Popcorn with Lavender Pepper

A delicious popcorn snackI’ve been thinking a lot about my “brand.” What am I all about and what do I want to share with you, my reader. I’ve been making lists and thinking about what I love. And one thing that keeps making it on to those lists is snacks. Wait, what?! Hey, turns out I love snacks. And here is a super easy one for you. On my last trip to Temecula I picked up some lavender pepper from the spice shop. I’ve been dying to use it and this just made sense. I’m trying to eat healthier snacks (but you know me, my quest for health usually lasts just for a few weeks) and popcorn is an awesome option. And so I made popcorn with lavender pepper.

Popcorn with Lavender PepperIt’s healthiest if you make it at home in an air popper or special microwave bowl, but it should also be noted that “lazy” is on my list of things about me. Trader Joe’s has a bag of reduced guilt popcorn that is a great base. Then all you need is some lavender pepper and sea salt. Now, I realize that you probably won’t have lavender pepper. Especially since this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. But you can pick up edible lavender on amazon or some local markets. Just add that and some fresh peppercorns to a spice mill or old coffee grinder to make your own. And be sure to taste your popcorn first to see just how salty it is before adding more.

Lavender and Pepper popcornBecause I am trying to not add calories, only flavor, I usually spritz the tiniest bit of water on the popcorn to help the spices stick. Weird, I know. But it would also work to toss the popcorn with a little melted butter or olive oil.  What is your favorite way to eat popcorn?

 

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Easy Strawberry Snack

Try this super yummy strawberry snack.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHere is a super easy strawberry snack.  Wait, easier than actually just eating a strawberry?  Well, no.  But it IS still easy.  And super delicious.  I’ve learned something about myself over the years.  I see it as a skill.  Not one that you would ever really need.  And it doesn’t do your waistline any favors.  I have the innate ability to take a food and figure out how to make it as unhealthy as possible.  This can mean taking something unhealthy already and making it more delicious and amazing (thereby making it way more unhealthy, remember these lazy nachos?).  But I’ve noticed I do it with perfectly healthy items too.  Take for instance, the strawberry.  A perfectly fine piece of food on its on.  With its juicy sweetness and bright bold color, I should be fine, happy even, to eat it in its natural form.  But this is how I often eat my strawberries.  With…are you ready…SOUR CREAM and brown sugar.  What the!?!  Full disclosure, my close friend Lisa actually turned me on to this one when we worked in catering for a hotel together.  And that was a good 10 years ago.  And I’ve never forgotten it.

brown-sugar-strawberries-and-sour-cream-snackWould you try this?  I’ll be honest, I only just really started on the whole sour cream train a few years ago.  But there is something about the tanginess mixed with the brown sugar and strawberry that just makes your mouth so happy.

Super simple sweet strawberry snack.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTry it.  Then serve it to your closest friends.  The ones who eat just as much junk food as you do and don’t judge you for it.  The people who you plan all your meals out in advance with before heading out on a girl’s trip to maximize the dining possibilities.  The ones who are fine to see you in your “fat” pants after you have eaten too many strawberries dipped in sugar.  If you even question the reaction you may get from a friend it is best to not introduce them to fat strawberries (I didn’t really intend to name them that but it has a nice ring to it, fat strawberries).  You’ve been warned.  Happy eating.

Best Frozen Margarita Recipe

Margaritas are the perfect summer drink.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo last summer I discovered that I really enjoy tequila.  Or rather tequila based cocktails.  I’ve never been a shots kind of a girl and I don’t think my late 30’s, with two small children, is the time to start.   And since I like the flavor of limes so much it makes sense that I would love a good margarita.  About 6 months ago I asked my Facebook followers for their favorite margarita recipes.  They were varied to say the least.  So I decided I would try several of them and see which ones I like the best.  It was hard work, you guys.  But these are the kinds of things I do for you.  Turns out I found the best frozen margarita recipe.  Ever.

Tequila shots, leopard print and Mexican blankets = summer.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI know that the flavor of a margarita depends of the taste of the tequila you are using.  I’m not a tequila expert at all.  I just used what we had in the cupboard.  I see the guys on Real Housewives drinking a lot of Don Julio so I’m guessing that is a good brand to use.  And let’s talk for a second about the lime shortage we are currently facing.  Are you all as broken up about it as I am?  And I’m not even exaggerating about that.  I went to my grocery the other day to get limes for the margaritas, some salsas and guacamole I was going to make.  And my store was completely out of them.  Like, there were no limes in the entire store.  I asked.  Luckily my mom was able to grab a few from her store for me but that is why you see the bottled lime juice in some of the photos.  I’ve had to supplement with it.  It is not ideal.  I’m thinking about starting a fundraising campaign for the lime plight.  My summer relies heavily on limes.  But back to the margaritas. [Read more…]

Monte Cristo Roll Ups for Easter Brunch with King’s Hawaiian

*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian.  All opinions are mine!

Monte Cristo Roll Ups Recipe.  \\   www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo I have a thing with Monte Cristo sandwiches.  My mom and I used to head to a restaurant in South Coast Plaza (anyone remember Magic Pan?!) for their Monte Cristo’s, salads with raspberry vinaigrette and delicious rosemary bread.  It is where I fell in love with the salty and sweet sandwiches.  And now when I see them on any menu, I HAVE to have it.  Because you don’t find them that often.  And I have a thing about brunch.  I “go pupule” over a good brunch.  When I was thinking about the perfect recipe for Easter brunch, I thought a Monte Cristo would be perfect.  Easter is all about ham, everything is better with cheese and raspberry jam just about screams brunch, am I right?  What the heck is “go pupule?”  It means go crazy in Hawaiian.  Add this phrase to your lexicon.  It is super fun to say.

Easy to make Monte Cristo roll ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile a traditional Monte Cristo is pretty much a sandwich made on french toast, I decided that sweetness of the King’s Hawaiian bread would work perfectly for this.  And I also decided that sandwiches are too boring.  I wanted to do this dish a little bit differently. So I decided that Monte Cristo Roll Ups just made sense.  It takes only a few ingredients, and not a lot of time, so I think it is a great dish to add in to your Easter brunch entertaining.  The key is SEEDLESS raspberry jam.  Ain’t nobody got time for all those seeds.  And you need a good gruyere – one that is salty and smells a little bit like feet.  Trust me, it makes this taste the best.  I “go pupule” over a feet-y gruyere. [Read more…]

Artichoke Dip Sliders with King’s Hawaiian

*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian.  All opinions and calories consumed are mine.
Simple Artichoke Dip Sliders. Artichoke Dip Sliders.  So good.  I mean, how can they not be?  They are filled with a very popular cheesey dip.  And they are served on Kings Hawaiian rolls.  The only thing that could make these better is if they somehow had chocolate in them.  On second thought, that would probably be kind of gross.

What you need to make the perfect Artichoke Dip Sliders for game day.Chances are you have your own recipe for artichoke dip.  I find this is one of those personal preference things.  But they generally vary only slightly.  Feel free to sub your fave recipe.  Mine is far superior, but that’s ok, go ahead and still make yours…The dip can be made ahead of time.  I love dishes like that for entertaining.  Don’t you?  The King’s Hawaiian rolls are already slider size and have the perfect sweetness to accompany this salty, tangy dip.  I don’t want to get gross, but I’ve been known to eat these Hawaiian rolls, heated in the microwave, with butter, for meals.  Nothing else, just the rolls.  And I love every minute of it.

Isn't artichoke dip the best? Make the dip.  It wouldn’t hurt to make a double batch.  With the leftover dip you can serve it with tortilla chips for those who don’t feel like eating a sandwich at the moment.  Or you could just eat it for breakfast.  The star of this show is the unmarinated artichoke hearts and the garlic.  Oh and the cheese.  These ingredients play really well together.

Super easy and super delicious artichoke dip sliders. Once the dip is all bubbly and golden, you can start making the sliders.  Simply toast the rolls (this will help them to not get soggy as quickly and provide a nice little crunch) then dollop some dip on top.  It is as easy as making, well, a sandwich.

Two of my fave things: artichoke dip and Kings Hawaiian bread.Are you salivating?  You should be.  These are delicious.  Maybe I should start a new blog.  It can be all about making dips in to sandwiches.  I already eat onion dip on my hamburgers so I KNOW that would be good.

Artichoke Dip Sliders.  Perfect for game day

 

These sliders are perfect for game day entertaining but also great for BBQs, weeknight dinner, movie night, baby showers, bat mitzvahs, and Tuesdays.

Artichoke Dip Sliders.  For game day.  Or any day. I have out-of-town guests coming in this weekend.  I should probably make some of this dip and have these rolls on hand to create a fast snack.  Are you going to make these?  You should!

Artichoke Dip Sliders with King’s Hawaiian

Ingredients

  • 2 cans unmarinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 package King's Hawaiian rolls

Instructions

  1. Combine the artichoke hearts, mayo, garlic, Parmesan and Swiss cheese in a 2 1/2 quart, oven-safe, baking dish.
  2. Heat, uncovered for approximately 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
  3. The dip should be bubbly and melted through.
  4. Cut King's Hawaiian rolls in half with a serrated knife.
  5. Place on a baking sheet, cut side up, and broil until golden brown and toasty (approximately 1 minute).
  6. Spoon warm dip on one cut side of King's Hawaiian roll and top with the other half. Serve warm.
  7. Serve any extra dip with tortilla chips. Or spoon it straight in to your mouth.
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