Fourth Of July Outfit

IMG_7784.JPGWhen Rourke and I were first dating, I had a dress similar to this, except it was green and white striped.  He still talks about that dress to this day, so when I saw this at Target recently, I knew he would like it.  Plus, I can wear it on the Fourth of July!

I paired it with white sneakers and pom-pom earrings.  I added sunnies, a straw hat and a jean jacket later on.  (Everywhere I go lately, they have the AC on Arctic Blast Mode.  I have to bring a sweater or jacket into stores so I don’t freeze my tail off. )

To boot, I thought I could use this dress as a swim cover-up, too, with flip-flops!   Thus the straw hat!IMG_7783.JPGIMG_7787.JPGIMG_7789.JPGIMG_7791.JPGIMG_7796.JPGIMG_7797.JPGI love the slit on one side, too!IMG_7799.JPGIMG_7805.JPGIMG_7807.JPGIMG_7808.JPGIMG_7809.JPGIMG_7810.JPG

What are your plans for the Fourth?  Would love to hear!

Toodle-oo,

Melanie

Outfit details:  dress//earrings (on sale now)//sunglasses (on sale now)//white sneakers//hat//similar jacket

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Today Is International Sushi Day!

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So June 18 is apparently “International Sushi Day,”  and I will use any excuse I can to eat some sushi.

Quick story,  Rourke used to watch me eat sushi in disgust.  I would beg him and beg him to just try it.  A California roll, please?  It’s just rice and veggies.  Until, he got a new boss. And, when the new boss came in town to work with Rourke,  he insisted on sushi for lunch.  Rourke not wanting to rock the boat with his new boss, said “Sure!”  He took him to one of my favorite sushi places.  Well, the boss didn’t just order California rolls,  NOOOO….He ordered THE BOAT!!  If you are unfamiliar with “the boat,”  it is a large wooden boat loaded with every kind of sushi imaginable, sashimi, included.  (Sashimi is just raw fish, sometimes with rice under it). Rourke was like “Sam, I Am” and well, he tried it, and LOVED IT!!  Yay!  Thank you boss.  Now Rourke loves sashimi and sushi of all kinds.  

IMG_7737.JPGIMG_7738.JPGIMG_7739.JPGTo make traditional sushi, you must start with sushi rice, which is short-grain and sticky! And, you will need nori.

Bring 1 1/4 cup of water to boil and add 1 cup rice, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Cover and reduce to simmer for 25 minutes.IMG_7744.JPGIMG_7745.JPGNext you will need a sushi roller.  My friends gave me this one a few years back for my birthday, and I love it!!IMG_7746.JPGI keep a small dish of water nearby to work with the rice.  I also use a silicone utensil to press the rice down on the roller.IMG_7763.JPGThe first roll I am making is a California roll.IMG_7740.JPGHave your veggies cut in match-stick size.  I am using carrot, cucumber, celery and avocado.  I will wait and cut the avocado until just before ready to prevent browning.IMG_7749.JPGPress your rice over the bottom of roller.IMG_7765.JPGCut your nori to fit your roller and place on top of rice.IMG_7751.JPGIMG_7752.JPGIMG_7754.JPGPlace your veggies down the middle or right-hand edge.  IMG_7755.JPGMy roller has an arrow pointing toward the sushi.  The technique is tricky but with practice gets easier.  You actually roll away from you, while at the same time, are pulling the whole roller toward you. You keep doing this until the roll is completely rolled up like a cinnamon roll.IMG_7758.JPGIMG_7759.JPGYou will need a very sharp knife to cut you roll into medallions.

The next roll I am making is a rainbow roll.  It has sushi-grade salmon and avocado.  It is one of my favorites!IMG_7743.JPGYou can buy sushi-grade fish at Whole Foods in the seafood department.  Our local Whole Foods has a special freezer with all things dedicated to sushi.IMG_7764Press your rice down again onto roller.IMG_7765.JPGCut and place your nori down.IMG_7767.JPGPlace avocado and salmon slices down the middle or far-right.  FYI…it is easier to have your salmon slightly frozen to slice thinly.  It will be thawed out by the time you finish your roll and slice it.  IMG_7768.JPGRoll the same way, Rolling away from you while pulling roller towards you until it is completely rolled up.IMG_7769.JPGPlace more avocado and salmon slices on top.IMG_7770.JPGSprinkle with black sesame seeds.  I think they make it prettier.  Slice and serve immediately.

I served with a special mayo and soy sauce.  You can also serve with wasabi and pickled ginger, too.IMG_7760.JPGTo make the mayo, mix about a tablespoon of gochujang with about 3 tablespoons of mayo.  Adjust to your liking.  For more spicy-kick, add more gochujang.IMG_7761.JPGIMG_7762.JPGWith more and more practice,  I aim to be the black belt of sushi makers.  But, for now, Rourke and I are enjoying the basics!IMG_7774.JPGIMG_7780.JPGIMG_7779.JPGBon appetite!

Toodle-oo,

Melanie

Lavish Libations: A Mojito Granita

fullsizeoutput_2ec6.jpegSo do you want to up your game in the dessert realm?  Well, try one of these rum-infused, mojito granitas.  They are basically an adult slushy that will take any hot day and make it cooler!

IMG_7627.JPGStart by making your simple syrup.  It’s basically equal parts boiling water to equal parts sweetener.  You can use sugar by all means, like most people do….but, I am using the lower-glycemic, light agave syrup.IMG_7629.JPGSpray your cup with non-stick spray and your syrup will flow right out!IMG_7628.JPGIMG_7630.JPGYou will need approximately 3 cups of simple syrup for this recipe. IMG_7626.JPGNow for the muddling of flavors.  Most mojitos are made up of lime and mint.  I shook my recipe up a bit and made lemongrass-basil flavored mojitos.IMG_7633.JPGCut 1 stalk of lemongrass (found in the herb section of your produce section) down the middle horizontally.  Then cut into small sections, separating each layer.  IMG_7635.JPGPlace the lemongrass layers and 1 cup fresh basil in a cocktail shaker and muddle down like crazy!IMG_7634.JPGIMG_7636.JPGAdd the juice of six limes.IMG_7637.JPGIMG_7639.JPGAdd 1 1/2 cups of light rum, put on shaker top and shake.  (FYI..these are on the stronger side.  If you prefer lighter granitas, only add 1 cup of rum.) ( To make a kid-friendly version, leave out the alcohol altogether.)  Strain mixture in a bowl and add simple syrup.  Stir well.  IMG_7640.JPGIMG_7641.JPGPlace in a glass dish and cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.IMG_7643.JPGWait to take out of the freezer immediately before serving, especially if you will be eating in outside.IMG_7704.JPGScrape with a fork and spoon mixture into serving glasses.  Garnish with lime and serve with a spoon.IMG_7706.JPGfullsizeoutput_2ec4.jpegRecipe:

(serves 8)

1 1/2 cup light rum

3 cups of simple syrup

1 stalk of lemongrass, cut in half horizontally, cut into sections, and separating the layers

1 cup fresh basil

juice of six limes

Muddle lemongrass layers and basil in a cocktail shaker.  Add lime juice and rum.  Shake and strain into a bowl.  Add simple syrup and stir.  Freeze overnight or longer.

Remove from freezer right before serving.  Scrape with a fork and scoop out with a spoon into glasses.  Garnish with slices of lime.  Serve with spoon.fullsizeoutput_2ebf.jpegfullsizeoutput_2ec3.jpegFeel free to change the flavors up to your tastes.  I am planning on it!

Cheers!

Toodle-oo,

Melanie

Hyper-seasonal Waters

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Our summer weather here in Shreveport has two temps….HOT and HOTTER!  Hydrating gets to be a real chore.  And, plain ole water can be so boring.

Using produce that was in season,  I thought I would come up with some different flavored waters to hydrate with each day.  I decided I would house them iced down in my 2.5 gallon beverage container that has a tap.

It’s been working great.  Plus, I’m hydrating all day long.  And, I am having so much fun mixing different flavors together!

Here is a “Lime-Coconut-Cucumber Cooler.”fullsizeoutput_2e9b.jpegStart with fresh mint, cucumber slices and coconut water.fullsizeoutput_2e98.jpegI found this coconut at Whole Foods.  You can use the coconut water you can buy from a can, but I am trying to avoid metals and plastics.  So, here I am using fresh.

Put your desired amount of mint in the bottom of your beverage container.  Add cucumber slices.fullsizeoutput_2ea4.jpegfullsizeoutput_2ea5.jpeg

Pull the tab from the coconut and insert straw.  Take straw out and shake out water into container.fullsizeoutput_2ea6.jpegfullsizeoutput_2ea7.jpegfullsizeoutput_2ea8.jpegAdd ice and filtered water.fullsizeoutput_2ea9.jpegfullsizeoutput_2eab.jpegIMG_7622.JPGIMG_7623.JPG

I find muddling mint and cucumber or whatever fruits you are using, brings out more of the flavor in the water.fullsizeoutput_2e9e.jpegfullsizeoutput_2e9d.jpegfullsizeoutput_2e9f.jpegfullsizeoutput_2ea0.jpeg

Here is a “Berry Blast Cooler.”

fullsizeoutput_2eac.jpegStart with berries.  fullsizeoutput_2ead.jpegfullsizeoutput_2eae.jpegfullsizeoutput_2eaf.jpegYou basically do the same thing.fullsizeoutput_2eb0.jpegFill the bottom of your container with berries.  fullsizeoutput_2eb1.jpegAdd ice and filtered water.  Muddle the fruit for more flavor if desired.

Set up your beverage center with glasses, napkins, and of course, garnish, where you will pass it often.fullsizeoutput_2eb5.jpegfullsizeoutput_2eb4.jpegfullsizeoutput_2eb6.jpegThis one would be great to serve at your Fourth of July soiree!

Other combinations I plan to try are “watermelon-basil,”  “lemon-ginger-blueberry,”  “raspberry-lime,” “mango-strawberry” and “peach-kiwi.”

Do you have any flavor combinations you like to drink with your waters?

Toodle-oo,

Melanie

Father’s Day Meat-filled Meal Ideas

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Every man loves his meat, right?  I scoured the WWW in search of some perfect Father’s Day menu ideas for the dad in your life…..with meat being the main course, of course!

Here goes…

Beastie Burger Recipe (pic above)

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Beef Burritos

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Texas-Style Hot Dog

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Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

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Easy, Fall-off-The-Bone Ribs

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Epic Dry-Rubbed Baked Wings with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

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Pan-seared Ribeye with Miso Butter

Okay if that didn’t just all make your mouth water………

 

What are you planning on doing Father’s Day?  Are you going out to eat or cooking up some vittles at home?  Would love to hear!

Toodle-oo,

Melanie