Salsa Bar

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I have grown up eating Mexican food my whole life. My mom’s side of the family is from Mexico, so having authentic, homemade Mexican dishes was normal for me. I actually don’t like to eat homemade Mexican food unless someone in my family is the one making it.

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While my dad isn’t Mexican, he has learned from some of the best cooks in my family and makes great food. Everyone loves his salsas. I grew up helping him make his green and red salsas that, over the years, have turned into his own recipes.

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When my mom started planning a BBQ for 4th of July, I knew I wanted to make something awesome. I know what you all are thinking, salsas on an American holiday? Get over it. No one can resist chips and salsa when they are sitting right in front of you.

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I was nervous about planning my salsa bar. I know my dad’s recipes for green and red salsa by heart, but I also wanted to include a few different salsas. I chose to do two different mango salsas and a pineapple salsa. I felt like fresh fruit was perfect for summer. I got so many compliments on all of my salsas, which made me so incredibly happy.

I hope you enjoy these recipes just as much as my guests and I did!

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Salsa Rojo

Ingredients:

  1. Six large tomatos
  2. A yellow onion
  3. Four garlic cloves
  4. Half a bunch of cilantro
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. Three serrano peppers
  7. Juice of one lime

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Add more of any ingredient if needed.

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Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

  1. 15-20 Tomatillos
  2. One yellow onion
  3. Three to four garlic cloves
  4. Three serrano pepers
  5. Juice of one lime
  6. Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add everything except the lime to a large glass baking dish. Roast in oven until tomatillos are soft and have started to turn black on top. There should be a layer of juice at the bottom of the glass pan.
  2. Take out of oven and let cool
  3. When everything has cooled add the contents of the dish to a food processor with the lime juice and salt and blend well. Add more salt or lime if needed.

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Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • 5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced finely
  • ½ large red onion, diced finely
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely (use ½ a jalapeno if you don’t want it as spicy)
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped finely (if your bunch is small use a whole bunch)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Toss the diced tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic together. Add the juice of a half a lime and add salt and pepper to taste. Store in the fridge. Serve with chips or on top of salad, burritos, tacos…you name it.

Recipe by Christy Denney at The Girl Who Ate Everything

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Pineapple Salsa

Prep Time: 15 mins | Total Time: 15 mins | Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  1. Whole pineapple
  2. 1 cup pineapple, diced
  3. 1 cup peppers, diced (any combination of red, orange, yellow or green peppers)
  4. 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
  5. ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
  6. ¼ cup onion, diced
  7. 2 limes
  8. Salt and Pepper
  9. Optional: 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

Directions:

  1. To make the pineapple bowl, cut about ⅓ of the pineapple off, leaving the stem attached to the larger piece of the pineapple. Make a cut around the outer edge of the pineapple fruit and make cuts across the middle too. Use a metal spoon to loosen and scoop out the pineapple chunks. Pour the extra juice out of the pineapple bowl so that it is empty.
  2. Dice enough of the pineapple chunks to make one cup of diced pineapple to be used for the salsa and save the rest for another use.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together diced pineapple, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, minced onions, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Transfer the salsa to the pineapple bowl for serving.

Recipe by Tonia Larson at The Gunny Sack

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Fresh Mango Salsa

Prep time:  15 mins | Total time:  15 mins | Serves: 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe mangos, diced (see photos)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 large lime, juiced (about ¼ cup lime juice)
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a serving bowl, combine the prepared mango, bell pepper, onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Drizzle with the juice of one lime and mix well. Season to taste with salt. For best flavor, let the salsa rest for 10 minutes or longer.

Recipe by Kate at Cookie + Kate

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Mango Habanero Salsa

Prep time: 15 mins | Total time: 15 mins | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  1. 2 Mangoes, peeled and diced
  2. 1 red sweet pepper, chopped
  3. ½ red onion, diced
  4. 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced (use only 1 for less heat)
  5. 1 or 2 habanero peppers, seeded and diced (use fewer for less heat)
  6. ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  7. Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Mix first 6 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Squeeze lime juice over it. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Recipe by Michele at Flavor Mosiac

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Guacamole

Ingredients:

  1. 7-10 Avocados
  2. Three to four green onions
  3. Lime Juice
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. Garlic powder
  6. 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups Mayo

Directions:

  1. Combine everything in a large bowl. Add more of any ingredient if needed.

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Enjoy!

xoxo,

Emma

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Homemade Dinner for 2 | An “adulting” experience

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Recently my boyfriend and I were asked to dog/apartment sit for my mom’s best friend and her daughter. We immediately jumped at the opportunity for a little getaway from normal life and have a chance to spend some time just the two of us. This of course meant that we needed to figure out meals. The first night we went out and the third day we had take out for lunch. The second night, however, was my first chance to cook a full meal. Ever.

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I will admit I was a little nervous. I’m used to having leftovers in the fridge and just having to throw things on a plate and microwave it. My aunt had a package of Pork Loin Steaks in her fridge and a couple of potatoes on the counter. I used these two items as the base for our meal. My boyfriend told me that he wanted a sauce with mushrooms and onions. I turned to Pinterest, as always, for help and found a simple recipe for Pork Loins in a Creamy Shallot and Mushroom Sauce.

I then browsed around for a good side dish recipe for the potatoes. I will admit that besides popcorn, potatoes are my go-to. There are so many things you can do with them. I settled on making Italian Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Potatoes. I’ve never been great at cooking meat but this recipe was so easy, even I could do it!

The last thing I did was try and figure out what I wanted to do for vegetables. No meal is ever complete without them. For some reason I was craving green beans, which never happens. I’ve never been a big fan of them but ever since I started Altshift I’ve found that I want them more than I want broccoli.

I was really proud with how this meal came together. It gives me hope for the future when I actually will be on my own and need to figure out dinner plans. My boyfriend loved every part of the meal. Both the potatoes and the green beans had a kick to them because of the red pepper flakes. Personally, I think that I’ll leave them out next time because I’m not a huge spice person unless its Sushi or Mexican food.

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Pork Loin Steaks in Creamy Shallot and Mushrooms Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork loin steaks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2-3 large field mushrooms or portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, chopped
  • a splash of cognac or brandy (optional)
  • ¼ cup stock, pork or chicken
  • 1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
  • 200 gr/ ⅔ cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rub your pork loin steaks with some sea salt.
  2. In a cast iron pan or a stainless steal pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and brown your steaks in it for no longer than 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove your meat on a separate plate and set aside.
  4. To the same pan add shallots and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning for 3 minutes, than add mushroom and chopped rosemary and cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. When shallot and mushroom juices evaporate and the pan is dry, hit it with a shot of cognac while scraping the burnt bits with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add stock,whole grain mustard, creme fraiche and stir to combine.
  7. Return pork loin steaks to the pan, bring to a boil and let it simmer for 2 minutes longer and take the pan off the heat. Taste and add salt and peeper if needed. Enjoy with rice or potatoes.

Recipe by Julia at Vikalinka

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Italian Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 55 minutes | Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

  • butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil (preferably extra-virgin but it doesn’t have to be), divided
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
  • 4 minced cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  • fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously butter an 8×10-inch casserole dish.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise then lay each half flat and slice lengthwise into ½-inch wide half moons.
  3. Place the potatoes in a big mixing bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil.
  4. Toss with the seasoning, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and half the Parmesan (plus a few pinches of red pepper flakes if you like).
  5. Pour into the casserole dish and scoop out any spices or garlic left in the bowl.
  6. Sprinkle a tablespoon of Parmesan over the top and drizzle with a tablespoon of oil.
  7. Bake 30 minutes then remove from the oven and toss well. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top and drizzle with the remaining oil.
  8. Bake 25 more minutes. Toss well and season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Place them in a serving dish and pour any remaining oil at the bottom of the pan over them and garnish with a little fresh parsley.

Recipe by Reeni Pisano at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

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Simple Skillet Green Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes | Yields: 5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste
  • 1.5 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red pepper flake and stir to coat the pepper in the oil. Add green beans and cook, stirring often until the beans are blistering and browning in areas, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and salt and cook, stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant and browning, about 30 seconds. Add water and immediately cover. Cook covered until the beans are bright green and crisp tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Katie at Healthy Seasonal Recipes

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Enjoy!

xoxo,

Emma

Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Treats

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Every kid loves rice krispie treats. Besides chocolate chip cookies, I think these yummy snacks are a recipe most kids make with their parents.

I can remember making these treats with my mom and my little brother when I was younger. My mom always did all the work of course. If you’ve ever made these marshmallow goodies before, you know how tough it can be to stir everything together. No little kid is strong enough for that.

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This weekend is my boyfriend and his youngest sister’s birthdays. He is turning 23 and she’s turning 15. They both requested that I make something for them and when I suggested homemade rice krispie treats they about lost their minds.

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I added something extra to them by dipping them in semi-sweet chocolate and swirling some extra on top.

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Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 8 cups, plus 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups Krispie Cereal
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Line a 9×9 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large post over low heat melt butter. Once butter in melted add in 8 cups mini marshmallows, stirring constantly.
  3. Once the marshmallows are just melted remove from heat and stir in your cereal and salt until just coated in marshmallow mixture. Now stir in the remaining 2 cups of mini marshmallows.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press in evenly.
  5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Best if served same day.

Recipe by Shelly at Cookies & Cups

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Enjoy!

xoxo,

Emma

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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This is the recipe that all of my friends and family know me for. Just like with my chocolate chip cookies, this is a recipe I love to make at any time for any reason. My most recent excuse was that they were “feel better” muffins for my boyfriend who broke his foot when he was out dirt bike riding.

This is another recipe I have modified when I bake. Instead of using 1 cup of ripe bananas I use three bananas. I like a very strong banana taste in my breads and muffins.

Another tip with banana bread: if you don’t have ripe bananas, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and place bananas on a baking sheet for 40 minutes or until completely black.

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Recipe

Makes: 2 loaves, 24 muffins, or 48 mini muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup ripe bananas
  • 1/2 sour cream
  •  1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips; mini or regular

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a stand mixer on medium, beat together sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, allowing the first egg to beat into the sugar/oil mix completely before adding the second.
  • With the mixer still running on medium, slice up your ripe bananas right into the sugar/oil/egg mix. Your mixer should mash it up on its own. If you only have a hand mixer, I would suggest mashing the bananas before putting them into your mixing bowl.
  • Once the bananas have been incorporated and with the mixer still running, add sour cream, and vanilla and allow to mix completely.
  • Then, slowly add flour, baking soda and salt and mix completely.
  • Turn off mixer and fold chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Grease 2 loaf pans, 2 muffin trays, or 2 mini muffin trays.
  • Bake loaves for 45-60 minutes, muffins for 15-20 minutes, and mini muffins 10-15 minutes, or until poking a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.

Recipe by Vanessa at nessamakes.com.

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Enjoy!

xoxo,

Emma Reneé

An Updated Introduction

Hello foodies!

It’s been so long since I’ve been on this blog. You’ll notice I made changes, some small such as deleting a few posts, and others bigger, such as changing my theme and adding a brand-spanking-new blog header designed by yours truly.

There are also some other changes that have been happening in my life. For years I have struggled with my weight and the way my body looks. My parents suggested that I try doing what they are doing. Trying this would mean changing a lot about the way I live, which scared me. I finally decided to try it in April [2016].

I’m talking about AltShift. Broken down, AltShift is simply making good food choices, and then cycling carbs, fats, and calories that helps to repair your metabolism without having to starve yourself. AltShift = alternating shifts. 5 shift lasts 5 days and is high fat and low carb (about a 30 gram limit a day). 3 shift lasts 3 days and is high carb and low fat (about a 40 gram limit a day). If you want to learn more about this I recommend visiting the website and reading Jason Seib’s book Lasting Fat Loss at Last.

It’s been over a month since I started AltShift and I feel and look great. I have cut out almost all gluten and dairy products and sticking to a mostly paleo way of eating. I have more energy and I can tell that my body is improving in a good way. Ive lost inches every where, which means I have been losing the fat without losing all my weight, which is the point.

Readers will start to see a change on this site. I am still going to be posting yummy deserts and snacks that I bake for my friends and other family, but I am also going to be posting more recipes for meals that I can eat. I hope that you all stick around to witness my food journey.

xoxo,

Emma

Hello and Welcome!

I have wanted to create a blog for quite a while now. Deciding on what to write about was one of the hardest things for me. I thought of all of the things I am passionate about and finally landed on the decision to write about food. From restaurant reviews to recipe reviews to gadgets in the kitchen, the list of possibilities to write about is endless!

I have always had a passion for food from a very young age. I was not the child who ordered mac and cheese or chicken fingers every time my family went out to eat. I loved to try new things. I still do. I have never been a picky eater and when blogging about food, I find that not being picky is crucial. You have to be able to be open to trying new things.

Along with that, I have always loved to bake and cook with anyone who was in the kitchen and was willing to let me help whether it was my grandmother, my mom or my dad, my aunt or my friend’s parents. In my family we have a couple of traditions that revolve around food. For instance, every year my family comes together at my grandmother’s house and we make tamales to eat on Christmas Eve. Another tradition we have is gathering at my aunt’s house about a couple days before Christmas to make cookies for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I am writing this blog to bring together my love of being in the kitchen (which is where my blog title comes from) and writing to create something that is possible to share with others. Whenever I make something in the kitchen I always have people that ask me for the recipes I use and now I can direct them to one place!

I am so excited to début this blog! I hope you all enjoy it!

Xoxo,

Emma Reneé