.  And I hate super sweet drinks.  Or juices.  Or frosting.  Too much sugar is gross.  Blahhhhhh.

 

Then, after a little mixology, I came up with the refreshing, not overly sweet, Cherry Lime Sparkle.  Want to have one on the deck tonight?  Here is the recipe:

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Cherry Lime Sparkle

(makes 2 cocktails)

1- 12 oz can Cerise Limon La Croix

maraschino cherries, plus juice  (if fresh cherries are in season, USE THOSE INSTEAD!)

1 fresh lime

4 oz of Cointreau

ice

 

Get 2 lowball glasses, fill with ice.  Then add 2 oz of Cointreau to each glass.  Cut your lime in half and squeeze the juice of a half of lime into each glass.   Add 3 teaspoons of cherry juice and 2-3 cherries to the glasses.  Then grab the can of Cerise Limon La Croix and top off the glasses (about 6 oz each).  Enjoy immediately.

 

Happy almost-end-of July!

Jul 20, 2015
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Emceeing is the weirdest thing.

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First of all, it’s scary as hell.  People stare at you.  It’s either because they are listening to what you say or, it’s because they want you to SHUT. UP. so the next band can play.

Secondly, It’s just you, talking to a lot of people who can’t/won’t/aren’t interested in talking back.  It’s similar to talking to yourself in the mirror.  But way more awkward.

 

This past weekend I emceed Stillwater Log Jam for the 2nd year in a row.  The first year, I was absolutely terrified.  And it showed.  I was only a few months into Making It With Stephany, I had no experience and no idea what to expect.  Friends told me I “did a great job”, because I was horrible and they were trying to be supportive.  (I have very nice friends.)  I used it as a learning experience and never planned on talking into a microphone to a large group of people again.

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This year was a complete 360.  I was so happy to be asked back and had so much great stuff happen to me in the past year (TCL, TV interviews, newspaper interviews, etc.) that I was only a teensy bit scared.  I was even feeling a little bit confident, which is totally not like me at all.  Plus, I was friends with many of the bands that were returning to the Log Jam stage like Choo Choo Bob, Ruben and Thrift Store Sonata, and excited to meet new bands like Malamanya, Frankie Lee, Black Market Brass and Charlie Parr.  4 on the Floor was there to rile up the crowd and get everyone rowdy on Saturday night, which was fun to see, complete with beach balls, sombreros and an intense, “sober” shirtless dude with the world’s best mullet who licked his fingers while he danced in the crowd.

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Also, the stage was able to be set up right on the river this year, which was a great view, provided a nice breeze and had a mini city of boats as neighbors for the weekend.  (Last year, the St. Croix River was so high, that the stage wasn’t able to be near the river so the bands wouldn’t fall in. and float away.)  Everything was lined up to be perfect.  And it was.

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I really want to thank Paul, one of the creators of Stillwater Log Jam for asking me to be a part of the festivities again.  I had so much fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  I loved seeing the city full of residents, tourist, families and dogs.  (OMG I met the sweetest Irish Wolfhound!)  A big thank you to  “The Locals”,  Brad and Lift Bridge Brewery for the Getaway and Smalley of Smalley’s Caribbean BBQ for the ass kicking pork tacos.

 

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Jul 11, 2015
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Want to knock out an awesome home decor project this weekend?  All you need is tape!

Get yourself some washi/masking/removable tape and start a masterpiece on your wall!  It’s easy, removable and fun to do.  You don’t need to be a crafty genius to make this either!  It’s just lines and angles and you can do ANYTHING you want!  No rules!

 

It’s a perfect project for renters, non-commital types, and people who love change.  When your tired of your design, just peel it off!

 

Need inspiration?  Check out my video!

 

 

Jul 10, 2015
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Summer is the time for eating (and drinking?) as much fresh fruit as possible, right?  Fruit is healthy.  Eat it.IMG_4831

 

Strawberries are on that healthy list, they are so sweet and fresh and yummyyummyyummy.  One of my favorite ways to eat as many strawberries as possible is to make Strawberry Shortcake.  And buying that dry, sponge-like crap from the grocery store doesn’t qualify as “shortcake”.  Eww.  Making the cake for your shortcake is really simple and here is a recipe that takes only a few minutes to make and tastes great.  The main ingredients are strawberries (obvs), whipped cream, and Bisquick.  Yup, Bisquick mix makes a tasty shortcake.  They have the recipe for the shortcake on the box, and when you put your strawberries on the warm shortcake biscuit, you will NEVER buy mass produced, grocery store junk again.

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And don’t get me started on my super special strawberry sauce.  Sure, anyone can mix up strawberries and sugar and call it good enough.  But I like my strawberries to have a sauce…a sweet, slightly boozy sauce.  This is where the Cointreau comes in.  Yup.  It’s drool-worthy.

 

Strawberry Cointreau Shortcake

for strawberries:

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and roughly sliced

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp Cointreau

Put strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher.  Add Cointreau and stir until well mixed.  Cover and set aside until ready to use.  Keep in refrigerator if not using right away.

 

for shortcakes:

2 1/3 cups of Bisquick mix

2/3 cup of milk

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp melted butter

Make shortcakes according to directions on the box or online here.  Takes about 10 minutes to bake.

 

If you can enjoy these warm, do it.

 

Once the shortcakes are ready, slice a cake open, fill with strawberries and whipped cream.  Eat 2 shortcakes immediately.  Don’t tell anyone you’ve made them and maybe have a 3rd.  Or share.  Then everyone who eats one will think you are a dessert genius.  Either way, you win.

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And if you don’t want to add the Cointreau, get yourself 3 tbsp of fresh squeezed orange or lemon juice instead.

IMG_4865I’m also imagining this with loads of other fruit too.  Peaches or blackberries?  Mmmmm!

Jul 09, 2015
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If you were one of the lucky souls who received my mug in your mailbox within the last few weeks, I apologize.  It was only supposed to be a story, not a cover.  I wasn’t prepared for that!

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A few months back I was contacted by the editor of the magazine to give an interview about all things Making it With Stephany.  From there, we came up with the idea to have me write an accompanying article about cocktails in the valley.  That was a little scary for me, because if you read this blog, you know of my juvenile writing skillzz.  But I interviewed, wrote, edited, saved, re-wrote and submitted my article (a little over my word count requirement) and on time.

 

A photo shoot was scheduled to run along side the article.  Smiles were made, pictures were taken.  I had a general idea of when the magazine would be out and I was excited to see my words in print.

 

Then I show up on the cover.  Man, was that a weird feeling!  I still feel shy about it, which is odd because I am usually not shy.  You’ve seen the videos, right?!?

 

Here is the article online of my interview.  The article I wrote isn’t online, but in the hard copy of the magazine along with my tasty ass recipe for Blackberry Limoncello.

 

Thank you to Kersten and St. Croix Valley Magazine for taking the time to get to know a little more about me.

 

 

Jul 01, 2015
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IMG_4700Dude.

 

Peachy Pina Colada is another of my craft cocktail creations that I came up with last year for Jamie Oliver‘s Search for a Cocktail Star.  Remember when I lost?  Me too.  Ouch.  But this drink was my final entry in the contest, and even though I lost (loser), this drink is still mighty fine and so damn good.  Here is the recipe:

 

Peachy Pina Colada

6 oz pineapple coconut juice, found at my local grocery store or here

1 cup pineapple sherbet, I have also substituted strawberry sherbet when pineapple is unavailable

1/4 cup fresh peach

1 cup fresh pineapple

5-6 ice cubes

3 oz dark rum

 

Put all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth and creamy.  Pour in a glass and enjoy immediately on your deck in the summer.  And you can use frozen fruit if your in a pinch, but honestly, the fresh fruit really makes this drink pop.

 

And if you want to see me compare a peach to an ass and sing some Beastie Boys while I make a Peachy Pina Colada, watch the video below: