Monday, November 11, 2013

Easy Tex-Mex Margarita

I mentioned before that one of the things we truly miss about our lives back in Texas are the margaritas. We used to take full advantage of El Mercado's grandote margaritas on Thursdays, and we have yet to find a place here in the Phoenix area that makes one we like for under $8. So when all else fails, and you really need some sweet tequila goodness, make your own!

I can't take all the credit here since Paul was my awesome bartender while I made some Mexican rice and burritos. But let me tell you, these things are DELICIOUS! So, if you want some margarita madness in your cup take a look below and don't feel guilty if you make a second batch :)

Yield: 1 pitcher/4 6oz glasses 

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 10 limes)*
  • 3/4 cup silver tequila (we love Epsolon, but Cuervo Silver is also good)
  • 1/2 cup triple sec (or other orange liqueur)
  • Margarita salt


  1. Heat sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat until sugar completely dissolves
  2. Pour into pitcher and place in freezer for a few minutes to cool off.
  3. Add lime juice, tequila and triple sec to pitcher and stir. 
  4. Place pitcher in cooler to cool off or pour over ice.
  5. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Amazing Apple Braid Bread

Now that November has arrived it is finally starting to feel a tiny bit like fall here in Phoenix with a few days having highs below 80. In order to celebrate the "cool" weather I wanted to make something fall-y (that's a word right?), and we had a bag of apples that needed using. Enter this delicious apple braid bread.

It has a warm apple and cinnamon filling, soft bread like a danish and a sweet glaze on top. This stuff was seriously awesome that we may or may not have eaten the whole thing in 24 hours, but shhhh don't tell my thighs! If you want to make this fall treat, here is what you need:


  • 3 medium sized apples of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar - sifted
  • 5 teaspoons whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg

 photo apples.jpg  photo cutapples.jpg

Make the filling: Preheat your oven to 350. Core, peel and slice your apples into thin slices and toss the slices with the sugar and cinnamon. Bake the filling in a pan for 15 minutes. When done, set apples aside but leave the oven on.

 photo dough1.jpg  photo dough2.jpg

Make the bread (while apples are baking): Mix dry ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the water and oil and mix on medium-high speed for 6 minutes (it may work best to use a dough hook, but isn't necessary). Spray a smooth (and clean!) surface with cooking spray and knead the bread a few times to get it to smooth out (left picture above). Spray a rolling pin with a little cooking spray and flatten out the dough into a rectangle that is roughly 12 by 16 inches. Carefully move the dough onto a baking sheet covered with foil and with your fingers or the blunt en of a knife draw lines on the dough dividing it into thirds lengthwise. Next, cut 1 inch strips on each long edge until they meet the lines you drew (when it is done the center third should be untouched). Spread your apple filling down the center of the dough. Start at one end and begin braiding the bread by alternating strips from each side; each strip should cross over the apple filling and meet the base of a strip on the other side. Pinch the ends closed with your fingers and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. When finished, carefully transfer to a cooling rack setup over some foil or wax paper.

Make the glaze (once bread is removed): Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Brush glaze over the apple loaf while it is still warm. Slice and enjoy!! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Big Rocks & Wedding Bells & Delicious Egg Sandwiches

So I'm a little behind...but I'M ENGAGED!!!!!! I have been for over a month now...but that is beside the point. So I apologize in advance if this blog starts involving a lot of wedding planning, but I think I'm allowed!

So first, for the story since that is what everyone cares about. The weekend of September 7 Paul decided to take advantage of flight benefits and head to Houston for a "boy's weekend". I didn't think anything of it and was looking forward to a little bit of alone time. Little did I know, Paul had a nice shiny ring in his bag and although he didn't lie about going to spend time with his friends, he also made a secret visit to my parent's house and took them out to dinner to ask for their blessing. The next Friday, Friday the 13th, I got out of work early and send Paul a text asking if he wanted to grab a drink for Happy Hour. He answered he was already home, so not thinking anything of it I headed towards our apartment.

I pulled into the garage and walked inside and was met by Paul in the kitchen. He said hi and kissed me, which I didn't think anything of until he covered my eyes and started urging me around the corner towards the living room. That’s when I heard the music playing. We get to the living room and he lets me open my eyes. On the coffee table I see a pretty wooden jewelry box (which I have wanted for a while), a bouquet of pretty flowers and a small velvet box that had fancy chocolates all around it in the shape of a heart. I looked up at Paul not sure what to think before he tells me to open the velvet box. I open it and to my surprise there is a beautiful pair of sparkly dangle earrings. Somewhere in the emotional rainbow between excited and only slightly disappointed I turned to him to say thank you to find him next to me with another velvet box in his hand - this one with a gorgeous sparkly ring! Of course I said YES through only a few happy tears! Paul will never admit it, but he cried a little too, but shhhhh I didn't tell you that ;) I hope getting engaged on Friday the 13th isn’t too much bad luck!

Since then, we have made a few trips to Austin and have picked our venue and our date; we will be getting married 11/8/2014 at the beautiful Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs Mansion!

But now onto my new delicious egg sandwich - they are crazy simple so don’t get too excited, but I love them! I love them so much that I seem to be eating them every week. It started with my love hate relationship with avocado. I’m picky when it comes to texture, which ruled out avocados for the majority of my life. I’m trying to overcome this by finding ways to eat it where it isn’t what hits my tongue first. I know that makes me sound a little crazy…but just go with it.

So I think this sandwich tastes best on potato buns that I usually have left over from making our homemade vegan sweet potato burgers…but thanks to an outage at the store I had to settle for whole grain buns from Sprouts.

Here is what you need (makes 1 sandwich):
·        1 hamburger like bun of your choosing (you can also use regular sandwich bread)
·        1 sandwich size slice of cheese
·        1 egg
·        ½ Avocado
·        2 Tbsp salsa
·        Salt & Pepper to taste

1.     Spray small non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat
2.     Beat the egg in a cup or bowl. Mix in salt & pepper to taste
3.     Slice your half avocado into 3 or 4 slices.
4.     Open your bun and spread 1 Tbsp of salsa on bottom half and top with cheese slice
5.     Pour egg into skillet and scramble. Once it begins to solidify, try shaping it into a solid round or rectangular shape and flip, instead of constant ‘stirring’. Once cooked, use spatula to place your egg ‘patty’ onto the bottom bun.
6.     Top egg with avocado, remaining 1 tbsp of salsa and the top of the bun

7.     ENJOY!!!! J