Life Tastes So Good

Exploring life one taste at a time.

Liquid Luck.

 “May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring you bright,

 happy hours that stay with you all the year long.”

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St. Patrick’s day is tomorrow! Like most people I have to work so we decided to have our own celebration today! I’m not a huge drinker and really don’t like beers like Guinness however certain times of the year its acceptable to enjoy a cold one. Have you ever thought about which beers are the top Irish beers? I mean we know beer is beer but which ones are Irish and which ones are, well, not? Here’s a list of the top Irish beers:

Beamish Stout

Guinness Draught

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Ohara’s Celtic Stout

Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout

Harp Lager

Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Murphy’s Irish Red

Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Visit this site for more details on each beer.

Not in the mood for a cold beer? I got you covered!

I usually don’t drink beer either so I of course made a back up. This is possibly the easiest to make as well!

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All you need is:

A cup

A shot glass

Mango Juice

Pineapple Juice

Coconut Rum

Melon Liquor

Optional: Liquid Green Food Coloring

Measure out 1 shot of coconut rum, 1 shot of melon liquor, 3 shots of pineapple juice,

3 shots of mango juice — pour all into a shaker with ice (optional liquid green food coloring, if you want a more vibrant green color).

Give a quick shake or two and pour into a glass of choice.

Drink up! Told you it was easy! I’m a simple kind of gal.

No matter what drink you decide to enjoy St. Patrick’s day, please enjoy responsibly.

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Mango Habanero Salsa

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So it’s almost game day y’all! Even if you don’t like football odds are you will end up at a super bowl party or hosting one and even if you don’t I’ll never tell that you made this amazing salsa just for yourself. Your secret is safe with this chick. I love this salsa due to the sweet and hot mixture going on plus it is completely vegan for any friends that are vegan. That’s all folks. American Horror Story’s season finally is on tonight and I have a date with popcorn, yoga pants, and a glass of wine.

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Mango-Habanero Salsa

12 or so tomatoes of small-medium sized (I used roma tomatoes)

2 mangos, whole, peeled and sliced into slices.

2 cloves garlic, roasted

1 jalapeno pepper, fresh

1 habanero pepper, fresh

1 tsp sea salt

½ cup cilantro, chopped

2 green limes, juice only

What to do:

Clean tomatoes and remove stems. For the tomatoes grill under indirect heat, turning often until skin starts to split, remove from heat. Next, Grill mango slices for about 5-6 minutes about 2 1/2 minutes per side, or until grill likes are noticeably visible. Now grill all the peppers until skin blackens and blisters a bit also turning a few times, peppers will take a little longer to blacken and split than the tomatoes. Don’t worry it will happen. Meanwhile put on garlic on the grill with skin still on, leave on the grill garlic feels “soft”.

Now put tomatoes in processor or blender, half speed or on the lowest setting, and pulse until just chopped.

Peel peppers (if you would like), remove seeds and add to processor. Take caution when cleaning the habanero to use gloves or clean pepper under running water. Coarsely chop mango, along with roasted garlic, in processor and pulse again until it is at your desired texture. I liked mine more liquefied than most, this part is completely a matter of preference.  Squeeze fresh lime juice and add salt. Stir and pour into jar or bowl of choice.Mix all together to taste.

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Ratatouille.

You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work,

and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from.

Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook…

but only the fearless can be great. – Ratatouille, Disney Movie

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This week had been a gloomy rainy week here in Texas. We stayed inside all weekend and watched wonderful Disney movies including Ratatouille. If you have never seen the movie Ratatouille I seriously recommend it! It has a wonderful message for kiddos and grown ups alike. This film inspired my next recipe and I hope you get to watch the movie perhaps while making this meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Ratatouille recipe

½ Of a medium sized yellow onion (diced)
1 eggplant
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 Yellow squash (2 if they are on the smaller side)
4 tomatoes (If you can find large ones use 2)
1 can of tomato puree
2 garlic cloves (I put mine in a garlic press, but you can finely chop them as well)
Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil

Pre-heat oven at 375°F

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, or round, whatever you have will work, you just might end up with extra. Also add 2 table spoons of olive oil to the tomato puree, add garlic stir until it is all incorporated together.

Carefully slice all the veggies into very thin slices, “rings” per say.
On top of the tomato sauce, at a slight angle start stacking veggies in dish. (as pictured above.)
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them. Lightly coat top of veggies with herbes de Provence, salt and pepper.
Cover dish with a piece of parchment, try to cut it as close as the shape of the dish.

Bake for approximately 45 to a hour, until veggies are tender. Take caution not to over cook or plating will be difficult.

(For vegan/vegetarian version just disregard the next recipe.)

Meat Sauce Topping

½ Tsp Sea Salt
½ Cup cubed Egg Plant
¼ Cup Diced yellow onion
3 Tbs. of Herbs De Providence
½ Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Can (10.75 oz) Tomato Puree
1 Lb of Ground beef met

In a medium sized pot, cook meant on med-high until well done, Drain excess oil.
Return ground meat to pot and add onion and egg plant, garlic, herbs, and salt allow to cook for another 10 minutes or until onions are tender stirring occasionally.

Lower the heat to a simmer (you can typically use the lowest heat setting for this) and add in the tomato puree to meat. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes and a very low heat setting.

Remove from heat, and spoon desired portion on to Ratatouille (or pasta).

Top dish with shredded mozzerella and enjoy!

 

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Candied Carrots

“Sometimes, it’s just easier to say yes to that extra snack or dessert, because frankly, it is exhausting to keep saying no. It’s exhausting to plead with our kids to eat just one more bite of vegetables.”

Michelle Obama

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Some days it really is a struggle to get my kids to eat anything, more so something good for them. However, even with their great dislike of many foods, they love carrots.  No really. I think they may be part bunny! Ha. Either way there are a few ways my kids will eat carrots and candied is defiantly one of them. Hopefully you can get your little ones to try these.  We all enjoy these at my house they are just sweet enough.

PS they are also pretty simple to make which when cooking with toddlers around is always a plus.

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Candied Carrots

What You Need:

3 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1/4 Tsps. Nutmeg

1/2 Dark Brown Sugar (Packed)

3 Tbsp. of Butter

1/2 Tbsp. of Parsley (fresh preferred but dried will work)

What To Do:

In a pot either steam or boil carrots until tender. (It’s up to y’all which way you prefer)

Once carrots are tender remove from heat, drain if needed, and set aside.

In a pan warm up butter and syrup on Med-High, add nutmeg, parsley. Slowly add in brown sugar, make sure to whisk often to avoid burning the sugar. The liquid will look bubbly, just continue to stir until reaches enough thickness that it will not run off a spoon when held up.

Add carrots, taking caution not to add any additional water from the carrots.

Continue to cook on Med-High until carrots are coated with sauce.

Once coated add fresh pepper and salt to taste.

Enjoy!

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Sangria Floats

“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.” – Plautus

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On my way to work the other day I was running extremely early and there just happens to be a Target right where I exit the freeway. Darn the luck! I zipped in and found a few things I actually needed and also picked up this months copy of Food  Network Magazine.

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This June copy has some crazy good recipes and ideas to try out among them this little gem I found about Sangria Floats. What perfect drink for a hot summer day! These completely customizable bad boys are easy enough to make that you can have a family/friends barbeque serve these and not have to slave in the kitchen missing all the fun of having guests over. I hope you enjoy as much as I did sipping one of these while my kids played in the pool. I mean it did hit about 105* this weekend y’all; It’s officially summer in Texas!

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What You Will Need:

Bottle of your favorite Sangria

Container of Sherbet (Flavors vary, I used Pineapple because pineapple is my favorite)

Fruit for Garnish

What to Do:

For best results chill glass before hand for at least 3o minutes in the freezer.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out sherbet in ball formation. Fill glass with anywhere from three to four scoops depending on the size of your glass. Slowly pour over the Sangria over the Sherbet until glass if full.

Garnish with fruit if desired, and enjoy!

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Family Secrets.

Tip of the day: Okay, I totally got this tip from a child. I think she was eight at the time she shared this very interesting information (that now that I’m a mom comes in very handy!). So let’s say you wrote on something, Plastic Or Glass, with a “Sharpie” and you miss spell the word or realized you labeled it wrong, what are you to do? Well as the little girl told me get a dry erase board marker, color over the “sharpie” writing thoroughly, wait about 5 seconds and then wipe both markers clean. Gone. Bamh. Magic! I was in awe with the little girl wrote on our dry erase board at work then did her magic trick. Now being a mommy it comes in handy when my kids “oops” and get a Sharpie instead of a Crayola marker and color on my table.

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Every family, I mean every family, has some kind of family cooking secret, and folks I’m going to share one of ours today with you. I am not 100% sure where my family got this “recipe/idea” but since I can remember we have always used these little suckers to cook.

Basically these are little cubes of flavor, super easy flavor. To make the ones my family makes all your need is the following:

A whole white onion

A whole garlic head

A entire bushel of cilantro

One green bell pepper

Water as needed

What you do: Cut down all the “goods” into small enough pieces to fit inside your blender. Blend them all in the blender, add a small amount of water just enough to make the consistency of that of a smoothie. Using ice cube trays, ones you don’t mind staining, pour the “smoothie” on the trays evenly. We typically then carefully set them inside plastic store bags and then in the freezer just because I always spill it in the freezer, but if you’re more cautious then I, skip that step and freeze the “smoothie” until solid.

We have a specific container that we use to store the “Smoothie Cubes”, just a typical twist top container you can buy at your local Walmart or Target, nothing special.

We used these cubes in just about anything, and the great thing about them is, this is completely customizable. Although then it wouldn’t be my family secret anymore….it’s okay i’ll never tell. What ever are your Go To fresh ingredients you can whip ’em up and make them into easy to use cubes. This also avoids having veggies that you buy and love from spoiling in your fridge and having to use prepackaged items full of preservatives and other not so great goodies. Fresh is best.

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