August Loves

This month I couldn’t get enough of…

cotton-candy-flavored-grapesCotton Candy Grapes : :  I found out about these from my friend Pattie Cordova.  They sell them at Sprouts markets and of course I had to try them.  They really DO taste like cotton candy.  It is so odd!  And delicious.

Foam-magazineFoam magazine ::  I’m kind of obsessed.  I always hesitated picking it up at my local bookstore because I’m not a surfer and I didn’t want to be a poser.  I thought it was for awesome surfer chicks.  And it is.  But it’s for everyone else too.  Fashion, ocean, art, music.  I have been reading it the past few months and LOVE it.  It took me everything I had to save the music issue to read until I was on vacation.

ginger-beerYou may remember I mentioned my love of Moscow Mules but for the times when I shouldn’t be imbibing, I just drink the Ginger Beer.  I have had to limit myself to one a day.  Reed’s is my favorite brand (flavor varies depending on the brand you buy) with a crisp, refreshing ginger flavor.  I add about an ounce of fresh lime juice and ice and sip away.

pottery-barn-mirrorI finally got my husband to hang my Willams-Sonoma Channing mirror up in our bedroom.  I LOVE it.  And my husband got excited when he saw Jeff Lewis use the same mirror (or one VERY similar) in an episode of Interior Therapy.

sun-bum-suncreenI took this Sun Bum sunscreen with me on vacation.  Remember my previous post about sunscreen?  Well, the one thing that I had missing was the smell of a tropical scent in my skin protection.  It may seem crazy, but it really mattered to me.  When I found out that Sun Bum smells amazing AND comes in a 50 plus SPF I just had to try it.  And I’m a fan.  The can says it is hypoallergenic and is anti-aging.  Sold.  While summer might be coming to a close, don’t forget that you need to be wearing sunscreen all day, every day.

nixon-blaster-speakerThis Nixon speaker totally made our vacation to Cabo.  My husband and I love music and new we wanted to take a speaker with us.  What is so awesome about this one is that it was designed to withstand the elements, like sand, and is shock and water-resistant.  I came in to our family room to find my husband egging my son on to throw it on the floor!  And so he did.  Several times.  We had it with us on the beach every single day and never worried about where we set it.  The sound is also crazy good, which is well, good for a speaker.  One of my favorite parts is the voice.  Todd Richards, a pro snowboarder, lends his voice for  several phrases that come out of the speaker.  He will tell you when you are about halfway through the battery life (about 12 hours!) and when you turn it off he says, “See you later.”  This speaker is smart AND polite.

mushrooms-and-brussels-sproutsI have always disliked mushrooms.  But all the sudden, my 7-year-old decided that he liked them and has been asking me to make them for him.  So I did and now I love them.  We have them about twice a week.  I keep it simple using Trader Joe’s pre-chopped onion, shallot and garlic sautéed in a little olive oil.  Then I add the mushrooms and whatever other veggie we think we need and over the pan.  We let the veggies cook down a bit and then take the lid off and let the moisture evaporate.  Takes about 15 minutes and then we eat our faces off.  Mushrooms are super high in Vitamin D so at least I know we are getting some sort of health benefit.  But I have promised him every 3rd time that I will cook them with bacon.  It’s all about compromise.

*Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  These are just things I love.  Pottery Barn (a sister company to Williams Sonoma) sometimes sends me products at my request.  The Channing mirror is one such item.  All opinions are mine.

{Recipe} Apple Juice Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Please forgive my food photography.  I made this brussels sprouts recipe twice in 4 days and just have to share it with you.  This was the second time that I made it so I just took the pictures while I was getting dinner ready.  Which means there were screaming matches to contend with, toys to step over and other dishes to make sure I didn’t burn.  I tried channeling Lisa and Bev to no avail.  But seriously.  Go make these.  My parents had been telling me how good theses brussels sprouts were for months.  They finally wore me down and I made them.  And now I want them all the time.

Did I mention they are super easy?  Did I mention they have bacon?  Ok then.  Wash your brussels sprouts and cut the stalk end off and cut them in half.  Brown the bacon in a pan and then transfer to a plate to drain.  Reserve a tablespoon of the bacon grease and add the brussels sprouts.  Saute the brussels sprouts to give them a little color.

Be sure to keep your eye on the bacon.  It starts to disappear.

Add the apple juice to the pan.  Cover and let them steam until tender.

Let the rest of the apple juice cook out and then add the bacon back to the pan.  And then proceed to eat the entire batch.  What?  It happens.  If by chance you happen to have some leftover (which I did but only because I doubled the batch the second time I made it) it tastes delicious the next day.  Even cold.  It took a few minutes of coaxing to get my boys to try them but they did.  One of my picky eaters really liked them and ate all of them on his plate.  My youngest didn’t eat them.  But he only likes gummy snacks.  So you can’t let him be the judge.

These are SO good!

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Bacon {adapted from Cooks.com}

3 Slices bacon coarsely chopped {I do at least 6.  So}

1/4 cup chopped pecans {I leave these out because nuts are the devil at our house}

2 boxes (10 oz) frozen brussels sprouts, thawed and halved or 2 cups fresh brussels sprouts, halved

1/4 cup apple juice {I use 1 cup – this probably helps to remove any healthiness that was in this recipe}

1/2 tsp salt

In a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp.  Stir in pecans and cook for 1 minute, until toasted.  With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and pecans, if using to paper towels to drain.  Drain all but 1 to 2 TBSP of bacon grease from the pan.  Add brussels sprouts and stir to coat with fat.  Saute for a few minutes, mixing gently to get some nice brown color on the brussels sprouts.  Stir in apple juice.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 8 – 10 minutes (for frozen) or 10 – 12 minutes (for fresh) until brussels sprouts are tender.  Allow for the apple juice to cook almost all the way off.  Before serving, add bacon, pecans and salt and pepper.

Put them on a plate, bowl or trough and cram as many in your mouth as you can.

You’re welcome.