trick or trEAT WEEK: Fall Moscow Mules

There was no way I was going to let trick or trEat Week pass by without a fall inspired drink recipe.  And I have admitted on here before that I really am more of just a beer girl, but a post that consisted of: “1. Buy fall beer 2. Open fall beer 3. Drink fall beer” didn’t seem to interesting. Which led me to my mission for the perfect Fall Moscow Mule.  Now, it took some hard work and dedication, but I did it.  It’s all for you.  You’re welcome.


Ingredients:

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 3 oz apple cider
  • 1/2 a ginger beer
  • Ice
  • Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Apples slices

Directions:

  1. Fill your mug nearly to the top with ice.
  2. Add in the vodka, cider, and ginger beer.  Stop until everything is nice and mixed.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and garnish with the apple slice and cinnamon stick (because you’re fancy).
  4. Cheers!

***

This is the perfect way to cap off busy week.  It’s refreshing a delicious, but not too sweet.  It’s just the right amount of apple pie… in a copper mug… with booze.  It’s perfect.

Hope you enjoyed trick or trEat Week!  I loved getting an excuse to make (and eat) all of this scrumptious food.  I would love to know if you try any of these recipes out or any of your favorite fall foods.  Now, hopefully you enjoy a weekend full of yummy food and moscow mules. Cheers!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

trick or trEAT WEEK: Sausage and Squash Soup

I am a serious soup FANATIC.  Like, for real.  No exaggeration.  But, the people that I cook for (Brady, and Stetson before he moved his freeloading butt across the country) aren’t the biggest fans of just soup. They need something a little more substantial.  And frankly, so do I.  So, I found a basic squash soup recipe (that was a bit plain Jane) and added some of my favorite things to it.


Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 onion
  • 4 Cajun style sausages
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water
  • Goat chees (to top soup if you would like)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400* F.
  2. Chop everything! Meaning: peel and dice up the squash (just so it cooks a bit faster), roughly chop the onion, slice the sausage into bit-sized pieces, roughly chop the bell pepper, dice the sweet potato, and mince the garlic.
  3. Spread all of the chopped goodness out on a cookie sheet (I line mine with tin foil to make for easier clean up).  Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. After, place all of the squash into a large pot over medium heat.  Add about 2 cups water.  Using a hand held blender begin blending away until you get a nice smooth consistency. *If you don’t have a handheld blender (as I didn’t until Santa really came through last year) you can do this part in a food processor.  Just be sure to let the squash cool first, and it may take a bit extra time and patience.*
  5. Add about half of the rest of the baked goodies, EXCEPT the sausage, to the squash mixture.  Blend it all together, and add water as you feel you need to depending on your thickness preference.
  6. Once everything is blended and you have added the veggies and sausage, you can add in the remaining ingredients.  Stir everything together.
  7. Let the soup simmer over medium heat.  Then, serve with goat cheese and some nice toasty bread.

***

There is just something about homemade soup that screams FALL.  And I love any excuse to add squash to everything. Which  Brady isn’t normally the biggest fan of, but even he was grateful for this hearty soup on a chilly evening (being exhausted from grad school and a long day of parent/teacher conferences may have increased that gratitude just a bit…).

Enjoy! (And use this recipe as an excuse to buy yourself a nice little handheld blender– there is something very statisfying about pulverizing you own dinner.)

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

trick or trEAT WEEK: Perfect Fall Steak Side

A perfectly seasoned and expertly cooked steak has to be one of the all-time best meals EVER.  It is a hands-down favorite of mine. So, I try to incorporate it into my menu at least once a week.

And possibly the best part of a steak dinner is that I don’t actually have to make it.  Brady takes the head chef role and I happily take a backseat.  So, on these nights I try to make an easy– but, still yummy– side to accompany the main dish (because I think if Brady had his way we would just eat the hunk of meat, drink a beer, and call it a night).  This Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussles Sprout dish is the absolute perfect match and perfect for fall.


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups brussles sprouts
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 3 Tbsp. syrup (honey or brown sugar would work as well)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400* F and line a cookie sheet with tin foil.
  2. Chop everything! Meaning: cut the sprouts in half, dice the sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces (you can peel your potatoes, but I don’t– someone told me once that the skin has the nutritious bits and I’m a little lazy), chop the pecans into your desired size, and add in your cranberries.
  3. Spread your chopped mixture onto the lined baking sheet.  I prefer to keep my brussles spouts on one half and then the sweet potatoes, pecans, and cranberries on the other half.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil, salt and pepper evenly over the sprouts.  Drizzle the syrup over the potato mixture.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Mix everything together and serve alongside your favorite main dish (steak–duh.).

***

This side truly feels like Thanksgiving.  It’s hearty and sweet and savory and all-around-fantastic.  If you are needing a push to get you into the holiday spirit this may be just what you need.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

trick or trEAT WEEK: Southwest(ish) Burritos

Day 2 of trick or tr Eat week calls for burritos! Really any day calls for burritos in my opinion.


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 2 jalapeños (seeded and diced)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 bell pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 -10 flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. As the oven is heating place the spinach in the oven to wilt.
  3. In a large bowl combine the chicken, wilted spinach, black beans, corn, jalapeños, onion, bell pepper, cheese, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Mix everything together.
  4. Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of filling mixture (don’t waste your time measuring, just make sure the burritos are fat and happy). Roll it up and place them seam side down in the baking dish.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes (until the tops get a bit golden brown).  Serve with salsa, sour cream, and a delicious fall beer.

***

I love any and all Mexican food, so you just can’t go wrong with burritos in my book.  The prep (chopping and chopping and chopping) takes a bit of time, but I like to get that done on some lazy day– usually Sunday– while I watch endless episodes of The Office on Netflix.  Then, I get the burritos all ready and pop them in the fridge.  On whatever night we decide to have burritos all I have to do is put these in the oven.  It’s absolutely perfect.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney 

trick or trEAT WEEK: Cranberry Scuffins

Welcome to trick or trEAT Week here at MGG, where each day this week I will be sharing one of my favorite fall recipes.  All of the recipes are completely delicious, and completely manageable for the culinary-challenged.

These little guys have been a repeat-recipe for me ever since my roommate found this recipe and let me eat approximately 70% of the dough each time she made these (thanks Kelsey from abalancingpeach).  They are a perfect grab-and-go breakfast (with a hard-boiled egg, so I feel like I at least attempted to get some protein), mid-day snack, or after-dinner treat.

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg*The original recipe came from Glamour, but this one has been adapted to fit my taste, my budget and the fall season.

Ingredients:

  • 7 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries
  • 4 oz. cream cheese

*The original recipe uses plain yogurt, and then adds way more sugar.  I’ve found I like how the this tastes better.  Also, the original uses blueberries (which I love in the summer).

Directions:

  1. Line your muffin tin with wrappers and preheat your oven to 400* F.
  2. In a saucepan melt the butter.  Once melted, remove the pan from heat.  Add in the oil, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs.  Whisk this all together until smooth.
  3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture (you’re technically supposed to make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet mixture into that little well… I’ve found that makes absolutely no difference, but if you’re feeling fancy: go for it.) and mix until everything comes together.  You should end up with a really sticky dough.
  5. Pour in the cranberries and stir until they are nice and mixed in.
  6. Fill each little muffin tin cup about 3/4 full with the dough.  Then, add a nice dollop of cream cheese (about 1 tsp. but don’t waste your time and patience measuring that out) to each muffin.  Top each muffin off with the remainder of the dough.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

***

Kelsey and I call these Scuffins because they are some sort of cross between a scone and a muffin.  And they are adorable, just like the name.

I love that these feel more substantial than a regular muffin, but I can pretend as if they a re a teeny bit healthy because they have fruit AND greek yogurt in them!  They are super easy.  Plus, they make your tummy nice and full and your house smell fantastic.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

PERFECT WEEK NIGHT DINNER

5 ingredients…

10 minutes of prep…

Almost no clean up…

I’m here to let you in on a crazy simple and delicious dinner. It’s hands down my favorite week night dinner (aside from a frozen pizza, ice cream, and wine, but this is just a smidge healthier).   Ingredients:

5 oz. salmon portion (1 per hungry mouth)

1 bunch asparagus 

1 container cherry tomatoes 

Balsamic vinegar

Pesto

*Aluminum foil and baking sheet

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Rip off 4 squares of aluminum foil (each should be about 6 x 6; or whatever you conceive to look like a square- you seriously can’t mess this up). Place 2 on the on the baking sheet and set the other 2 aside for later. 
  3. Snap the bottom root part off the asparagus. Then, divide the asparagus between the 2 pieces of foil. 
  4. Sprinkle your desired amount of balsamic oil over the asparagus. 
  5. Place the salmon on top of the asparagus. 
  6. Spread your desired amount of pesto (I use a heaping tablespoon) on top of each piece of salmon. 
  7. Cut the tomatoes in half. Divide the tomatoes and place the on top of the salmon. 
  8. Take the left over 2 pieces of foil and cover the salmon, making a pouch of sorts. 
  9. Cook the salmon for 20- 25 minutes and enjoy!

And that’s it! 

I love this dinner for those nights that are just way too busy. Like those nights when you’re trying to finish laundry so you have undies in the morning, when you’re way behind on blog posts, and doing your best to mentally prepare for 125 middle schoolers showing up in your classroom the next day… Yeah, it’s perfect for those nights.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

I SUCK AT CLEANSING

After a few weeks of too many beers, greasy food, unusually high amounts of stress(even with the tolerance I have built due to my constantly-stressed-about-the-most-trivial-things-self) and travel, I decided my body seriously needed a cleanse. I needed to restart, reboot, and to stop feeling like complete crap (so far in this post I have said sucks and crap– both words my mom hates but are totally necessary). So, I ordered my first ever juice cleanse from Pressed Juicery.

And like any good girlfriend, I forced Brady to do it with me. 


We opted for the Cleanse 1, which was designed for beginners. Here’s a little run down of how my day spent cleansing went:

Vanilla Almond Milk- 7:30 am

  • Almonds, dates, vanilla bean, sea salt

This was the perfect way to start my day. The milk was sweet without being too sweet, and actually filled me up. 

Greens- 9:45 am

  • Kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon

We got to drink this as our post-workout drink. I missed my normal eggs with a ridiculous amount of hot sauce for breakfast, but wasn’t too upset. 

Roots- 12:00 pm

  • Carrot, kale, romaine, spinach, parsley, apple, ginger

Surprisingly, I didn’t find myself starving before lunchtime. This juice definitely wasn’t my favorite though. Probably because I had had green juices and almond milk before, but this was totally new to me. 

*1:53 pm- Brady texts me to let me know he has cracked and had 2 small handfuls of trail mix. 

Citrus- 2:oo pm

  • Pineapple, apple, lemon, mint

This was definitely my favorite juice (closely tied with the almond milks). At this point I was pretty happy and feeling confident that I could finish this thing strong. 

Greens- 5:00 pm

  • Kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, ginger

This is about when the juices started to wear on me. I told Brady I wasn’t feeling exceptionally hungry, but I missed food. (I truly just love food. Like a lot. No exaggeration: I think about it at least 3 times an hour. I even dreamed about Chinese food last night.) This is when I started to research foods you could eat while doing this particular cleanse. 

Chocolate Almond Milk- 7:15 pm

  • Almonds, dates, cacao, sea salt

I loved this! It was like a perfect desert to look forward to throughout the day. It did not disappoint. 

Baked Sweet Potato- 7:20 pm

We had too. And we added barbecue sauce. Now, technically the cleanse guidelines said that sweet potato was an acceptable food if you needed some. The barbecue sauce, however, was not recommended. 

Nachos From My Favorite Restaurant Downtown/Large Cookie Doigh Blizzard- 8:00 pm

We have no self control. I love spicy food. Brady loves sweets. So, we compromised and got both. We felt absolutely no shame. 

I suck at cleansing. 

Basically, I like the idea of incorporating a jam-packed-with-health-and-goodness juice into your routine. But going all day on just juice is not for me. I like the balance of healthy meals, working out, a healthy juice, and a nice treat for yourself. That’s much more my style and WAY more realistic. 

Honestly, the almond milks and the pineapple juice were pretty enjoyable. I didn’t even mind the green juices (the roots juice was a bit of a different story). I recommend picking some up to use as a healthy snack or an occasional meal replacement. 

I want to know any cleansing advice you have or any juicing stories I should hear. I’m always open to trying it out, so let me know! Even if I did fail miserably…

Thanks for reading, 

Sydney

5 BEERS YOU NEED TO TRY THIS SUMMER

I’ve been on a serious summer-lovin’ (and posts that include lists…) kick lately, in case you haven’t noticed. 

So, I knew I needed to share with you my round-up of my favorite summer beers. I have them all listed below with my very sorry attempt at beer-snobbery in describing their tastes. (Really, keep your expectations low on the descriptions and just try these out for yourself.)


The Beers That Have Made My Intense Favorite Beer Screening Process:

  • New Belgium Heavy Melon- This is definitely my newest favorite beer! It’s sweet and summery, but still has a hint of lime to keep it nice and crisp. Now, this isn’t an all day beer, however it works perfectly to sip on while you grill or get ready for some backyard festivities. 
  • Left Hand Brewing Good Juju- If you  like a classic beer with a twist, this is an absolute must. There’s a teeny hint of ginger that is super refreshing, without being in your face.  I prefer to pair this beer with an intense game of corn hole: the Good Juju improves my aim. 
  • New Belguim Summer Helles- Ok, I am slightly New Belguim biased.  Fort Collins is just so close and the beers are just so good. Plus, this beer is completely different than the Heavy Melon, but equally delicious. This beer is light without being hoppy, and that’s a big deal for me. Summer means I want light beers, but I’m a dark beer girl at heart so it can be hard to find. Luckily, I have this one. 
  • Leinenkugel’s Grapefruit Shandy- Grapefruit is very trendy right now. I mean it’s all over Instagram (it totally accents the all-white-er’ything-aesthetic). This beer isn’t just a fleeting trend though. It’s an amazing balance of citrus and beer– not overpowering, and just tart enough. 
  • Boddingtons Pub Ale- So, this is not a seasonal beer– I just prefer to drink it in the summer. I love beers that are on nitro (like Guiness), but I don’t really want a dark beer in the summer. This fills that void. It feels like a nitro, while staying delightfully light. And it accompanies a night of front porch swinging (along with mosquito swatting) perfectly. 

I would love, love, love to hear your favorite summer beer picks. Strictly for research/blog purposes, of course… Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

EASY, DELICIOUS LOADED SWEET POTATO FRIES

These loaded sweet potato fries have become a quick go-to recipe for me. And I’m sure I’ll be busting them out even more in the next few months. You may already know I love the outdoors and mascara, but baseball is another serious obsession of mine (well mostly the being in the sunshine and greasy food part, but I have my favorite players and am starting to get the hang of all the incredibly specific rules)!

Killer fries deserve to be accompanied by my new Yeti coozie (thanks to the coolest Easter Basket from Brady’s parents) and autographed Boog Powell hat.

It’s f i n a l l y baseball season! That means beers and sunshine and ballpark food. And most importantly it means that summer is right around the corner. And although that corner may be partially blocked by snow, ice and slush here in Laramie, I can at least feel like summer is on the way.
It’s pretty hard to compete with a hot dog served up right at the ball park between innings. But these loaded sweet potato fries can really hold their own when you need to put in a call to the bull pen and make some at-home ballpark grub. (I’m pretty sure was that was my first/last baseball food metaphor.)

 Ingredients:

  • 20 oz frozen sweet potato fries (I used Alexia’s spicy ones and loved them)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 3/4 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbs red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Bake the sweet potato fries according to their package instructions.
  2. Combine the corn, chili powder, and red pepper flakes into a small skillet. Put it on medium heat and roast until they are golden brown (about 15 minutes).
  3. Drain the black beans and put them in a medium sauce pan on medium low heat. Just let them warm up there while everything cooks.
  4. Once fries are done cooking top them with the black beans and corn.
  5. Add the queso fresco and cilantro.
  6. Mix the juice and the zest of the lime into the sour cream. You can put this on top of the fries or leave it on the side as a dipping sauce.

These are absolutely delicious and super easy to make (and if you read the title of this post I’m sure you’re thinking”duh, that’s exactly what you promised”), plus they look really pretty which I am a big fan of.

Now they may not be the Chesapeake Fries or Boog’s BBQ from Camden Yards– my all time favorite ballpark food– but they will definitely be a staple at my house this season.

Please let me know some of your favorite baseball season recipes. It’s a long season and I have lots of afternoons I plan to fill with ball games, beer, and way too much food.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

THE BEST STOUT IRISH COFFEE

I think most things in life should be celebrated with coffee, whiskey, or a combo of the two. And this Irish Coffee recipe perfectly mixes the two. Plus, it includes a stout simple syrup that is a serious game changer. 

I don’t have much green, but this Wyoming mug is perfect for today.

Actually, I had a different post all written up and ready to go for today, but after looking at all the snow outside my window this morning I changed my mind. I just had to share the best Irish Coffee recipe with you. It being St. Party’s Day didn’t hurt either. 

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. of your favorite stout beer
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 oz. fresh brewed coffee (I like a dark roast to help balance the sweetness)
  • Jameson whiskey and/or Bailey’s Irish cream to taste
  • Heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg (optional, but strongly encouraged)

*I love this recipe because I always fill my growler with my favorite stout beer at our local brewery, and it never fails that I’m left with one beer at the bottom I don’t finish that falls flat. Stout simple syrup is the perfect way to put it to use. 

Directions

  1. Combine stout and brown sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat. Let the mixture simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Once cooled, stir about 1 oz. of your stout simple syrup in with your coffee. Stir until mixture has totally dissolved. 
  3. Mix in whatever Irish goodness you want. I personally go for Bailey’s and whiskey, but it’s totally personal preference. 
  4. Heat up your desired amount of cream. If I’m feeling fancy I do this with my milk frother, but the microwave works fine as well. You just want to make the consistency a bit thicker.
  5. Add cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the top and enjoy!

You never need an excuse for a quality drink recipe (within reason…obviously I’m not suggesting you load this up into your travel mug and head off to work).

Of course if you were looking for a fitting excuse St. Patty’s Day would definitely work. So, enjoy some Irish Coffee this morning, or as an afternoon pick-me-up, or with brunch this weekend. 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney