May Tower

 May is finally here! As the weather gets warmer, my cravings for light and fresh food kick in.

This year is no exception as I am already thinking of new summery recipes!

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This “May Tower” is perfect for summer months because it incorporates so many fresh and tasty ingredients:

  • 1 pound of medium shrimp (I bought it already cooked from the meat counter)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste – a dash or two will do)
  • 2 mangos, diced (watermelon is also really good in this dish!)
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 TBSP lime juice
  • 3 avocados
  • 2 cups Japanese Sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Splash of Sesame oil
  • 3 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce


  1. Marinate the shrimp in the wine, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I only did this for about 15 minutes and it still tasted really good- but longer is obviously better!
  2. Cook the rice according to directions on the box or package.
  3. Combine the mango, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and lime juice in a bowl.
  4. Dice up the avocados.
  5. Assemble! Now, this is the tricky part. You have to get creative here. Not everyone has something laying around their kitchen that is just perfect for this, so I would recommend using a soup can or something of that sort with both ends removed. Anything with a cylindrical shape that has open ends will work! Be sure to coat the inside of the can with olive oil so the ingredients don’t stick. Place the can in the middle of the plate or wherever you are serving and press a scoop or two or the sushi rice firmly in the bottom. Next, layer on avocado, and once again, firmly press it into the rice. Firmly press the mango mixture against the avocado and then gently place the sushi on top.
  6. Very slowly and carefully, lift the cylinder. The ingredients stay in place the best when they are all cold – so if you can make the rice in advance that is ideal!
  7. To make the sauce, combine the olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper. You can alter the measurements any way you like! I just keep messing with it until I like the taste. Drizzle some of this yummy goodness on top of the shrimp and you’re ready to go!
  8. Oh, and if you like Wasabi, it really compliments this dish.

Happy Eating!


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Gift Baskets in under 60 minutes

“Procrastinator” would describe me well today. I waited until the day before an event to make a gift basket for an auction! Luckily, it only took me one trip to get everything I needed for a perfect gift basket.

So, off I went to World Market…which has quite possibly become one of my favorite stores in the past few months. There is just so much to look at and so much stuff! They have the best of everything which is why it was so easy for me to find everything I needed for this basket.

When making a gift basket arrangement, the best thing to do is decide on a theme. I chose to name mine “Sit Back & Relax” – Sounds pretty perfect, huh?

This basket for auction was complete with bath essentials, a candle, a picture frame, wine & stemless wine glasses, and of course… chocolate! This basket has everything you need for a perfect night in.


Gift Basket Set Isn’t this great? Buy the basket, complete with raffia & a clear basket bag!


Wooden Chalkboard Clips Something like this is really cute to add an extra touch to your basket. Use these chalkboard clips to describe or name your gift basket.


I’m the kind of person who can never have too many picture frames so why not add one to the basket?


Any candle with a nice aroma


Wine of any kind! For all of you Downton Abbey fans – isn’t this just perfect?


Stemless Wine Glasses I’m obsessed with stemless wine glasses – the confetti decorations make them so much fun!


Bath salts & bubble bath Any scent will do!


Lotion & Hand soap

I wasn’t planning on blogging this but it just turned out so well!

Whoever gets this gift basket at the auction will surely love it!

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A Valentine’s Day Dinner

Procrastinate no more. I initially thought about making red velvet brownies to blog this Valentines Day, but your man should be buying you dessert and candy anyway! So…. how about some surf a turf? A nice cut of filet mignon & shrimp with a creamy goat cheese sauce to top it off… That’s more like it!

Buy a 6 ounce filet mignon for you and your Valentine and salt and pepper each side.

Heat up a skillet with 3 tbsp of olive oil until it’s sizzling hot. Sear the filet in the skillet for 2 minutes on each side and let it caramelize. Add a little bit of butter to the skillet as well, but be sure to add it once the meat is searing. Once the filet has some nice color on each side, place the skillet right into a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. I cooked my filet medium, so adjust the timer on the oven depending on how you like your steak. And of course, you can always cook the steak on the grill! I was simply too cold to go outside tonight….something crazy is happening with this Texas weather!

Because it’s Valentines Day I thought I’d add another special touch to this meal and add some shrimp. Peel and devein the fresh (uncooked) shrimp and cook in that sizzling hot pan after you put the steak in the oven. Sear the shrimp for about 30 seconds on each side and get them outta there! It won’t take long for them to cook and you definitely don’t want to overcook them.

While the filets are still in the oven, add equal amounts of butter and goat cheese to a sauce pan on the stove and let it melt over medium heat. I used about 4 ounces of goat cheese and then 3 tbsp of butter. This steak sauce is so heavenly…. you’ll definitely get some brownie points for this one!

Put it all together (with some peppery arugula for garnish) and viola! A Valentines Day Dinner to remember!

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You can pair this surf and turf with a number of delicious sides, but I recommend these two:

Twice Baked Potatoes…because….isn’t it obvious?! Butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, bacon…. enough said. 


& Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts




Bacon & Goat Cheese Jalapeño Poppers

Happy Belated Superbowl Sunday! For those of you who are elated about the outcome, consider this post a chance to continue your celebration. If you were hoping for a Bronco victory, I can assure you these Bacon & Goat Cheese Jalapeño Poppers will ease your pain.

Start by cutting the stem off the jalapeño peppers and then slice each pepper in half (lengthwise). Using a spoon, de-seed the peppers or your mouth will surely be on fire when you indulge in this cheesy goodness.

Combine 4 ounces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of goat cheese, and 1/2 cup of Colby Jack cheese. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, & garlic powder to taste. I also added 1 clove of minced garlic (sautéed) to the mixture for a little extra flavor.

Fill the peppers with the mixture and wrap half a piece of bacon around each!

Cook in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through & crispy. I turned the oven on broil for about 1-2 minutes at the very end to get a little more crunch & color on the bacon.

The cheese oozes out of the peppers to make for a yummy and sizzling appetizer. Enjoy!


Eating My Way Through Europe

Thank you to my friend, Ashleigh, who gave me the idea for this post! We got some good pictures of the yummy food we had abroad. Enjoy!


The very first meal we ate in Paris was at Cafe Hugo in Place de Vosges and it was quite possibly the best meal I had!

Pictured below (it’s very dark) are Sea Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and Carrot Soufflé. To die for!


Some serious mushrooms….

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And you can’t go to Paris without having Parisian hot chocolate!


Pictured below is grilled lemon chicken topped with an arugula salad. So fresh!


Caprese Salad at Pizza PinoIMG_6064

& of course…..Macaroons!!


& more macaroons! You can never eat too many, right?IMG_6080


I can’t say that I loved German food, as I need more than meat and bread in my diet, but it was fun to try!

Pictured below is some kind of pork and potato patties.


& a Pork Knuckle….IMG_6588

& some good ole chicken and potato salad!


Pastries on pastries on pastries…photo 1


Now, on to my favorite food of the trip….GREEK!

Tzatziki….I can’t even begin to tell you how much of this I consumed during my 4-5 day stay in Greece.


Beautiful Greek Salads…


Spicy grilled feta on pita bread….Grilled feta is a must try. I had it at pretty much every restaurant we went to and each place puts their own spin on it. So amazing!




Our favorite Souvlakis…

IMG_6940 IMG_6943Take me back…..

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