Eat Happy: Tzatziki Dip & Almond Meal Pita Chips

Hey y’all! 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?


Hey hey! So today isn’t Tuesday, but we have something else planned for this Tuesday…so here we are on a Monday doing Eat Happy. 🙂

My task to cook this time? Tzatziki Dip and Almond Meal Pita Chips.

Soooo, confession time? The main ingredient in the Tzatziki Dip is cucumbers.  I hate cucumbers. I don’t like the way the smell. I certainly don’t like the way they taste. BUT I refuse to be that person that won’t try something new. Don’t get me wrong. I freaking love my comfort zones, especially when it pertains to food. I can eat the same meal all week. I will order the same thing at a restaurant…indefinitely. I’m just not going to put a hard no on something  – when it’s being prepared differently than I’ve ever had it. The thing is, you can be in the camp of not liking a certain food, but someone could cook or prepare it in such a way that you end up really enjoying.

But yeah. Not a cucumber fan – however, I dove into this recipe with confidence and zero cucumber hating baggage.

First hurdle? I had a hard time finding almond meal. I can remember when I first started NSNG, and how it was never a big deal to find coconut flour or almond meal at places like Walmart and Target. Now, the shelves were bare and weren’t restocked for over a week. Rhonda and I talked about it and she pointed out that it was probably because more people are being turned on to limiting grains and finding substitutes for traditional flour. Anyway, I finally found some almond meal at Winn-Dixie.

The batter is pretty simple and straightforward – I did have one hiccup. I forgot to buy parchment paper that was supposed to use to line the pan. You know. To prevent sticking. I’ve been out of tinfoil for a couple of weeks now. Zip lock bags too. I’ve been sending my son’s weekly magazine cut outs that start with his class’s letter of the week just stuck all willy nilly in the pocket of this school folder. So I mean – there for sure was no parchment paper in the house. Solution? I just heavily greased the pan with some kerrygold butter and sprinkled that with a little bit of almond flour. For the most part it worked. Thankfully you’re supposed to just break apart the pieces so it was ok that they didn’t come out all perfectly shaped. 🙂

The almond meal pita chips turned out fantastic. They were so good I could have ate that whole pan. I had to quickly wrap them up and put them away.

While the chips cooled, I got started on the Tzatziki Dip.  You have to roughly chop the cucumbers and sprinkle them with salt to help draw out some of the moisture.  I have to say that that part was super interesting. To let the cucumbers sit and come back to cucumber juices leaking everywhere.

Once the cucumbers were ready – I threw them into the food processor with all the other ingredients. Let me just tell you that pureed cucumbers have an even more intense smell. I was definitely taken aback. And then I regained my composure cause: I’d left my cucumber baggage at the kitchen door. 😉

I tried several bites – and it wasn’t too bad. Not something I’d choose to make again…but not something I’d turn my nose up at which says a lot considering I have a strong-ish dislike for cucumbers. And once again, I brought this beauty to my Mom cause girl loves cucumbers. 🙂 🙂

Thanks for coming by…and if you want to see our previous week’s Eat Happy posts feel free to click on through:

Eat Happy: Super Guac! & Smoked Salmon w/ Coconut Flour Blini
Eat Happy: Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches & Cheese Crisps

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!

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

Hey y’all! 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?


Ashley here for week one. 🙂 If you skipped over the title …or have just already forgotten at this point, this week I made Super Guac! & Smoked Salmon w/ Coconut Flour Blini.

I want to put some things about myself out in the open first.

  1. I actually hate to cook. I hate when people say that people who eat out all the time or are dependent upon someone else to make their meals are “too lazy to learn to cook”. I’m not lazy…I just don’t like it. You know what I do like? Perfecting the blending of my crease shadow in the morning so that my eye shadow looks bomb. I don’t see you taking time to do that Linda. Should I call YOU lazy? I’m not going to. Cause you just don’t care enough about makeup to do that everyday. So calm your judgy horses down. We all have our own vices. I don’t care that much about making food.
  2. I hate big slabs of meat. My favorite thing is for my food to be all mixed together in a casserole…or my meat savagely hacked up.
  3. Texture is a huge determining factor for me when it comes to whether or not I enjoy food.
  4. Apps are life. Especially dip. And if you can’t do dip as your meal. Well you can’t sit with us over here at RATMM.

ANYWAY – to the Guac. Until I decided to make this dish, I was an avocado buying virgin. I’d never bought one much less used one in a recipe. To be honest? I’m not a huge avocado fan. The texture is weird. But that is part of the point of this whole series: for us to try things and make things we would normally just flip right on past. So, there I was in the grocery store Googling “How to know an avocado is ripe”. I spent a lot of time feeling up almost every single avocado in that store before I got frustrated and just grabbed some. It all worked out though. 😉

Some things I did differently? I skipped on the cilantro. I hate cilantro. With. A. Passion. I also substituted the pepper she recommended in the recipe for jalapeno, because I couldn’t find the one she suggested and also I just really like the way a jalapeno tastes.

What did I think when it was all said and done? It was really good. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t care for avocados. Will I make it again? Probably not. I’m going to bring the left overs to my Mom tomorrow. She loves avocados. 😉

Ahhh the Smoked Salmon w/ Coconut Flour Blini – I was most excited about this. Eating it. Not making it. I was terrified of those damn blinis. When I was searching for these ingredients I had to Google, ” can you buy creme fraiche in the grocery store?” Cause. I’d never heard of it. I didn’t know what it was…what it looked liked…was it some specialty item that I’m not going to be able to find at the Walmart Neighborhood Market???  Turns out you can buy it at the basic grocery store.  And I did. So THAT was a win.

So the main thing with this recipe is making the blini. I mixed the dry ingredients just fine. I added in the wet with a little trepidation and only one minor misstep. I attempted to continue to use a whisk when adding in the wet ingredients. Not a good idea. The batter kept getting caught up inside the whisk. So, I switched to a fork which worked peeerfectly.

I read and re read and read and re read the part about putting the batter on the pan…I really needed to soak it in and become comfortable with the upcoming process. It was like making pancakes. I don’t make pancakes. I’m a modern millennial mom. We buy frozen pancakes for our children and pop those things in the microwave. I got to the part where it said “flip blini” and my instant thought was “fuck me”. Like. She just said “flip blini” as if it was no big deal. Just flip it yo. Wrong. That’s hard. Like hard hard.

I burnt the first batch of blinis that I cooked. Which was really funny to me because as I scooped out that first batch …and looked back at the remaining batter in my bowl – I thought, wow this is going to make a ton of blinis! Then I burnt the first ten….soooo it was good that there was so much batter. 😉

The next batch I just went in throwing my fears to the side. I scooped those bad boys out and flipped them over like I knew what I was doing . Like I had been making and flipping blinis my whole life.  Ok so,  I still struggled with expertly flipping them but I at least flipped them over in time so that they weren’t burnt! Did they look like Anna’s picture in Eat Happy? Um. That’s a big hard no. But they still tasted good. Even the burnt ones. They kind of reminded me of cornbread.

I loved the Salmon Blinis as much as I expected that I would love them. I’d gladly eat those again and again. Will I make them again…just you know on a regular Monday night? Eh. Probably not, but if you want to come over and cook them for me I would never object. 😉

Besides being stressed to the max over the thought of making the blinis – I thoroughly enjoyed making these two recipes. They were not overly complicated and had easy to find ingredients. Best part? I didn’t have to worry about modifying the recipes to fit my No Sugar No Grains lifestyle.

 

Basic Girl (and Boy) Life Hacks

Happy Friday! I hope you guys are having a great day, and are excited for the weekend to come. Today I figured we’d keep it light and breezy. I wanted to share with you guys some of my most coveted life hacks. So, grab your Starbucks and  prepare yourself for some revolutionary ways to improve your everyday Basic Girl or Boy life. 🙂

  1. Cut your bacon with scissors.

Let me tell you. Discovering this precious life hack was a game changer for me. Have you ever tried to cut bacon with a knife? I mean, unless you are a kitchen knife fanatic and have the best knives that you keep sharpened on the regular, you’re going to struggle like a mother to cut that bacon. So, put down the knife and pick up your kitchen scissors and watch in awe as they slice through your bacon like butta. Do it..then comment here and thank me later.

2. Spray dry shampoo on the roots of your hair BEFORE you go to bed.

Why? Why would you do this? Well, it’s like a preventative measure. That dry shampoo will soak up the oil while it is forming throughout the night. Then BOOM – you wake up the next morning with fresh hair. Unless, this is night four or five without washing….then well…you’re going to need dry shampoo in the pm and am my friend.

3. Are you struggling with getting the cork out of your wine bottle for Wine Wednesday…or Thursday…or Friday?

I used to have a horrible time when trying to open wine bottles. I’d break the cork in half like 99% of the time. The struggle was so real. Now, that I’ve become a seasoned wine drinker I have the perfect cork removing strategy to share with you guys…… buy wine bottles with screw on caps.

4. Don’t care to take the time to develop mad cooking skills, because you’re one of those progressive millennials who spends all their time on the internets doing nothing but ranting and doing things like starting a blog or viral social media account that enables you to simultaneously making a living while reaching millions across the world to help spread your message/ideals to fight for a change??

You are…cool. But really..becoming an amazing cook? Let’s just say that is not on my to do list. Want to know the secret to better tasting food?  Let me just quote the ever so wise and sexy Nick Jones, “Throw some bacon on it.” Seriously. Bacon makes the world go round and it makes ANYTHING taste good/better. I hear you calorie counters out there gasping and putting your hand to your chest. Chill. Also, stop counting freaking calories. Eat a high fat/ zero grain and sugar diet…and put all the freaking bacon on whatever you want. You’ll be skinny, healthy, AND happy. I pinky promise swear.

5. Personalize your read receipts on your Iphone.

If you do not have an Iphone…well. #blessit Honestly, I suggest you go get one as soon as you can. Especially if you plan on texting me. Anyway, to my Iphone users out there. Do you love a read receipt? I know I do. I like that little typing bubble too. However, sometimes you have to be a shady bitch OR you need to save a friendship – and there may be a few people with whom you text that you don’t really want to be as open as sharing read receipts. For their protection, obviously. Guess what? You don’t have cut off everyone on your contact list from those precious read receipts just for those few individuals who are not worthy…or just can’t handle it. Open someone’s text message thread (like you are going to text them something)  click that little “i” with the circle on it. On the next screen you’ll see the option to turn on or off read receipts for that specific person. You’re welcome.

6. Get that essential regular  Starbucks visit in without depleting your bank account.

Every basic Girl and Boy knows that getting in regular SB visits is key. However, as we also all know SB can get Hella expensive. So, I’ve got two tips for you.  First, sign up for and download their app. You’ll earn stars at every visit that will eventually add up to free drinks. Second, go sign up for Harris Poll Online. They send you surveys to your email inbox that you can take to earn points for taking them. You then redeem those points for different gift cards… Starbucks gift cards to be exact. I promise within a week of using this service you’ll be able to redeem your points and get some free coffee. The gift cards are electronic so you can download them straight to your SB app and use them immediately.

I hope you guys learned something new today – or just had a good time laughing along with me…at me?  🙂 What are your essential life hacks??

 

 

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!

 

Melodramatic Birthday Post – Ashley

You guys – it’s Spring. I always say this time of year (March to the beginning of May) is like another Christmas season. There are sooo many birthdays and then throw in Mother’s Day to end the whole shabang. So I’m here to finally talk about my little birthday that occurred last week…and do some rambling….hope you’re all in on this one.  😉

Ok, so… let’s talk about 32. My birthday was last week. Last Tuesday – at 10pm I officially turned thirty-two years old. Honestly, I haven’t even given the number much thought. Yeah, I definitely feel like I’ve reached the point where I wouldn’t mind being able to stop time for a little while. You know – stay young longer. I’ve noticed differences in my body and mindset due to aging. Generally though – I’m at peace with my age. So, why am I here blabbing on and one about it? Well I did want to take some time to reflect. Think about where I’ve been … and where I want to be. I’ve always been the type of person that lived more in the future. I always look forward to where I’m going, what type of person I’ll be in ‘x’ amount of months or years… And overall, I’m really happy with where I am now. In this 32 year old life of mine. 😉

I made the comment the other day that I really wish I knew as much about taking care of my body and had the confidence in myself that I do now when I was younger. I am and always have been a super quiet and shy person. I think I’ve mentioned before how I’m socially awkward…not just in person. Ask Rhonda. It even takes a lot for me to interact virtually…. BUT I’ve come such a long way. My highschool and twenty something self didn’t think much of herself much less take any extra time to take care of her mind and body.

Weight was always an issue that I struggled with. The size of my body was something that always made me feel inferior, not attractive, not worth getting to know. I think it is so great now that there are plus sized super models or just plus sized celebrities and public figures who are letting it be known that size does not determine beauty of self worth. I try to flood my social media timelines with women like this. Women who are larger than average, and who are so so confident in themselves. I try to make a conscious effort to compliment my children – not just on their physical appearance. I try to say things like “ Oh my god…you are sooooo cute… and such a sweet baby.” I encourage my son to interact with other children. When he approaches other kids at the park and they don’t want to play with him. Of course, he comes running back to me. I tell him, “That’s ok. Find someone else to play with.” I try to teach him and demonstrate to him that rejection stings but we can move on from that. I want my daughter to be confident in her body and not afraid to wear whatever she wants. I want my son to be confident in his body and to not be afraid to wear whatever the hell he wants. I don’t want them to doubt themselves. I don’t want them to be afraid to make new friends or approach new people – because they worry about the reaction they will receive.  Because I lived that way for so long. I still struggle with that. I’m working on it. And I’ll keep working on it. 😉

Over the past 3 years I’ve made major changes in the way I eat and think about food. I lost a ton of weight….gained some back during and after being pregnant with Sophie…and am now back – less those extra pounds. Rhonda introduced me to the NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) Lifestyle that was coined, preached, and demonstrated by Vinnie Tortorich. Eating clean. Cutting out the majority of the sugar and grains in my diet. Those things have made me a physically and mentally healthier person. I know that it has made me a better mom. When you cut the crap out from  your diet, you don’t have to worry so much about the amount that you eat. You don’t have to restrict yourself to teeny tiny meals in the hopes of losing a few pounds. AND you don’t just lose weight. You gain healthier hair, nails, skin, mental clarity, energy, and on and on and on. Something else really important that I gained? Confidence in myself. Confidence in my body. Confidence that does not hinge on someone else’s opinion of me. Confidence that is due to my new opinion of myself.

I can look back … ten … or even fifteen years ago – and where I am now? That’s not where I thought I’d be. But you know, I’m ok with that. I had this disillusioned idea of what I thought life should look like at 32. And for a long time – those aspirations and goals that I set when I was a teenager – the fact that I hadn’t gotten to or reached those goals used to really haunt me. It used to make me feel … like I hadn’t accomplished anything   at all. Which is complete crap. I’ve accomplished a lot. Because listen. It’s ok to change your path. It’s ok to quit something that no longer holds any meaning for you. It’s ok to change your mind. I am a better person now. I’m not perfect. I still have a lot of work to do. BUT I am thankful the place I am at. 🙂 For me, feeling accomplished is no longer about marking off big achievements or reaching momentous goals. It’s not about having a list of things that I can say “LOOK at all the things I’ve checked off!!”. For me I try to feel accomplished in my every day. I look to my future with anticipation and excitement for things to come; however, I relish the here and now. I focus on the people in my life. I think about what can I do in the next few minutes to make something happen. I want to “Be here, now.” I don’t want to look back and think…. I wish I would have enjoyed that moment more…while it was happening.

I think 32 is going to be great. I don’t wake up with any dread of what I may face that day. My family is healthy and happy…and so am I. I really like my daytime job, and I am so happy to have this little blog space that I get to share with my best friend. I am so grateful that each of you come by to check in on us…see what we have to say. 🙂 I’m excited for our future, but I’m loving this. This right here. This moment. :):)