It’s been a busy Spring and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to post on the blog lately. But we are finally approaching Summer here in Seattle, so I thought it was time for a new margarita recipe. This idea popped in my head for my upcoming birthday party, but I didn’t have to search much to find a ton of different recipes online.
Now initially, I thought the combination would be limes, oranges, and lemons, but that lemon may not be the right fit for tequila. When a saw another recipe with grapefruit I had a “duh” moment since grapefruit is used in one of the most popular tequila cocktails the Paloma.
Now many margarita recipes call for orange flavor usually in the form of Triple Sec or Gran Marnier. However, I feel like it brings way too much sweetness sort of like off-the-shelf margarita mixes. So, in this recipe, orange actually brings the smooth orange flavor that helps cut the tartness of the limes and grapefruits. Since you still do need a sweet element in this recipe, you can either use agave syrup or make your own simple syrup.
Grapefruit Simple Syrup To give your margarita that little extra zing, make some grapefruit simple syrup. Follow the standard one cup sugar to one cup water ratio. After it has begun to cook down, add some grapefruit zest and a couple of squeezes of grapefruit juice then take it off the over to cool.
While nothing compares to a freshly shaken margarita poured over ice, Summer is all about entertaining so this recipe is built for a party!
Citrus Margarita Recipe 6 Cups of Reposado Tequila 3 Cups of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice 1 1/2 Cups Frozen or Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice 1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice 1 Cup of Grapefruit Simple Syrup
This recipe makes about 24 servings (4-ounce portions). Mix everything together and then chill in the fridge. Then before serving, stir in a couple of cups of ice and let chill. I like to salt the rim of the glass with a Habanero Sale with a bit of lime zest mixed in. When ready to serve, salt rim, add a few extra ice cubes and fill the glass with this delicious margarita.
We recently traveled to Las Vegas for my friend’s bachelorette party. This was the first time I have flown since the beginning of the pandemic. The last few trips to Vegas, we have always stayed at The Cosmopolitan. It is certainly one of the most unique casinos on the strip and targeted at people who like things a little different.
On our last night, we booked dinner at Superfrico in The Cosmopolitan. The restaurant is described as a psychedelic Italian dining experience. It helps to understand that the restaurant is located next to the venue for the show Opium. It has a trippy Cique du Soliel vibe to it, but what really stood out was the food.
We started off our dining experience with the mozzarella that is made tableside and served as a delicious Caprese salad. From there, the table ordered a variety of things to share. Each item was delicious and the cocktails were on point. So, if you happen to be in Vegas, check out Superfrico at The Cosmopolitan.
I thought for my last post of 2021 it would make sense to review a tequila. We have all been stuck dealing with Covid for much of 2021, and I know we probably have enough new recipes that we still haven’t tried yet. This tequila is one we actually came across when we were visiting Puerto Vallarta.
One of our favorite excursions is walking into town and visiting the tequila shops. They are always very eager to give you samples, so we try to make sure we buy a bottle from them when we are all done. The bottle has a very cool twisted design, but the bottle that you can find here in the United States looks like it got a bit of an update.
The one thing that stands out about this tequila is how balanced it is across all its flavors. Usually, tequila will lean sweet or spicy, sometimes oakey, but this balances them all very well. In reading other reviews, many people thought this tequila was too sweet. Since I do tend to like sweeter tequilas, I thought I would share others’ observations.
When you compare this to something like Casamigos, I think Adictivo is much more balanced. It still serves up the vanilla and caramel notes, but the oak and spice smooth it out for me. The other thing about this tequila is how smooth it is and it finishes well. This may not be the perfect gift for a tequila connoisseur, but is worth trying! Enjoy your New Year’s Eve. Happy 2022!
Recently I came across a new tequila that I just had to try. I have been really enjoying the Cristalano versions of tequilas lately. However, it was the bottle design that caught my eye. Identity Cristalano tequila comes in a bright turquoise bottle featuring a thumbprint with small rainbow inside of it. The brand is all about inclusivity, so I was happy to support it.
The tequila itself is a very sweet tequila which reminded me of Casamigos. Those sweet flavors come from vanilla and butterscotch notes. I did notice that it starts with a grainy alcohol taste, but does settle into those sweet flavors. If you like a smokey or spicy tequila, those notes are very subtle in the Identity Cristalano.
Meatloaf is one of my favorite dishes from my childhood! I have certainly made the standard version my mom made with a packet of onion soup mix and topped with ketchup, but I learned there is a lot more that goes into a good meatloaf. First of all, most classic meatloaf is made up of more than just one meat. So, for this version, I combine hamburger and pork.
Before I mix up the loaf, I combine the eggs, half and half, and a little bit of yellow mustard. Wisk that all together and pour over meat and spice mixture.
Most Classic Meatloaf 1 Lb. Ground Hamburger 1 Lb. Ground Pork 1 Medium Onion Grated 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley 2 Eggs 1 1/4 Cups Breadcrumbs 1/4 Cup Half and Half 1/2 Cup Ketchup 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder Paprika and Pepper 2 Tablespoons Salt
Bake For One Hour at 375 degrees allowing at least 15 – 20 minutes to cool and set.
One thing that I learned watching my favorite host Sunny Anderson from The Kitchen, is that cannot over mix your meatloaf. She suggests taking your non-dominate hand, extending out your fingers like a pitch fork and gently mix together your ingredients. Once it is in the pan, cover with some additional ketchup and pepper. My last attempt felt like it was missing salt, so you may want to adjust that to your own taste. Also, make sure you give it time to rest before serving. Enjoy!
I have had many routers over the years and have tried them in many configurations. For home automation, I chose to go with TP-Link’s Kasa line of lights and switches. For a long time, I was under the impression that I had to have a TP-Link router in order to run them all since Kasa doesn’t come with a central hub. So after my first TP-Link router stopped working properly, I upgraded to a more powerful TP-Link router. Within a matter of weeks, the wifi part of the router stopped working. Then, one day I realized that my Xfinity Router supported Kasa. So, I moved all 40 of my Kasa units over to the Xfinity router. The one thing Comcast doesn’t talk about is that their router only supports a limited number of devices at one time.
I started to research which system I was going to with next. Then I happened upon one selling point that many other routers weren’t talking about and that was the number of supported devices. When I saw that Google was advertising that their new mesh router system supported up to 200 devices at once, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I was a little put off by its expensive price tag so I watched for a sale and finally picked up a router and additional access point.
I already had many Google Home streaming devices, so going with the Nest system was a natural decision. The other selling point for me was the additional access point also acted as a speaker. Since I already had the Google Home app set up, adding the new router was really easy. The complete setup went very well, so then I just needed to move all my devices over to the new Nest Mesh System.
I immediately saw an improvement in streaming across the entire house. Any previous dark spots were gone. It also kept all Kasa devices connected and they weren’t dropping off as they did with my previous routers. If you are running Kasa and Google Home, then this is the system for you!
While growing up, holidays always meant Grandma Van Damme’s Macaroni Salad. My sister and I were always excited if there were leftovers to take home. Eventually, my aunt caught on and started making two batches every holiday. Now, I carry the torch and share this amazing recipe with all of you.
Please note that this recipe contains a can of shrimp. My sister now has to substitute crab in her recipe because of an allergy, but I stand by the original recipe. One trick that my aunt shared with me, was that my grandma would open the can of shrimp the night before, drain it, then squeeze lemon juice into the can and let it sit overnight.
Grandma Van Damme’s Macaroni Salad Recipe
1 Package of Elbow Macaroni 3 – 4 Hard Boiled Eggs 2 Stalks of Celery 7 – 8 Radishes 1 Cup of Sweet Pickles 1 Can of Shrimp 2 – 3 Green Onions 1 Cup of Mayonaise 1 Tablespoon of Mustard 1 Lemon Salt and Pepper Paprika on top.
This salad does get better if it has a chance to chill in the fridge, so trying making it the night before for the best results. I also added some lemon zest to the shrimp overnight and poured everything into the salad. I would also experiment with how much mustard you add, as it can be overpowering.
Simply cook the pasta and set it aside to cool. Chop up veggies and mix together with all the other ingredients except pasta. Do a final toss of all ingredients and chill overnight. Enjoy!
As soon as I saw the solar fountain on Amazon, I had to get one. However, finding the right birdbath to go in was very challenging. First of all, most birdbaths are made of large heavy stone and can cost anywhere between $150 – $300. On the other side, many of the birdbaths available online were very small and didn’t really match our vibe.
So, the next step was trying to find a new vessel to turn into a birdbath. In my mind, I was looking for a large concrete-type bowl that could double as a birdbath. You will learn that most pots have drainage holes in the bottom. So, I found this small 12′ pot on Amazon.
The next thing I needed was a stand to put it in on and luckily this was much easier to find. So, I found this stand on Amazon, originally made for a different birdbath. Now, the bowl I chose was slightly smaller than what the stand was for, but it looks great in place.
HOW DO I GET MY SOLAR FOUNTAIN STAY CENTERED?
Once everything was put together, I realized some of the fountain options shot the water too high in the air ultimately making a mess and emptying out the fountain. So, I went without the attachment which just allowed the fountain to bubble more gently. But, the challenge was getting it to stay in the center of bowl. Here are a couple ideas I came across and my current solution.
The first idea I read was taking the attachments that go on a hanging basket, clip the ends off and then clip them to the side of the fountain. This would keep it centered. I also read that you would tether it with some string and attach it to weight. I finally decided to use to small large bamboo skewers, used some floral wire and attached them underneath the fountain.
Since it has already been such a hot summer up here in the Pacific Northwest, I am sure the birds are going to get a lot of relief from our little birdbath.
I made this on Cinco de Mayo and it was great! The main thing I learned about making a good margarita is that you don’t need margarita mix or a big bottle of Cointreau. A true margarita really only needs fresh lime and a sweet element like agave. For this version of margarita, I used a splash of orange juice to help balance out the lime. It is a perfect fresh margarita for summertime!
Orange Cilantro Margarita 3 Limes Squeezed 1/3 Cup of Orange Juice 3 – 4 Ounces of Gran Orendain Reposado 2 Tablespoons Agave Bunch of Cilantro Splash of Lime Seltzer
In a cocktail shaker, muddle together half your cilantro with lime juice. Add in your tequila, orange juice, and agave syrup. Shake well and pour over a glass of ice. Sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top, then top with a bit of lime seltzer. Enjoy!
You may have seen previous posts about Mike’s Lite disappearing of shelves in 2020. Since then, we have been on our journey to find something comparable to replace it with. We tried a lot of different brands of seltzers in many different flavors, but we weren’t finding anything that was hitting our taste buds right.
We really liked the Truly brand, but the lemon truly still lacked any real flavor. Then we discovered Truly Lemonade. The strawberry and black cherry flavors were a little polarizing in our house. I didn’t like the strawberry lemonade and he didn’t like the black cherry. But, the standard Lemonade flavor was pretty good.
Then all of a sudden one day, Mike’s Hard Seltzer popped up on the shelf. We quickly purchased it and rushed home to sample. It comes in 4 flavors (lemon, mango, strawberry and pineapple). All the flavors passed the test.
I had ordered groceries online one day, and the substituted the Bud Light Seltzer for one of the cases of Mike’s Hard Seltzer. Now, we had all three brands on hand and we proceeded with a head to head taste test of all three brands.
First of all, they are all about 100 calories each. So that really leveled the playing field. So, we had to break it down from there.
Mike’s Hard Seltzer
Bud Light Hard Seltzer
As much as we wanted Mike’s Hard Seltzer to come out on top, Truly seems to be dominating the space right now. Unfortunately, Truly Lemonade does not sell it’s plain lemonade flavor by the case. So, we found that Total Wine carries large cans in their singles aisle, we have been ordering a case of those and picking them up at the store.
Please let us know your thoughts and thanks for taking this journey with us.