Week In Review: Rhonda

Hey hey, and welcome back to a glimpse into my week.  Life has been a doozy lately with Claudia going through a phase of wanting all my attention, all the time.  I have tried to just embrace this phase of life and be thankful that I have the opportunity to watch her grow and learn and become a little lady.  Shit, it’s a challenge though.

She has been wild, dabbing and ridding her tricycle and playing Little Mama.

We did a lot of fun school lessons this week, learning about Arizona.  The kids love this state project we are working on.  Previously, they couldn’t really see past Texas or Mississippi.

Harper is absolutely obsessed with cooking and baking, so I have started to let go of a little control and let him in my beloved kitchen, mostly with free reign.  He decided to do cupcakes this week and they were delicious!  The cleanup wasn’t so fun though.

Quentin and Claudia helped me make my first roasted chicken (come back tomorrow for more about that experience) on Friday.  Then Saturday, we went to tour a possible wedding venue (now marked off the list).  In the evening, our friends came over to have drinks and dinner with us.  We had so much fun.  Lots of laughter.

On Sunday, the weather was sunny and perfect and Claudia wanted to play outside.  So we played in the driveway and ended up rolling out mats to lie down and soak up the sun.  After nap time, we went to a holiday parade.  We were so freaking late and parked a couple of miles away.  We were too late to get a good spot for viewing.  Quentin and Claudia took turns on Stuart’s shoulders.  I held Claudia on mine a little, but it was hurting with her dancing on my shoulders.  She’s a mess.  We enjoyed getting into the spirit of the season for sure!

Now onto Thanksgiving!  I can’t wait to have a good and hearty meal on Thursday and enjoy a long weekend together as a family.  AND PUT UP MY TREEEEEES!

How was your week?  Are you in total holiday mode yet?

Easy Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

Hello coffee lovers! You guys know that I love love love coffee. I particularly love a good trip to Starbucks. Cold coffee is my fave. Well. I like all my drinks cold. But yeah I love a good cold brew with cream or just regular iced coffee. Even though I do live for my daily trips to Starbucks, sometimes I crave my homemade cold brew…or sometimes my bank account is craving my homemade cold brew. 😉 Either way, I wanted to share with you guys how easy and inexpensive it is to make your own cold brew coffee at home!

Step One: Gather the necessary tools and ingredients

  • Large bowl – one with a spout is preferable
  • Tablespoon Measure
  • Bag of coffee grounds
  • Measuring cup that holds up to at least 6 fl oz
  • Coffee filters
  • Mesh strainer
  • Water
  • Pitcher with Lid

Step Two: Combine the coffee grounds and water

I use the tablespoon measure to scoop out the desired amount of coffee. I typically put 15 tablespoons in my bowl. This may seem like a lot, but just remember that your cold brew coffee could last you an entire week. So, after I put my 15 tbs of coffee grounds in the bowl I add the water. I put 6 oz of water per tablespoon of coffee grounds used. In this case, I used 90 oz of water. No stirring is necessary. If you were wondering. Also, I just use water from the tap. No fancy water needed! 😉

 

Step Three: Cover the bowl and refrigerate

I don’t have a lid for for my bowl which isn’t a big deal…I just cover it with tin foil. Anyway, I cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge for at least 12 hours. So set it and forget it!

Step Four: Strain the coffee grounds

After my coffee has brewed for at least 12 hours in the fridge,  I strain the coffee grounds from the liquid. This is the most time consuming part of the process, but it is totally worth it. I place my small mesh strainer over the top of the pitcher and place a coffee filter inside the strainer. Then…I pour the coffee through the filter. I usually will fill up a filter, let the coffee drain through, and then replace that filter before pouring more coffee. It’s not necessary to replace the filter after each pour, but I think using fresh filters for each pour makes the process go faster. That could be in my mind though. 😉

Now, beyond the actual process…just some tidbits about cold brew for you guys. Cold brew is not the same as iced coffee. In most cases iced coffee is literally hot coffee that has been poured over or into ice to cool it down. Sometimes iced coffee is a concoction made from using a dissolving instant coffee powder in cold water.  

Cold brew coffee depends on time rather than heat to extract the coffee’s oils, sugar, and caffeine from medium to coarse ground coffee. Cold brew coffee is also typically smoother and less bitter than heat brewed coffee AND more caffeine rich which is all a plus plus plus!  🙂

And there you have it! Easy peasy. Now you’ll have fresh made cold brew right at your fingertips in the comfort of your own fridge! Anddd if you need some of the supplies or ingredients I used click here for a curated list!

Buzzin’ Without the Belly – Low Carb Cocktails

Eating low carb is a lifestyle that Ashley and I have both lived for years.  Sure, we indulge in some chips and salsa and Chili’s margarita from time to time, but for the most part, we keep it clean.  Specifically, we follow the No Sugar No Grains lifestyle, which ends up being very low carb.

For years, I didn’t count my alcoholic beverages.  Those were my choice indulgences.  However, once I realized how much a weekly beer and a nightly glass of wine were hindering my weight loss and keeping my belly bloated, I knew I had to make some changes.  I decided to try vodka soda with lime as my go-to drink because it would be easy to make at home and order at any bar or restaurant.  That is still my standby drink, but I have made a few more flavorful drinks, along with some old favorites, to mix it up.

Today I bring to you my favorites, whether or not you eat well.

*It’s important to note that I drink Tito’s exclusively.  It’s delicious and made in Texas.  If you choose to go a cheaper route, you will feel the cheapness of it later.  Ouch.

You don’t have to choose the LaCroix brand.  They are just super fizzy, which I love.  I also buy the Simply Balanced Target store brand.  I wish bars and restaurants would carry flavored sparkling!

You have to actually like tequila to drink this margarita.  A lot of people like restaurant margaritas, but don’t actually like tequila.  Without all the sugary mixes, you will taste tequila.  My preferred brand is Milagro, but whatever you do, choose 100% agave.  It should be clear.  You don’t have a lot of control over this in a lot of bars, though.  Just go with it.  I like my rim salted.  That’s a personal choice.

There you have it, my favorite refreshing cocktails for summer!  Now get out there and mix one up this weekend!

 

Mimosa Me

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good mimosa.  What they may not realize is that I do not follow a simple bubbly + OJ combination.  Au Contraire.

Probably thirteen years ago, I didn’t have enough bubbly to make a mimosa, so I dug into my post-party freezer and pulled out some whipped cream flavored vodka.  I used it to substitute some of the bubbly.  I topped it off with OJ, and well, it was fucking magic.  On that Sunday hungover morning, I drank a fizzy creamsicle beverage like it was heaven’s clouds.

I never looked back and when I started visiting Stuart, we started our courtship with a proper hipster restaurant (Bolsa) brunch.  Then we we were going make mimosas at home the next time I came and so I told him my recipe.  He immediately loved it and we have had it every non-Bolsa weekend morning since.

One day, my friend Chrissy flew out to go to a concert with me.  Stuart made us brunch with mimosas her last morning here and after barely two she said, “Whew, I’ve never felt drunk off a couple of mimosas.”  We looked at each other and laughed.  “These aren’t regular mimosas. They have vodka.”

So, here is a guide to make the perfect SPECIAL mimosa.  Some of you will only be able to drink one.  Some of you will be able to drink 5 and I fucking salute you.  Come drink with us.

So, there’s not a recipe.  I mean, FFS, it’s a damn cocktail.  I don’t even measure out recipes that have specific measurements.  I’m never going to be that person.  So, my lovely fiance and bartender took pictures to show the approximate amounts he uses, and in what order.

First, you put in whipped vodka.  We use the Pinnacle brand.  I am sure there are other cream flavored ones.  Smirnoff vanilla works too. (Bae mistakenly bought cake vodka and HOLY FROSTING.  Don’t do that.  It’s too much.)

Second, add in some bubbly.   We use Cook’s or Andre most of the time.  It’s cheap and when mixed in with other stuff, you don’t know the difference.  Cook’s has the highest alcohol content.  So, you already know we get that most of the time.

At this point you should be 3/4 way to the rim.  Pour in your orange juice.  I don’t even bother with anything other than Simply Orange without pulp.

What? 3/4 of the glass is alcohol?? Yes. Yes, it is.

Get yo’ buzz on.

The next cocktail info I give you will be for how I make the perfect ZERO CARB vodka soda.

Drink up.