Eat Happy: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Hey hey and welcome back! We’re doing a weekly series that publishes every Tuesday wherein we are cooking through one of our FAVE cookbooks : Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We started with the very first recipe and are working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook. We WILL be sharing our experience during the whole process and our opinion of the outcome. Thanks for being here. Let’s get into it.

Let me just start by saying, I did NOT want to make this.  Okay, I admit that I love bacon and goat cheese and things like that, but dates?  It’s a no for me, dawg.

However, I fully trust Anna and her recipes.  I can usually see the appeal with a food I don’t like.  I don’t eat dates because they are incredibly sugary, and well…. they are ugly.

Just look at em!

I have eaten them plenty of times, pulverized into foods as sweetener…namely, in Larabars which I used to eat the shit out of until I realized all that sugar was doing me no favors.  Just straight up?  Naw.

Overall, this is the type of recipe I tend to shy away from because I hate the tedium of wrapping shit in bacon or stuffing anything.  Turns out the most tedious part of the process was waiting for the bacon to reach room temperature.  I hadn’t read through the recipe ahead of time and was just sitting there like…

I went ahead and popped some goat cheese peppers in the oven too since I had just bought some mini peppers.

These things tasted amazing while cooking, but then I had to talk myself into taking a bite.

 

They were nice and caramelized and better than I expected, but I still just can’t with dates.  Claudia tried a bite and liked it until she looked down at it and decided it was ugly.

If you like dates, this is for you.  In fact, come on over and get these.

Eat Happy: Broccoli Dip

Hi there.  Welcome back! We’re doing a weekly series that publishes every Tuesday wherein we are cooking through one of our FAVE cookbooks : Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We are starting with the very first recipe and working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook. We WILL be sharing our experience during the whole process and our opinion of the outcome. So thanks for stopping by…and let’s dive in to this week’s recipe shall we?


Sooo this week I made Anna’s Broccoli Dip, and let me just tell you that liking broccoli is not required to like this dip. Cause ya know…per usual – I don’t really care for broccoli. It’s honestly really just a texture thing. All those little balls… I just don’t care for a bunch of tiny balls in my mouth. It reminds of grits. I never like grits for that very reason.

But yeah – enough ball talk. Let’s get to the dip!

Dips are my fave. I love a dip. I could eat a dip for an entire meal. In fact, I did that with this dip.

I did have some mishaps while making this dip which actually have nothing to do with the dip itself, just me needing to get my life together. Want to indulge me and let me rant for a bit? I mean. Thank goodness this is a one sided conversation, because I’m gonna do it anyway. 😉

  • Obviously this is Wednesday…and these posts are supposed to go up on Tuesdays. Can we say blogger fail?
  • Broccoli seriously stinks when you steam it. Like my whole house smelled terrible. HOWEVER, I am super glad it stunk because I went to throw out the offending left over broccoli florets and remembered that I had forgotten to take the trash to the curb! So I mean, thank you Anna for helping me to remember to get that full trash can out.
  • Instead of pre mincing my shallot before throwing it in the food processor, I just threw it in there and let the food processor do the work. People. Then my house smelled like raw onion and steamed broccoli. Not a great combination. I lived through it though and got a delicious dip as a result.
  • Prior to getting this post up, I got hit with one of those “throw everything out, clean everything up” moods. Like, I couldn’t function unless I went through the fridge and pantry, mopped my floors, got all the sheets and blankets stripped from the bed for washing….etc. I almost slipped and busted my ass on my freshly mopped floors. So that was fun.

So ANYWAY – despite all those things I made it here to my computer with the most yummy broccoli dip I have ever tasted. I had planned on sharing this with my mom….but it may not make it to work tomorrow. Sorry mom! 🙂

It’s super easy to whip up. Mine turned out more green than the one pictured in Eat Happy, but I kind of like it that way. I thought about how it would make a cute festive Christmas Holiday dip since it was so green. I also added some chili flakes to the top for a little more heat. As Anna suggested in Eat Happy, this dip would be great with fresh veggies, but all I had on hand were pork rinds which are also serving as the perfect vessel for this dip!

So good.  You guys so need to purchase this book and make this dip! It is seriously yummy and seriously good for you. Why? Cause: no sugars and no grains! 🙂 🙂

Thanks for stopping by today!


If you want to read through our other Eat Happy posts…I’ve got them all lined up for ya!

Eat Happy: Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

Eat Happy: Kale Chips & Deviled Eggs with Greek Yogurt

Eat Happy: Cheese Biscuits

Eat Happy: Sausage Stuffed Mushroom

Eat Happy: Tzatziki Dip & Almond Meal Pita Chips

Eat Happy: Super Guac! & Smoked Salmon w/ Coconut Flour Blini

Eat Happy: Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches & Cheese Crisps

Eat Happy: Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

 
Welcome back to our Tuesday post, where we share our experience with cooking through the best cookbook on earth: Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We are starting with the very first recipe and working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook, because you should be buying the book to support the author.  However, we will be telling you about our experience with the process, as well as our opinion of the outcome.  Let’s do this.

I was really excited to do this recipe.  I love cheesy anything and love working with mini peppers.  I underestimated this simple little gem though.

As usual, I had grocery shopping misadventures when preparing for this recipe.  There were NO regular bags of mini peppers left like I usually buy.  There was ONE bag of organic, which doesn’t have as many peppers but I had to just roll with it.  It left me wondering though, what in the fuck is happening mid-March that everyone needs peppers?!

After a WalMart, a Target, and a local grocery store, I still couldn’t find the specific goat cheese the recipe requires.  I had to stop in the grocery store to look up what’s so special about that cheese.  I discovered that it’s made creamy like a spread, instead of crumbled like the one I could find.  I decided to just roll with it.

The cheese was a little difficult to get into the peppers and had just as much all over my countertop, but it was fine.  They smelled absolutely DIVINE while they were cooking!

I didn’t realize until I pulled them out of the oven that I forgot fresh herbs, so I foraged around in my spice cabinet and emerged with my finest dried parsley.

Absolutely could not stop eating these and had to force myself to save 3 for Stuart to try.  100% will be making these again…soon.

Eat Happy: Kale Chips & Deviled Eggs with Greek Yogurt

Hi there.  Welcome back! We’re doing a weekly series that publishes every Tuesday wherein we are cooking through one of our FAVE cookbooks : Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We are starting with the very first recipe and working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook. We WILL be sharing our experience during the whole process and our opinion of the outcome. So thanks for stopping by…and let’s dive in to this week’s recipe shall we?


Today’s post is a joint effort. Rhonda is handling the Kale Chips and Ashley is going for the deviled eggs. 🙂

Rhonda –

I am no stranger to kale chips.  I hate the ones you can buy in the store, but have always enjoyed making them at home for a crispy snack.  When I looked over Anna’s recipe, I thought, cool… I just need to buy kale and White Balsamic Vinegar.  Easy, right?  LOL.

Truth be told, my kale chip experience was supposed to go up last week, but I have struggled to find the white balsamic.  I have gone to every store in my area.  I finally gave up and decided to use the regular balsamic that I have at home.

 

Listen, the recipe calls for washing and drying and cutting up a bunch of kale.  Ain’t nobody got time for that when the store sells it in giant bags already prepped.  I used to eat a lot of kale and I have never bought it in any other form.

One thing that makes cooking more enjoyable for me, along with having a drink and dancing to some loud music, is having cooking tools that I enjoy.  I recently got these copper pinch bowls at Target and am pretty much OBSESSED.  I also got a new set of measuring cups and spoons because we were missing so many.  That mixing bowl?  Yep, it’s new too because I never have any the size I need!

Anyway, these were quick to prep and they cooked in half the time, thanks to me using prepped kale.  The pieces are smaller than they would have been if I had used a bunch and cut it myself.

I have made kale chips probably 30 times, and loved them every time.  These were on another level though and I will absolutely be making them again.  I mean, I do have a giant prepped bag of kale to go through now.

 

 

Ashley –

Sooo, deviled eggs? Listen, I’m southern so I for sure love some deviled eggs. They’re like a staple in our diet around here. Granted – typically they are loaded with unnecessary things like cornbread or some other form of bread crumb BUT  we are still down with the deviled egg here in the south.

I baked my eggs instead of boiling them. Y’all – it’s so much easier. Thank you to Rhonda for introducing me to that life hack.

Besides the absence of some kind of grain being stuffed into these bad boys – Anna’s Deviled Eggs are missing that usual key deviled egg ingredient : mayonnaise.  If I had to admit any kind of apprehension when making these, it would be that I was for sure that without mayo these bad boys wouldn’t taste quite right.

I literally had an internal battle raging the entire time of… maaaaybe I could just put like a dollop of mayo in the mix. I repeatedly had to tell myself to trust Anna – cause she hasn’t let me down yet. 🙂  OH and the green onions. Cause I’m just not a raw onion (of any kind) fan. Again, I trusted Anna.

I ‘got fancy’ as Anna said and put my deviled egg filling in a zip lock baggie to dispense it into the egg halves. Why? In actuality, it was because that was way less messy than spooning it into each egg half. Also, I may or may not – ok actually I did – eat some of the filling straight from the zip lock bag when I was finished filling all my eggs. It’s so good man. So good. I didn’t even miss the mayo! Nor did I mind the green onions. I was shook.

Now, because I’m from the south I couldn’t resist sprinkling the filled eggs with some kind of red spice. Typically people use paprika – I like things real spicy so I grabbed some chili powder. To be fair, I did taste one without the chili powder and it was delicious. 🙂 So good – and so good for you cause there’s no pesky grains or sugars added to these babies.

 


If you want to read through our other Eat Happy posts…I’ve got them all lined up for ya!

Eat Happy: Cheese Biscuits

Eat Happy: Sausage Stuffed Mushroom

Eat Happy: Tzatziki Dip & Almond Meal Pita Chips

Eat Happy: Super Guac! & Smoked Salmon w/ Coconut Flour Blini

Eat Happy: Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches & Cheese Crisps

Eat Happy: Cheese Biscuits

Hi there.  Welcome back! We’re doing a weekly series that publishes every Tuesday wherein we are cooking through one of our FAVE cookbooks : Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We are starting with the very first recipe and working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook. We WILL be sharing our experience during the whole process and our opinion of the outcome. So thanks for stopping by…and let’s dive in to this week’s recipe shall we?

This recipe is also made to where you can make cheese straws, which are a good ole southern tradition, but I did not have time for an extra step so I went with a good ole biscuit shape.

I hate, hate, hate grating or shredding cheese but I avoid the extra fillers in most shredded cheese if I can manage taking 5 extra minutes to do it myself.  I also happened to already have block cheese and it needed to be finely shredded, so I just went for it with my hand grater.

When I got the dough ready, I was 100% convinced that it was not done correctly and I had to just roll with what I had going on.  It was much wetter than anticipated.  These bitches smelled AMAZING while cooking.  The kids were just watching the oven, waiting for them to be ready.

When they came out, I was a little confused over how flat they were, but upon looking in a Facebook group where most of the members cook from this book, I realized that wasn’t uncommon.  The most common solution seems to be to add more almond flour, which I will try next time.

And there will be a next time, like probably tomorrow… the kids woofed them down in 30 seconds and begged for more.  Easy and delicious and they will make the perfect addition to a lot of our regular meals.

Eat Happy: Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches & Cheese Crisps

Welcome to our second post in the Eat Happy cook-through series!  Last week Ashley cooked some yummy stuff and I was excited for my recipes to be extremely simple on a week that I was busy and sick….

Then I got started.

First I did Cheese Crisps, since they are my 12-year-old’s longtime favorite snack and he was wanting to eat crap.  They are also quick and easy and I was going to use the microwave method while working on cooking their dinner.  Easy.

Eating cheese while it cooks is always necessary.

I made them into a large disc that I broke into fourths, but also made a few smaller round ones.

After I had their dinner made, I moved onto the peaches.  I knew going in that I don’t like peaches OR prosciutto, but Stuart likes both and I figured it would be good for me to try something new.  The recipe was very straightforward.  What could possibly go wrong?

 

I got out all of my ingredients and tools and well… it was a pain in the ass.  My peaches weren’t ripe enough, so they were hard to peel AND hard to remove the pit.  Once I got them sliced, I thought the hard part was over.  I mean, what’s so hard about wrapping peaches in a thin slice of meat right?  HAHAHAHAHA.

FML.

The prosciutto was hard to handle without it tearing, yet wanted to stick to my hands as I tried to wrap it.  So annoying.  I have never been so frustrated trying to make something so simple.

When it was done, I  tried one and passed the rest to Stuart and Claudia.  Cause, yep, still don’t like peaches OR prosciutto.  Stuart raved about them too, so if you’re into those couple of things, GO for it!

Introduction to Eat Happy Cook Thru Series

Hey there! And happy Tuesday! We are incredibly glad to see you here at our happy place…this little corner of the internet that we call home. What are we doing around here today? Well, today we are introducing a new series that is going to be a regular Tuesday thing for….well…for a long time. Why? Well, we are cooking through one of our FAVORITE cook books…that has like 200 recipes…sooo dats a lot of Tuesdays! It’s going to be fun though!

Eat Happy is the cookbook in question. It was written by Anna Vocino and published in October of 2016. We know who Anna is because we both follow a way of eating called NSNG (no sugars no grains). Anna is close friends with and co hosts a podcast with the man who coined the phrase NSNG and started the revolution that is this way of eating, Vinnie Tortorich.

We could both literally write several blog posts detailing exactly what NSNG is, how we follow it on a daily basis, the million ways it has changed our lives and health for the better, BUT for now we’re going to give you the quick and short version. 😉 I mean, if you want to hear more please leave us a comment or drop an email or tune in to our Wine Wednesday Live Chats on our Facebook page…because NSNG has been a hot topic over there lately!

In short, eating NSNG means that you cut out all sugars and grains from your diet. The grain part is pretty easy for most people to understand and comprehend. Grains are obviously present in bread products and also things like rice. “Grains are peasant food.” – to quote a mutual friend of ours. They are filler foods that are not necessary to your survival and honestly don’t do anything to make you feel or function better on a daily basis. Wheat Belly is a great book to read if you are curious about the negative impact grains have on you. Sugars though? Most of us are running around as little sugar addicts and we are completely unaware.  And yes, obviously we are talking about cutting out sweets. Clearly, eating several cookies is not going to be good for you because there is obviously sugar involved in the process of making them. However, there are sugars hiding out in almost every form of processed food. We are talking SAVORY processed foods. Do you put prepared season packets in your food? There’s typically sugar added to those. Do you have a favorite salad dressing from the grocery store that you love to slather all over your leafy green salad? There’s likely sugar in that dressing. Do you crave a ready to go red sauce that is conveniently sold in a jar at your local supermarket? There’s added sugar in that. We could literally go on and on and on. Added and UNNECESSARY sugar is just sprinkled and dumped into processed foods like it’s the answer to everlasting life. But it isn’t. Sugar is an addictive killer. And all those sugar substitutes? The ones that companies use in order to put that “sugar free” label on their product. They’re still sugar. They taste like sugar. They act like sugar. The affect your body like sugar. And they will hurt you … just like ANY form of sugar will.

What does eating this way do for you? What has it done for us? We both feel so much better. We have more energy. We are able to ward of sickness more often than not. We don’t suffer from brain fog. We can control things like frequent migraines or headaches. We are able to truly taste things and appreciate the flavor of “just real food”. Our digestive systems function so much better than before. We’ve both lost a ton of weight. We are more happy with ourselves. We are no longer slaves to food. We can eat delicious food … as much of it as we like… without negative side effects.

Eat Happy has been an amazing resource for us to find new meals to prepare – and every single recipe in Eat Happy is void of sugars and grains. We just love it. We’ve cooked so many things from it. However, there are still a ton of recipes that we haven’t gotten to try yet! So, we thought a fun project would be to spend some time cooking all the way through the book…and to share that experience with you guys!

We are going to start with the very first recipe and plow through each one while alternating between the two of us. We won’t be sharing or posting the actual recipe on the blog, because we believe that you should purchase the book…but what we are going to share is our experience while making the meal – and introduce you to some meals that are super healthy and incredibly delicious!

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!