Not your normal ice cubes :-)


Standing on the line at our most recent grocery store trip, Patrick was flipping through a magazine.  When the magazine ended up on the conveyor belt along with our other groceries my first instinct was to say, “do we really need that?”  I mean, I’m no sucker to all of those check-out line temptations that stores strategically place there to bump up your bill. 🙂 But, let it be known… I didn’t scold him.  Instead, when I saw the magazine choice I just looked over at him and smiled.

It wasn’t like it was a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition (okay, so I did catch him reading that one in CVS once, but anyway…) it was none other than one of our favorite chef’s magazines, Rachael Ray Everyday.  I let the $5 magazine get scanned and put in a grocery bag despite the fact that the purchase would completely negate my strategic $4 worth of coupon savings that I brought with me.  (Two .75 cent coupons for paper towels and toilet paper that would get doubled to $1.50 each for a total savings of $3.00 and a $1.00 off the purchase of three Lean Cuisine coupon.)  Oh well, I guess my careful savings just about bought us a magazine. 🙂

So anyway, some background info on my slight obsession with Rachael Ray.  First off, I just think she’s great – chef, businesswoman, brought herself into the spotlight with hard work and dedication…  I hope my hard work pays off one day too!  Plus, Patrick and I also feel this sort of “upstate” connection with her.  Rachael was born in upstate New York in a town called Glens Falls, which is just south of Lake George. Then, she eventually moved to the village of Lake George.  Ready? Here goes our connections: My mother’s side of the family has vacationed up there and owned a house in Bolton Landing since way before I was born (my aunt/Godmother also lived, worked and raised a family in Glens Falls and got married in Lake George).  Patrick’s family vacationed there year after year as well at many different hotels and lodges and recently purchased a beautiful home on the east side of the Lake in a town called Fort Ann. Okay, that’s about it, but hey it’s enough.  We love Rachael! haha (oh I guess I should also mention that some people think I resemble her that my voice is also a little raspy like hers).  Hence, we are big fans.

Anyway, onto the recipe! So I found these suggestions for flavored ice cubes in this particular edition.  Some cube recipes weren’t my type at all, but I did try out two (simple) varieties. My choices were: “Inside Job” and “Bee Delighted.”  Here are the recipes, my photos, and the reasons why I chose these two options!

1 – Inside Job – I chose this ice cube because I looove dirty vodka martinis, but lord knows drinking them straight up can put you, well, on your butt!  I usually order my dirty martinis in a “tulip” glass with ice.  WELL, well, well… imagine my excitement when I realized I could make ice cubes with olive juice for my martinis on the rocks.  I instantly had to have it!

Directions:  Place an olive in each section of your ice cube tray.  Top with water and olive brine (olive juice) and serve in your martini. 

In the words of RR: "Yum-o!"

In the words of RR: “Yum-o!”

2 – Bee Delighted – Another beverage I love is hot tea.  I grew up drinking regular Lipton tea with milk and sugar, but also crave a nice green tea with honey and lemon sometimes.  The problem is, without milk the tea is SOO hot for so long that it’s hard to drink!  These ice cubes are awesome – they provide sweetness and cooling in one!

Directions:  Dissolve one part honey in three parts hot water.  Let cool, then pour into a tray.  (You know I did more than a 1:3 ratio, right? Of course…)  😉

I use store brand honey on the regular... works for me!

I use store brand honey on the regular… works for me!

TIP: As you see below, I used only one ice tray.    I think Patrick would have been very mad if I used all of the ice cube trays to make flavored ice cubes.  My only suggestion is to just be careful when putting it in the freezer to not tilt the tray and mix them!

Perfect example of "A little bit of this... a little bit of that!"

Perfect example of “A little bit of this… a little bit of that!

Additional side note:  You will notice there are 9 olive cubes and only 7 honey cubes.  FYI, olives should always be served in an odd-number (I kind of stick to the same rule with cherries too).  I have no idea why, it’s just something I learned along the way.

Cheers!

❤ Jessi

PS – We have since subscribed to Rachael Ray Everyday magazine for two years, for only $20.  Woohoo!  Get the deal here!

Red, White, and Blue Rice Krispy Treats!

First off, happy July 1st everyone! 😀

So I ask this question in all seriousness… is there anyone who doesn’t like rice krispy treats?   As a young kid I absolutely loved when my mom would make them and my highlight of going to Walt Disney World was getting the mickey-mouse shaped ones (my sister and niece recently brought my back one as a souvenir… yes!!).  Even at my age I have a hard time going to Starbucks without buying a marshmallow dream bar…

For months now, I’ve had this recipe pinned to my Fourth of July Pinterest board and have been dying to make them!  They are just so cute and I know they will be a hit at any 4th of July (or Memorial Day!) gathering.  The original recipe links to lilluna.com‘s blog.  Here it is, and here’s my experience making this delicious childhood-favorite dessert.

Ingredients:

6 cups Rice Krispies

1 Package Marshmallows

3 tablespoons butter

Red and Blue food coloring

Directions:

Well, here was my first mistake right off the bat:  I greased a 13×9 pan because, well, mom always made them in that size pan!  The recipe (in addition to the fact that you will be stacking the three colors) is small so I’d suggest either double the recipe or realize you will only get 16 small pieces.

PanMARKED

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the recipe:  First, separate each of the ingredients into 3 sets, each set consisting of  2 cups cereal, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/3 of the marshmallow bag.

On medium-low heat, melt the butter.

Melt butter and then add marshmallows.

Melt butter and then add marshmallows.

Add marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted.

They are beginning to melt, yay!

They are beginning to melt, yay!

Then add rice krispies and food coloring, stirring until they are completely coated and colored to your liking.  (I would stay away from using anything flimsy to stir with… mixing these puppies can get difficult so you’ll need a sturdy spoon or spatula…)

Beginning with the color you want on the bottom, spread each of the mixtures into your greased 8×8 pan.

Layer the batches with "white" aka no coloring in the middle.

Layer the batches with “white” aka no coloring in the middle.

All three layers!

All three layers!

Let these babies cool then slice them up and enjoy!

Halfway through slicing up my treats I realized I only have 9 small pieces so far!

Halfway through slicing up my treats I realized I only have 9 small pieces so far!

The final product! Lots of compliments :-)

The final product! Lots of compliments 🙂

TIPS AND TRICKS:

I’d advise doing these one “color” at a time but if you are short on time/impatient like I was, I ended up doing all three layers at the same time (Honestly, I started with one and when I got bored watching butter/marshmallows melt I decided to go gung-ho. Ahhh!!) There was a point that it got a little crazy and I had to call the bf in to help get stir the krispies and keep them off the heat so unless you have help I’d say do them one layer at a time.

ThreePans

All three layers cooking at once can get a little crazy!!

Enjoy your treats and have a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July everyone!

❤ Jessi

Flashback Friday 6/28/13

Every Friday is Flashback Friday here at alittlebitofthisthat!  Join me every Friday for a random photo, memory, experience etc. that I’ll share and hopefully spark some good memories of your own or inspire you to do some digging! 🙂

For today’s flashback, I’m going way back.  This past Father’s Day, my family and I sat in the backyard, enjoying the beautiful weather and each other.  Well, I knew the ADD in my family would kick in soon and everyone would be doing a million different things so I decided to bring out an activity to keep everyone interested.  I walked right up to my mother’s closet where she keeps her photo albums, grabbed a bunch of them and brought them down in hopes of finding some great pictures of dad and some good memories.  Everyone flipped through every page and we all stayed together (for the most part).  Mission accomplished!

Of all the photos we found that I could post here today, (yes, plenty of Dad), I feel like I have to share one that I don’t ever remember seeing or knew it existed… me right after I was born! (hah.. hah.. I know how selfish of me… but c’mon I seriously am impressed that I actually own this photo now!!)

In addition to that, my mother is my biggest role model and guiding light in life.  Family members frequently call me “Little Eileen” and I couldn’t be more proud to bear that name.

So here I am right after being born with the woman I will always look up to and admire, and another of my mom and I on my senior prom night.  Thanks for checking them out 🙂

Mom always said I was "all head and hair" when I was born.  She is only 32 in this photo and already has a 7 and 6 year old! Wowzers!

Mom always said I was “all head and hair” when I was born. She is only 32 in this photo and already has a 7 and 6 year old! Wowzers!

Senior Prom 2004   Love my mama! <3

Senior Prom 2004.
Love my mama ❤

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

❤ Jessi

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak and Friends

 

The other day I was truly stumped with what to have for dinner.  I knew Patrick was home and would be asking me very soon what I was thinking.  So, I sat down in my cubicle (don’t worry, they are big cubicles) and typed into Google “What’s for dinner?” hoping that Google would provide me with the magic answer.

Well, low and behold I clicked the first link which brought me to Cookinglight.com and I stumbled upon this great recipe of Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak, Sauteed Baby Spinach, and Tomato-Vidalia-Blue Cheese Salad.  The man picked up the ingredients while I was at work and we whipped the meal up in no time when I got home.  We shared the responsibilities – Pat did the steak and potatoes and gave me the job of cooking the spinach and tomato salad.  I give this recipe two thumbs up and a definite go-to in our repertoire!  Here’s what it came out like and below is the recipe:

Yum, yum, yum!

Yum, yum, yum!

Sautéed Baby Spinach

Ingredients: 

1 (10-ounce) package fresh baby spinach (Which will seem like a lot but it wilts down to nothing!)

2 teaspoons butter

3 thinly sliced garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic cloves; cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt and  black pepper. Gradually spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach just wilts, tossing frequently.
Tomato-Vidalia-Blue Cheese Salad:

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon EVOO

1 1/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes

1/3 cup diced Vidalia onion

3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Directions:

Combine extra-virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with tomatoes and onion. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese.

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak Recipe

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces

Cooking spray

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $

Directions:

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at room temperature 25 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.

Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

And for the potatoes just wash and scrub, slice into quarters, eigths, or shape of your size and simply sprinkle with some EVOO, salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Bake in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes or until they are to your liking.

I’d love to know if you try this one out – let me know how you like it!  Bon Appetit!!!

❤ Jessi