Food

Almond Flour Pizza Recipe

Almond Flour Pizza

Since today is National Pizza Day, I thought I would share this recipe. When I began cooking low-carb meals, this was one of the first things I tried to master. Let me tell you, this is much easier than trying to make real dough from scratch.

First of all, get out your cream cheese and let is soften. Combine that with the cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, I microwave it 30 seconds at a time until the cheese gets melted a bit. That’s when I fold in the almond flour and egg. Combine well, then flatten between two pieces of parchment paper.

Turn your broiler on low, and cook the crust for just a few minutes until it starts to brown. Take it out and flip it onto your second piece of parchment paper. I actually cook the other side of the crust for just a minute to make sure it gets a bit of crunch. Then top pizza and cook for about 7 – 8 minutes until toppings have cooked through the center.

Almond Flour Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 1/4 package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper

I would suggest keeping the toppings fairly light or the crust might start to get a little soggy. So, a thin layer of sauce and toppings will work best! Enjoy!

Drink

Herradura Barrel Select Review

HERRADURA DOUBLE BARREL REPOSADO TEQUILA

Let me start by saying I am fan of the Herradura family of tequilas. The crystal anejo is easily one of my favorites. This could stem from the fact that Herradura is one of the oldest producers of tequila as it was founded in 18700. The Double Barrel Reposado is aged for 11 months in oak barrels, then aged another month in a toasted oak barrel.

Herradura to me is not one of the sweeter tequilas. One thing that is always at the forefront is the spiciness. On the palette, you still get complex flavors from vanilla, allspice and agave. However, on the nose, you certainly get that impact of being aged in the toasted oak barrel.

I have always said that complex Anejo tequilas start to remind me of certain varieties of Whiskey. This is especially true with Barrel Select Reposado. So, if you are more of a purist with your tequila and not much of a fan of Whisky, this may not be the tequila for you.




Drink

What happened to Mike’s Lite Lemonade?

Mikes Lite Lemonade

As I previously noted, 2020 has been taken away many things from us. That came apparent when we realized the Mike’s Hard Lite Lemonade disappeared. What happened to Mikes’s Hard Lite Lemonade? Well, after seeing it disappear from the shelves of our local Total Wine, I did some research.

I actually contacted Mikes Hard Lemonade and they did confirm that they had put that flavor of Mike’s out to pasture. So, that is when we began our journey to find its replacement. After trying many types of spiked seltzers and combinations of them, the winner was clear. Truly’s Lemonade flavors were the most comparable. The variety pack they sell has four flavors; plain lemonade, strawberry, black cherry and mango.

Not long after I wrote this original post, they released Mike’s Hard Seltzer. The variety pack features Lemon, Mango, Pineapple, and Strawberry. While I enjoy both the Mango and Pineapple, the other two flavors have a strange aftertaste to me. And after watching the comments, I see there are many fans that agree with me.

Clearly, there is a market for lighter beverages and I hope that we continue to convince Mike’s to bring it back!

Drink

Chamucos Reposado Review

Chamucos Reposado Review

This tequila review is dedicated to the scariest thing of all; 2020. We have lived through so much this year. So many holidays have been essentially canceled. With Halloween finally falling on a Saturday night, it is almost ghoulishly cruel that many won’t be able to celebrate like we used to. So, maybe it is just best to stay home with a spooky looking tequila bottle filled with delicious tequila.

Chamucos Reposado is a tequila we discovered for obvious reasons which is the box it comes in. I certainly don’t buy tequila based on the bottle, but this tequila’s packaging draws your eye. But wait, there’s more. The box that it comes includes punch outs that allows you to turn the box into a scary demon as seen in the photo.

But, what about the tequila inside you ask? Chamucos Reposado is a very smooth, high quality tequila therefore it does come at a slightly higher price point. The taste of the tequila is very fruity but with strong flavors from the oak barrels. I think the best highlight is the delicate balance between the fruit and the spice. It almost has the complexities of a pineapple jalapeno margarita. That being said, it could be a great candidate for a high end cocktail.

In summary, this is a great tequila but mild enough to lure in even the occasional tequila drinker. Those fruity notes make it dance across your tongue but finish with the nice spicy notes.




Lifestyle

What happened to Brooke Baldwin from CNN?

CNN's Brooke Baldwin

if you are asking the question, than you probably have been watching as much CNN as I have. With all that is going on in the world, its no surprise that some of the scheduling has been upended, especially given two CNN anchors have both tested and recovered from Covid-19. One of those anchors was Brooke Baldwin.

In early April, Brooke Baldwin posted that she has tested positive for Covid-19 which led to several weeks away from the her 2pm – 4pm time slot. After a full recovery, Baldwin returned to the desk and led us into this crazy election season. However, recently CNN executives made a change and there have been no responses from the network as to why she was replaced with Jake Tapper.

The CNN anchor fueled speculation she’s left the network after leaving a vague Instagram post saying Jake Tapper will ‘hold down’ her show until after the election. With so much important news going on, it was no surprise that fans took to grilling her as to why she would leave at such an important time in our history. Her response to the fan was ‘it’s not my choice’. 

It has been over a week since this transpired but there stll remains to be few details about what is happening. Some speculated it may have something to do with her health after battling the disease, but there has been no confirmation from any sources that her health is the reason behind the departure.

The comment that included the mention that she would see us after the election only added to the confusion if this was a permanent move by CNN or just a temporary programming shift as we lead up to the election. Like many changes that have been thrust upon up this year, this is just another one that we may need to just chalk up to the Coronavirus.

We wish the very best to Brooke and her husband and hope to see her return to the desk when this whole mess of an election is over!




Food

Classic Pea Salad

Pea Salad

Over the years, this has become of my favorite salads that my mom used to make. I still have the recipe written down on an index card, but have since updated it just a bit. Hoping that we will return to a world where there are parties and Summer BBQs soon, I decided to publish this recipe to get everyone thinking about something positive.

The main difference I have seen across recipes is the use of green onions or red onions. I love onions and don’t mind the red onions strong flavor, but if that’s not for you than try green onions. I also have noted that some recipes didn’t include cheddar cheese, but for me that is a key ingredient in the salad. The most important ingredient to me is the water chestnuts. I had a hard time finding these for awhile, so once I did, I stocked up on several cans.

1 Package of Frozen Peas
1 Canned and Cut Water Chestnuts
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1/4 Cup Red Onion
3 Pieces of Bacon Cooked and Crumbled

Dressing
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon ACV
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Salt & Pepper




Drink|Lifestyle

Spiked Seltzer Reviews

Hard Seltzers

For years, Mikes Hard Lemonade became our favorite line of beverages. Eventually we settled on Mike’s Lite Lemonade as it was healthy. Then the flavored seltzer water trend began and we started mixing them together. But Mikes recently discontinued their Lite version along with many others as they often due with certain flavors in their line up. Now we are forced to find another new favorite beverage in this new world of spiked seltzers and other lower calorie alcoholic beverages. So, we decided to record our journey of experimentation here.

First, lets point out there is a difference between sparkling water and seltzer. I actually wrote a post about it here. But, the lowdown is that sparkling water is naturally carbonated. If carbonation is added later, than its most likely a seltzer or club soda.

White Claw
White Claw is a spiked seltzer. This was the most obvious brand to start with, but with a ton of flavors, we decided to start with the variety pack (lemon, mango, tangerine and watermelon). We really started with this pack because it had a lemon variety. Who knew finding another lemon based drink would be so hard. I think of the four, mango was probably my favorite. The tangerine was especially orange flavored. The watermelon was also good and the lemon on its own didn’t get rated well. However, if you mix the lemon with other things it can be pretty good.

Truly
The next kind we tried was Truly. We also started with their variety back which featured Lime, Orange, Grapefruit and Lemon. I think the flavor of Truly appealed to me much for than the White Claw. White Claw seemed like the flavor was just a little too subtle. So, I decided to expand upon our Truly flavors and bought a different variety pack. This included a Wild Berry flavor which I think is amazing! Then, I also realized the Truly had a Lemonade, but only it was only available in a large 24 oz. can. I see on their site that they have a lemonade 4-pack, but haven’t seen that in any stores yet. The Classic Lemonade got pretty high scores especially when served over a big glass of ice. So, far Truly is in the lead.

Three Birds Hard Seltzer
The next brand we tried out was Three Birds Hard Seltzer. They added in a cucumber flavor to keep themselves original. I don’t mind a jalapeno cucumber tequila beverage, so I was intrigued. The one thing I realized when sampling, is that this particular hard seltzer is a wine-based beverage. If you are not a wine drinker, than this may not be the beverage for you. There is definitely a different texture and taste to this seltzer because it is wine based. Each can is still about 110 calories and 5% alcohol. It’s not quite as sweet as Truly and a bit more like White Claw.

Smirnoff Ice
This beverage is not marketed as a hard seltzer but was the most similar to Mike’s Lite than any other one we came across. I will note here that both the regular and Zero Sugar variety were not my favorites. My other half really like this so I thought it deserved a spot in the post. One thing about the Zero Sugar is it has a very sweet aftertaste maybe a bit of that fake sugar taste. Even when mixed with other things, the taste really stands out.

BonViv
This is actually one of the first brands of spiked seltzer that hit the market. Understanding the alcohol in the seltzer also helps understand the taste and flavor. Bon Viv is made with champagne yeast and not barley or wheat making it gluten free. However, I felt it almost gave it a wine after taste. I only tried some of the more popular flavors. This brand did not make the cut.

Truly Lemonade
For now, I am going to wrap up this post with a reference to my most recent post about the disappearance of Mike’s Hard Lite Lemonade. That is what began our journey to find a new lighter beverage. Not only is Truly’s Lemonade variety the hands down winner, but its plain lemonade version is probably the best replacement we have found.

Please, please comment below. Looking to hear about other’s experiences and favorite flavors!



Drink

Herradura Ultra Anejo Tequila Review

Herradura Ultra Anejo

Happy National Tequila Day 2020! With the Coronavirus still cancelling some of our favorite drinking holidays this year, I thought I would pick a really nice tequila for you to go out and blow some money on.

I have written about the trend of clear Anejo tequilas coming on the market. I previously reviewed Don Julios version last year. If you don’t know the difference between a silver or plato tequila and these clear anejo counterparts, please read on.

Anejo tequilas are aged much longer than other varietals. Because of this, they absorb much of their color from the barrel along with that deep smokey flavors you usually get with a good one. Silver tequilas aren’t aged long at all, so that’s why they remain clear. For these clear anejos, they follow the same aging process, but than are filtered many times. This filtering process pulls out some of the color and even some of that dark sugary taste.

What you are left with is a very very smooth tasting tequila that still has all the complexities of a normal anejo, but a very refined taste palate. What I like about Herradura tequilas, is their strong spicy profile. Here’s what the distiller says about this tequila: “With the perfect blend of our premium Añejo and Extra Añejo barrels, ULTRA is a crystal-clear tequila. A subtle hint of agave nectar offers a superior taste that will transport tequila connoisseurs beyond smoothness”.

Like many other Herradura tequilas, the beginning is very sweet with a powerful vanilla taste which is not uncommon for aged tequilas. But, where this tequila wins is the finish. It comes together with some spicy tons and ends very smoothly. Easily one of my favorite tequilas at the moment.

Food

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Enchiladas

These turned out to be great, but they do take a little time to pull everything together. I also used canned Green Chili Enchilada sauce, as you need the time to create the delicious filling.

First step is to take your cubed Butternut Squash and toss in some olive oil. My grocery store has it again the produce section, but I am seeing it frozen now as well. I also added in a large red pepper in large chunks to roast as well. Season well with salt, pepper, chili power and cayenne pepper than set aside.

Now take one whole white onion and caramelize those down. This process takes quite a while, but as they are close to done, throw your squash and pepper in a 450 degree over until nice and roasted. Once everything has cooled, toss in a bowl with a little green sauces and a cup and 1/2 of mozzarella cheese. At the very end, I toss in one small package of goat cheese than fill the enchiladas. Add Green Sauce on the bottom, layer in your enchiladas than cover with a little green sauce and a little cheddar. Trick tip: Stick they enchiladas in the oven until the cheese just starts to melt. Take out, add another layer of cheddar than cover everything with sauce. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Ingredients

Two Cups Butternut Squash
1 White Onion
1 Red Pepper
1 Package of Goat Cheese
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup cheddar (for the top)
2 Green Onions for Garnish

Bake the enchiladas until the cheese starts to brown, than cover and cook the remaining time. Approximately 30 minutes total. Let cool and serve. I personally might have added more goat cheese in place of some of the mozzarella so that goat cheese really stands out!

Food

Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken

Pulled Chicken

So, it was the 4th of July and we were having our first guest over since we all went into lockdown. So, it was a perfect opportunity to try out my second recipe in the Instapot. I had some great chicken breasts ready to be pressure cooked.

First I learned that the order you put everything in the pressure cooker is key. First some liquid, than your main ingredients and then seasoning and sauces. The recipe that I went by did specify a cup of water. So, I did my best to follow the instructions. I don’t know if I put in too much water, or if the vegetables I added released it, but after the first pressure cook, it looked a lot more like chicken soup than pulled BBQ chicken. I did ready a few comments that said theirs also turned out a bit watery, so they just sauted the meat and that solved their issue. Not so easy with mine.

Ingredients (In Order)
1/2 cup of water
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce

The instructions say to put it on high Pressure Cook for 15 minutes. That means a few minutes of warm up time and than 10 – 15 minutes to let the pressure release naturally, than opening up the quick release. I would consider pressure cooking for 20 – 25 minutes depending on how liquid your ingredients are.

Once this process is complete, I just took the chicken out and pulled it apart with a couple of forks, put it back in the Instapot, added some more BBQ sauce and turned on to Slow Cook until we were ready to eat. Though the chicken was delicious in its final state, this was a big learning curve on my second attempt.

Click here to read about my entire InstaPot journey!