The Great List 09.19.2014

Labrador

Despite the upheaval this week, I’m actually feeling very grateful. Often tragedy results in a great deal of gratitude. People step up and surprise you, carry you, comfort you, and you begin to realize all the blessings you have that don’t always show themselves on a day to day basis even though they’re always there. Not only did I learn how much I’m loved this week, but I learned how much people love my crazy dog family too. It’s a feeling beyond gratitude that’s for sure.

1. I’m most of all grateful for Tally making it as easy as she could on us. With Grace, her death was very sudden and unexpected. When we made the choice to put her to sleep, she struggled against it, resulting in months, if not years of guilt and doubt on my part. For Tally it had been a slow decline. I’ve cried about her deterioration for weeks, but we had ample time to find peace with each other and the situation. Each day I wondered if I should make that awful phone call, but on the day she died she made it very clear that it was time. When we took her in, she didn’t struggle. She peacefully laid on that exam table wagging her tail as always, and left us with heavy hearts, but without guilt or uncertainty.

2. I’ve been on the gratitude path for years. This list each week sometimes feels like the only thing I have going for me no matter how short or insignificant the items on it may be. This week, all these years of brain training, if you will, really paid off and carried me through a difficult time. No matter how humane you’re being, the bottom line is, you are making the decision to kill your animal. It’s a really, really tough pill to swallow, and it never gets easier. We had to wait nearly 3 hours between the time we made the decision and the actual “time”, and that whole stretch I found my mind going immediately to places of love and gratitude, and not sorrow and anger. Despite my tears, and occasional uncontrollable sobs, I did have a great deal of peace in my heart.

3. Beyond just being able to find a peaceful path through a difficult situation, I found quite a bit of clarity this week. I was able to distinctly understand certain strengths and weaknesses of not only my current and past pets, but also my friends, family and online community. I learned about ways that I grieve, and ways that The Hubs grieves, which is valuable to a strong partnership, although not everyone gets to find that out about their partners. It has truly been an emotional eye opener.

4. Lastly, Tally took the heat wave with her. It’s currently a gray and rainy morning which matches my mood. I’m sure the sun will show itself eventually as it always seems to do in SoCal. Thanks for that Tally. Everyone is very grateful.

Thank you to everyone for your good thoughts and condolences. I hear you. It’s helping.

 I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.-Dalai Lama

Blackberry Bourbon Fizz Cocktail

Great fall cocktail! Blackberry bourbon fizz | Betsylife.com

Although weather-wise fall hasn’t hit San Diego yet, the inspirations are definitely in the air. Fall is a great time for craft cocktails, and seeing as it’s National Bourbon Heritage month, I thought I’d bring you a cozy, seasonal bourbon cocktail.

Four Roses Bourbon was the perfect place to start with its fruity undertones. I paired it with fresh California oranges from my CSA box, mint from my garden, and some gorgeous late season blackberries. By finishing the whole thing with some bubbly soda water, its refreshing enough to drink on these hot, indian summer days.

Raise your hand if you love fall craft cocktails as well! Who’s got a great bourbon cocktail recipe they’d love to share? Leave a comment and let me know.

Blackberry Bourbon Fizz

Ingredients

  • 1/2 orange, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • Mint sprig
  • 2 oz Four Roses bourbon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • soda water

Instructions

  1. Muddle orange slices, blackberries, mint and sugar in a shaker with bourbon.
  2. Strain over ice and fill glass with soda water.
  3. Garnish with mint.
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Parting

photo-51

Some days aren’t so sunny around these parts. Yesterday we lost my dear pal Tally dog, and my whole being was engrossed in clouds. She was very old, and had a good long life, but that’s no condolence to me. On her final day she was unable to stand on her own, so putting her to sleep was the humane thing to do. She’s better off for it. Still, that doesn’t make me feel any better.

What always made me feel better in times of sorrow was resting my face on Tally’s thick, furry, block head. My cheek and her head were a perfectly matched set of puzzle pieces. She was the first dog I ever thought of as “mine”. She was the first dog I really made a personal commitment to.

I’m totally devastated.

Dogs are miraculous. They teach you and mold you in ways you never even realize. What Tally gave to me was her joyful spirit. When she was happy she wagged her tail. When she was nervous she wagged her tail. When she was in pain she wagged her tail, and when she was agitated she still wagged her tail. She approached every situation with joy first, and adapted from there. More often then not, joy worked, and no adaptation was required. She was truly the happiest dog I’ve ever known.

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude”  -Karl Barth

Yesterday morning she knocked out two final tail wags, and she was gone.

Happy until the very end. Grateful for the life she had, not the fact that it was ending. She was my idol. I’ll miss you sweet friend.

 

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Recently I’ve begun teaching an occasional food craft class through Urban Craft CampIn the summer it was a pickling and preserving class, and once fall rolled around they asked me to teach a bread baking class. I said yes not realizing we’d be in the middle of a heat wave (not the best weather for baking), but we moved the class to the AC and everyone had a great time.

Most of my food and cooking knowledge has been learned as an adult, but bread is one of the few things that I actually baked with my Grandma when I was young. The women in my family were not really in to cooking shall we say, but we can make bread and an awesome blueberry pie. Maybe pie will be next summer’s class.

Anyway, if you’re in San Diego, and love to get crafty and drink wine with your friends, then you should definitely check out Urban Craft Camp they got classes ranging from chalkboard art to floral design in addition to food crafts. Its a great way to spend an afternoon!

Thanks so much to Briana Nolan for these excellent photos from last weekend. Be sure to follow her and Urban Craft Camp on Instagram for awesome updates.

@bn_______

@urbancraftcamp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

 

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

Artisan Bread Baking Class with Urban Craft Camp

 

 

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies | Betsylife.com

Wait, what?!? Did you know they make chocolate chips that are filled with caramel?!? This is the first I’ve heard of this, and I think my head might explode. This may be one of the best days of my life.

I just discovered Toll House® Delightfulls caramel filled baking chips (um, no this post is NOT sponsored thank you very much) and it’s almost like all the stars are aligning because I was looking to make some cookies for OXO & Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and then suddenly there was this beacon of light in the baking isle that was saying “bake me Betsy!” 

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies | Betsylife.com

You know what else I saw in that magical baking isle? Dark chocolate cocoa powder. Oh yes, the stars were indeed aligning. This year’s charitable cookie was going to be dark chocolate and salted caramel. It was meant to be.

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies | Betsylife.com

Every year Oxo teams up with bloggers all across the country to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. For every cookie recipe blogpost written in September, Oxo will donate $100 to this wonderful charity that helps fund pediatric cancer research. It’s called their Good Cookie campaign.

Well if a good cookie is what they’re looking for, they have come to the right place. No cookie has ever been inhaled this quickly in my house.

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies | Betsylife.com

I generally prefer my sweets to be sweet and my salty snacks to be salty, so rarely do I dabble in the ever popular salted caramel realm, but this time I decided to take the plunge and the payoff was well worth it. The combo of dark chocolate with those awesome caramel filled baking chips, and a sprinkle of sea salt was total perfection.

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies | Betsylife.com

If you’d like to join in and Bake a Difference for kids, look for specially marked Oxo Baking Tools  and Oxo will donate 25 cents of every purchase to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. I personally love the egg separator, cookie spatula (trust me, you DO need a special spatula for cookies. It’s amazing), and every size cookie scoop (a must have). Or you can spread the word via social media by using the hashtag #OxoGoodCookies

While you’re at it bake up a batch of these cookies. You will not regret it.

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 9oz bag Toll House® Delightfulls caramel filled baking chips
  • coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars at a medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture to butter mixture. Stir in the milk, then fold in the baking chips.
  4. Chill for at least 1-2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  6. Drop dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet in 2 Tbsp sized drops. Sprinkle each with sea salt then bake for 12-13 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
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BLT Dip #12bloggers

BLT Dip #12bloggers

It’s no secret that my favorite part of football season is the food. One year I had a fantasy team, but I always forgot to set my lineup. Needless to say I came in dead last. I think my time is better spent in the kitchen.

Although we don’t actually go to a lot of games thus having the opportunity to tailgate, I was pretty excited about this months 12 bloggers theme of tailgating recipes. I can make pretty much anything to-go, and the way that all our friends gather at our pool/outdoor TV every Sunday sure makes it seem like a tailgate! BLT Dip #12bloggers

I opted for a dip because I am always trying to sneak healthy stuff into The Hubs snacks and its really easy to sneak healthy stuff into a dip. This BLT dip looks super healthy with all the lettuce and tomato on top, but it does have a creamy base (snuck in some protein packed greek yogurt too) and a crispy bacon layer.

He will eat anything that is put in front of him, healthy or not, so I know he would never complain, but it always helps if you can say “there’s bacon in it!” Besides, its been crazy hot here in San Diego and I couldn’t even fathom the idea of turning on the oven to make something.

BLT Dip #12bloggers

This dip takes less than 15 minutes to make. If the bacon is already cooked it takes less than 5 minutes to make. You won’t miss a second of the game….if you’re into that.

BLT Dip #12bloggers

My 12 blogger cohorts were much more adventurous than I when it came to cooking up some magic in the kitchen. Check out the awesome collection below. There is something for everyone in there. I think this should be sufficient in getting you through the 2014-2015 football season no?

BLT Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 8oz. package cream cheese
  • 1 6 oz. container plain greek yogurt
  • 1 package Ranch dressing seasoning mix
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, greek yogurt and Ranch seasoning mix.
  2. Spread mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.
  3. Cover with crumbled bacon. Top with lettuce and tomato.
  4. Serve with chips or crackers.
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12 Great Tailgating Game Day Recipes #12bloggers

BLT Dip #12bloggers

The Great List 09.11.2014

Ice Cream

I missed my Great List last week because I was heavily medicated. No need to worry, my dental procedure went swimmingly, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to attempt to write while under the influence. I’m back this week, on an off day since tomorrow is the 12th and that means 12 amazing (spoiler alert!) tailgating recipes are coming your way! You guys definitely should check those out. In the meantime, I’m here to share some gratitude with you all in the midst of a very busy week.

1. The Hubs tops my Great List this week. He works all. the. time. I hate adding things to his plate, but this week I was working in LA on Tuesday, and could not attend to any of my regular Tuesday duties, or take any responsibility for the 2 extra dogs we were hosting. The Hubs stepped in without question or complaint and handled it all. He even made it to the farmers market to pick up our CSA box which is way outside of his wheelhouse (he didn’t even know where the farmers market was) All the dogs got fed, and medicated where appropriate, and I came home after a looooong day to a happy household. As much as The Hubs and I are both very independent people, it’s so nice to know that there is someone I can rely on for help when I really need it.

2. Last week I took Leila out for ice cream. She’s almost 4 and we talked all about her birthday party (it’s at the beach with the “big waves” and of course I’m making her a Frozen themed cake) about her new school, and of course about ice cream…..and candy. This girl has an imagination for the ages. Jen was telling me that you pretty much can’t believe anything she says now, because she’s constantly making things up, but its all harmless, and hilarious, and I cannot get enough of her. Wild imaginations is my absolute, #1 favorite thing about children, and I will do anything to encourage them. This girl has never ceased to put a smile on my face, and I’m so grateful that we’re friends.

3. I’ve got a ton of interesting work projects going on right now. So many that it seems like a juggling act at times. Work always comes in waves like this, and I truly try to appreciate the times of feast, because the famine times can be a bit stressful. I’m very grateful for great clients, new partnerships, creative freedom, and the exchange of ideas. When I decided to change the direction of my life 4 years ago, this is what I envisioned. Sometimes I can’t believe that it really worked out!

It’s very early here on the west coast as I write this, and I’ve got a full day ahead of me,  so I’m going to wrap this up. Seeing as it’s September 11th, I can’t help but mention how grateful I am to live in such a extraordinary country. The variety of ideas is what makes this country special, and despite our differences and disagreements, September 11th showed us how similar we all truly are. Deep down we’re all just people who want to be happy, whatever that means to each of us, and we are able to come together when it matters the most. Let this day be a reminder to you each year,  to let go of your disagreements and frustrations towards one another and realize that we’re all just trying to make our way through a confusing world. Everyone has the capacity for sorrow and joy, so let’s make a conscious effort to spread more joy and less sorrow, even if just for one day.

Party Time! Ladies Pool Day

Party Time! Ladies Pool Day Every year I host a one day only, kid-free, man-free, pool party for all my fabulous lady friends. It’s cleverly called “Ladies Pool Day”, and its generally the weekend after labor day. The drinks are pink, the food is healthy, and the conversation generally revolves around nail art, shopping deals, working out, reality TV shows, and other like topics. I’ve found that the older we get the more our backyard pool/outdoor living room has become a kiddie playland and/or a football watching, beer drinking, man-zone. I love all those things, but every once in a while us ladies need some time to ourselves. When kids get into the mix, moms can get spread pretty thin. I love having a standing date with all my girlfriends where we talk about things we’re actually interested in instead of constantly getting interrupted by Frozen chatter, tantrums, and snack requests. Here’s some scenes from this year’s low key fiesta. Perfect Healthy Salad |Betsylife.com Men would never stand for a menu of salad, vegetarian frittata and cupcakes. Vegetarian Frittata | Betsylife.com Cupcakes Who else has a standing date with their girlfriends? If you don’t, I highly recommend that you start one. I find that if something is a regularly scheduled annual event, people more likely to keep it on their calendars. Plus, it gives everyone something to look forward to. My bestie Jenny and I have had a standing bi-annual date to visit each other twice a year, her birthday and the 4th of July, for about a decade. We’ve almost never missed one. Scheduling helps! As far as the 2nd annual Ladies Pool Day goes, I think it was a great success! I’m looking forward to many more years of Ladies Pool Day fabulousness to come. Party Time! Ladies Pool Day

Carne Asada Pizza

Carne Asada Pizza | Betsylife.com

Twelve years ago Val and I packed up our car and headed west because we were craving something new. From our perspective, it was a fun adventure, and we were young and up for anything, but in retrospect, I now see that the universe was pushing me towards my real self.

I can’t even express in words how much I love San Diego. It’s everything I never knew that I needed in my life.

From living here I’ve learned to take life at a slower pace, to make time for myself, to not take everything so seriously, to value what’s really important, and to appreciate nature in a different way than I ever did in the past.

Carne Asada Pizza | Betsylife.com

I also met The Hubs here, and together we’ve been molded by this beautiful way of life.

San Diego is truly a part of me.

Food in San Diego is very different from where I grew up in Chicago. The weather allows for fresh food year round, and our proximity to Mexico and the ocean brings a cultural influence unlike any other place in the country.

Carne Asada Pizza | Betsylife.com

Carne Asada, a thin cut, marinated and grilled steak, is a staple around these parts.  More often then not we eat it wrapped in a tortilla with french fries, a la the famous California burrito, but this time around I opted for a different preparation.

Carne Asada Pizza | Betsylife.com

This time, as an homage to the city I love so much, and to the man whom I was meant to meet in this beautiful place, I made a carne asada pizza. The Hubs favorite food, topped with San Diego’s favorite ingredient.

It was the perfect pairing.

If you’ve never been here, add it to your to-do list immediately, and order yourself some carne asada. It’s on every menu. I’m confident you’ll love it as much as I do.

I hope to see you all in our little corner of the country soon.

Carne Asada Pizza | Betsylife.com

 

Carne Asada Pizza

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces refrigerated fresh pizza dough
  • 2 small hatch chiles
  • 8 ounces flank steak, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from 1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • Cilantro sprigs

Instructions

  1. Remove dough from refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature, covered, for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat broiler to high.
  3. Arrange hatch chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 8 minutes or until charred on all sides, turning occasionally. Wrap peppers in foil; close tightly. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and seed peppers; discard skin, membrane, and seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
  4. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).
  5. Sprinkle steak with cumin, chipotle powder, and salt. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until well marked. Let stand 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak across the grain.
  6. Add onion rings to pan; grill 4 minutes on each side or until well marked. Place in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Combine marinara and adobo sauce.
  7. Roll dough into a 15 x 9-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Pierce dough liberally with a fork. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza stone. Place dough on hot stone; bake at 500° for 5 minutes. Remove stone from oven. Spread sauce mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top evenly with mozzarella and cheddar. Arrange poblano and onion slices over pizza; top with steak. Sprinkle with queso fresco. Return stone to oven; bake pizza 9 minutes or until crust is done.
  8. Combine tomato, juice, and minced red onion; sprinkle tomato mixture over pizza. Top with cilantro sprigs, if desired.
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Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak Recipe | Betsylife.com

I’d love to tell you a beautiful story about this salad, but the truth is that I’m so beat right now that I can barely think straight. When I said I was going to buckle down a few weeks ago, I meant it. My life is back in full swing and I’m hanging on for dear life.

The old saying goes, “when it rains, it pours”. I have found this to be true many times in my life. In this particular case it’s almost all good things, but they are wearing me out never the less.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak Recipe | Betsylife.com

Coffee is my everything, but coffee alone won’t get me through the extensive to-do lists I’ve been facing day after day. The only way to keep my energy levels up is by eating smartly. Enter a Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak. Protein, fiber, healthy fats, and lots of nutrient packed veggies…oh, and some spice to keep things exciting. THIS is coffee’s perfect companion when it comes to energy sustainability. Plus, it’s easy to prepare ahead of time and eat on the go.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak Recipe | Betsylife.com

It’s true people, this is what I eat instead of fast food. I promise you its easy to make. 30 minutes and a quick trip through the Starbucks drive thru is all you need, and you’ll be full and energized, back to your daily grind, and ready to burn the midnight oil in no time.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak Recipe | Betsylife.com

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak

Ingredients

  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (6-ounce) top sirloin steaks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup ripe peeled avocado, sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine 1 teaspoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, chipotle chile powder, and black pepper; rub evenly over steaks. Add steaks to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut steaks diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
  2. Combine remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, juice, and next 4 ingredients (through honey) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in quinoa, beans, bell pepper, cilantro, green onions, and spinach; toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top evenly with steak and avocado.
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Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine 

Cappuccino Bundt Cake

Cappuccino Bundt Cake | Betsylife.com

I like compartmentalizing my time. Saturday was for work. Sunday was for leisure, and Monday was for recovery and regrouping. I definitely was in need of the extra day this weekend. It gave me some time to process the end of my beloved summer.

San Diego summers last well into October, so I’m not willing to throw in the towel just yet, but I am willing to give way to a little bit of fall inspiration.

Cappuccino Bundt Cake | Betsylife.com

It’s September now, so school is officially back in session, and people are starting to adjust to a new routine. I know that for me, every change in my life, every new step, starts with coffee.

There’s something supremely comforting about coffee. It’s the symbol of the dawning of each new day in this house, and the jumping off point for pretty much everything I do. It’s like a starting gun for new possibilities. I’m in love with coffee.

Cappuccino Bundt Cake | Betsylife.com

I figured as an homage to the drink that I love so much, and in honor of new beginnings, I’d make a delicious cappuccino bundt cake. Fall is a great time for baking, and for drinking warm drinks, so even though the temps are still high here in SoCal, i’ll make this small concession and honor the onset of fall.

Cappuccino Bundt Cake | Betsylife.com

Starting off a new season fully caffeinated can only mean good things are on the horizon. As much as I hate to say goodbye to summer, I am starting to feel the fall love…..just a little.  The spicy and comforting flavors of fall are definitely something I’m looking forward to, as well as soup (my favorite!) and getting to wear my slippers again.

Cappuccino Bundt Cake | Betsylife.com

I hope you’ll all stay tuned to check out the new stuff I’ll be bringing you in the coming months. I’m kind of insanely excited about it, but that might just be the coffee talking.

Cappuccino Bundt Cake | Betsylife.com

Cappuccino Bundt Cake

Ingredients

    For the cake
  • 1 1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 3 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • For the syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • For the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 Tbsp strong brewed black coffee or espresso

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, 3 Tbsp instant espresso and cocoa powder.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter and sugar, about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until well combined. Slowly stir in the milk and greek yogurt.
  6. Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Meanwhile, combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil and continue cooking until mixture is reduced by half.
  8. When the cake comes out of the oven, use a long toothpick or a chopstick to poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Pour the reduced syrup over the top and allow to soak into the cake.
  9. Cool cake in the pan for 30 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
  10. Whisk together powdered sugar and 2-3 Tbsp espresso powder until smooth. Pour glaze over the top of the cake.
  11. Slice and enjoy
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The Great List 08.29.2014

photo-48

I’m spent. This week put me through the physical and emotional wringer and I’m feeling like a pile of jello right now. I’ve got a whole laundry list of baggage I’m here to let go of. Anxiety, illness, sorrow, betrayal, disappointment, loneliness, exhaustion, fear, worry……you name it, it’s weighing on my heart right now. There’s only one way out. Gratitude.

Forget the list. This week i’ve found myself  thinking,

“At least I have a bed to sleep in at night.”

“I’m fortunate to have shoes to wear today.”

“I have the option of turning on the faucet and having water to drink. Not everyone has that luxury.”

The little things matter. A lot. When things seem the most challenging, I find the greatest comfort in the small things.

Cell phones. Being able to instantly connect with my friends when I need them most.

Tissues have been my savior lately. I’m so grateful not only that they exist, but that I am fortunate enough to be able to purchase them.

Dental sedation. (Don’t ask. Next week’s Great List might be a rambling mess)

The ability to try to find humor when times are tough.

I’m here. I’m trying. I’m moving forward……slowly. I’m already feeling better. Gratitude is the best place to start.

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself.” -Walter Anderson

 

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

I’ve got football on the brain…..ok, football FOOD on the brain, so I took it upon myself to gather up the very best football snacks from around the internet to bring you some game day inspiration. I’ve got all the food groups covered: wings, pizza, dips, fried stuff, mexican food, and bbq sauce.

This is the only round-up you’ll need this season to satisfy everyone in your household and fantasy football league’s cravings. So settle in on the couch, kick up your feet, and get your stomachs ready for another exciting season.

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

Fried Mac and Cheese  from I Heart Naptime

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

 Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread  from Creme de la Crumb

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

Baked Sriracha Buffalo Wings from The Endless Meal

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

 Spinach Artichoke Dip from I Wash…You Dry

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

Loaded Nachos from Damn Delicious

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

Crispy Fried Chicken Sliders from Foodness Gracious

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

Lighter Jalapeño Poppers  from Gimme Some Oven

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

Spicy Guacamole Dip from Eat the Love

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

 Steak and Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bites from Perpetually Hungry

 

The Greatest Football Snack Recipes Ever | Betsylife.com

Hawaiian BBQ Quesadillas with Pineapple Mango Guacamole from Half Baked Harvest

 

Make Your Own Bloody Mary Mix

Make Your Own Bloody Mary Mix | Betsylife.com

Tis the season for all things tomato. Farmers market stands and backyard gardens are bursting with these beauties, and I know a lot of people who like to stock up in order to can all sorts of tomato goodness for winter.

That’s all fine and good, but marinara is the last thing on my mind. Tomatoes say three things to me; Caprese salad, salsa, and bloody marys.

As a lover of bloody marys, I was  stoked when I fulfilled one of my long time dreams of making my own batch of bloody mary mix.  Make Your Own Bloody Mary Mix | Betsylife.com

Bloody mary mix is a very personal thing. Almost as personal as marinara. Some people like theirs spicier, some people like theirs tangier. I personally love the earthiness that worcestershire and clam juice bring to the table.

Fresh tomato juice combined with smooth tomato puree is the basis for all mixes. All you have to do is decide what you like, and stir it in.

 

Make Your Own Bloody Mary Mix | Betsylife.com

Make Your Own Bloody Mary Mix

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated horseradish
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup clam juice
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Combine with salt and place in a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Reserve the collected juice. Working in small batches, puree chopped tomatoes until smooth. Press pureed tomatoes through the mesh strainer. Discard solids.
  3. Whisk together strained tomato puree and tomato juice. Add horseradish, lemon juice, lime juice, clam juice, celery salt, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.
  4. Pour over ice and vodka. Garnish with celery and pickles and enjoy!
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Lentil Curry with Okra

Lentil Okra Curry | Betsylife.com #meatleassmonday

I performed my wifely duties and successfully ate all of our  6th anniversary candy gifts within a week in order to minimize our temptation time.

You know me, always happy to help.

This is kind of my MO when it comes to all food special occasions. You know, those times when you allow yourself to pig out free of guilt whether it be an actual holiday or just a weekend where you host a BBQ. I go for the eat-until-its-gone method, and figure I’ll work it off throughout the next week. I don’t like to have food temptations hanging around.

So the candy is gone and we’re on to the “work it off” part of the equation. This starts with making some healthier food decisions, so here I am starting off the week with a healthy, meatless option that incorporates some fresh and seasonal okra (high in fiber!)

Everything in moderation right? Or, binge eat on junk then counteract it for an extended junk free period. Same difference.

Lentil Okra Curry | Betsylife.com #meatleassmonday

Lentil Curry with Okra

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 hatch chile peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Gourmet Garden ginger
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 cups fresh okra, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, chiles and garlic and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in cumin, turmeric and curry powder.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, ginger, diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Add lentils. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are al dente.
  5. Stir in coconut milk, okra and salt & pepper. Continue simmering for 10 more minutes or until okra is done.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
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