Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'm All About Cute Food {tortellini kabob recipe}

Tortellini Kabob Appetizer
I know I've been largely MIA.... as penance thought I'd try to throw out a couple festive EASY make ahead appetizers each week as the holidays stroll up and get us.  These are so good and truly best if they are made the day before but not required.

This recipe will make about 80 kabobs.... cut it down as you need, but they keep as a yummy snack for a few days in fridge so don't skimp too much :)

Tortellini Kabobs

1 package of tortellini [I used the mixed spinach and white so I'd have even more color]
1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes [halved]
3 yellow or orange peppers [cleaned & cut into small squares]
1/2 cup of your favorite Italian Dressing or Vinaigrette
80 6-inch bamboo sticks

Cook your tortellini as per package instructions to al dente, drain and set aside to cool while you cut your vegetables.

Once prepped start kabob-ing.... tomato "cap up" then green tortellini, then pepper, then white tortellini and finish with a tomato "cap down" line up in a Tupperware or glass 9x13 dish drizzling lightly the dressing on each layer before piling the next on top.  No need to separate these, I've had no sticking issues.  Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.

They are bright, festive and no fuss appetizer or light luncheon item.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Bloody Good Sangria for your Halloween Festivities! {Blackberry Lychee Sangria with Eyeballs!}

Blackberry Lychee Sangria with Eyeballs


I adore Halloween and this is one of my favorite Halloween Cocktails.... that said, remove the eyeballs and it's a great Sangria for any time of year :)

What You Need
 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine {I prefer a Shiraz-Cabernet Blend for a dark spiciness}
1/4 cup Blackberry
Not So Simple Syrup
1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup Triple Sec
1 can Lychees* reserve syrup
1 dozen or so maraschino cherries
1 (750-ml) bottle sparkling water, chilled
optional:  dry ice

 What You Do

Combine everything but the sparkling water and Lychees in a large glass pitcher. Cover and chill completely, 1 to 2 hours.

Open the Lychee can and stuff each Lychee with a maraschino cherry where the pit once was, if the cherries are too large tear in half so as to not tear the lychee. Store in their juice in a covered container until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, add the sparkling water, lychee eyeballs and syrup.

If you are extra spookilicious.... add a small piece of dry ice to the pitcher [make sure it's not too full or it'll bubble over] to make it a smokey, bubbly brew!


*Lychees are found in the canned fruit section of most Asian Markets, they are peeled, pitted and in a light syrup.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jumping on the Pumpkin Bandwagon.... a/k/a my annual Pumpkin Hater Post. {Pumpkin Cheeseball Recipe}

Pumpkin Cheese ball Recipe

It's common knowledge among my blogging friends that I'm a pumpkin hater. 

Not that I dislike pumpkin. 

Au contraire, I actually love pumpkin, it's my favorite pie [my Nana used to bring one home every Friday when we lived with her special just for me!], I love pumpkin bread [my sister in law is famous for hers!] and I love pumpkin seeds [better than smoking or nail biting!]....

What I hate is that come October everyone vomits pumpkin.... it overwhelms me. Pumpkin MartinisPumpkin Pie Rice Krispy Treats, even Pumpkin Dog Treats. swear to God. Click it. I'm not sure why but I stroke out a little with each new post.... and I'm sure they are fabulous [I've given you the links because I know each and every one of you will want a darn pumpkin martini.....]. I just cannot do it.  

But I do make my only little pumpkin every year.... twice. Once for Halloween and once for Thanksgiving. And I love it. It's think it's adorkable and yummy. Sometimes I'm more successful than others in my sculpting but it's always elementary school cute at a minimum.

And now I share with you.

What you need:
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely crushed Cheeze-its
1 bell pepper stem, stick or pumpkin stem

What you do:

Melt 2 teaspoons butter in skillet; add garlic and white onion. Cook over medium–high heat, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes or until just starts to brown. Remove from heat.

Use mixer to combine garlic mixture with softened butter and cream cheese, and shredded cheese. Form your pumpkin. Place crushed crackers into large shallow bowl or pie pan. Roll cheese ball into crackers; press evenly to coat. Place onto serving plate.

Create stem for top of pumpkin from bell pepper slices [see right hand pumpkin in picture], a stick [bottom picture] or use a real pumpkin stem [top or left picture].

Cover; refrigerate 2 hours or overnight to blend flavors.
Serve with crackers and vegetables.

Poof.  You are Martha Stewart!

Happy Fall :)

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

One of Those Days Best Served with a Blackberry Sage Whiskey {or Gin} Fizz!

I'm going to keep this short & sweet, I've been chasing my tail for a month.... I cannot believe a week has gone by since I saw this drink post and I haven't shouted from the rooftops.... this drink is ME.  Heather at Girlichef channeled some serious Young Grasshopper and I.  LOVE.  IT.  I promise you Blackberry in the winning basket of this giveaway!  GO! WIN! You need this drink..... well, hell, Heather's channeling, I'm projecting.... I need this drink.
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Life is Simply Not So Simple

It's been a crazy month since we launched, with Home Shows, Special Events and getting into some retail shops.  All very exciting but oh so busy.  Nevertheless, the minute I slowed down I got myself some Prosecco & Limoncello and tried this awesome cocktail creation by Jennie at The Messy Baker Blog.... ahhhh.  You need to go check it out for yourself and do it quick because you still have a chance to win!
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thinking Outside of the Box

Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
Lemon Cream Soda

Let me just say all these great bloggers trying our product, taking their time to create mind blowing recipes and share them has been like CHRISTMAS for me!  I get so excited as I wonder what the next awesome recipe idea will be..... and Jen over at Juanitas Cocina did not disappoint!  Please check out her crazy Not So Simple yumminess at her site and while your there enter to win a gift basket from me! 

Thanks again Jen! XXOO

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Homemade Soda Recipes and a Giveaway

Homemade Not So Simple Sodas

What?? You haven't won yet?

Well don't give up pop over to Katherine Martinelli for another chance to WIN!

p.s. she's got a great SodaStream recipe waiting for you :)
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Strawberry Bellinis #Giveaway at That Skinny Chick Can Bake!

Strawberry Bellini

Only a few hours left to pop over to Liz's place and enter to WIN!

Have a Bellini on me while you're there :)

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Hungry Couple: Strawberry Thyme Gin Fizz and a Giveaway!

Strawberry Thyme Gin Fizz
Oh this is the lovely Anita at her finest please check out this crafted Not So Simple ART over at Hungry Couple: Strawberry Thyme Gin Fizz and a Giveaway! and of course enter to WIN!  Contest closes tonight at the stroke of midnight :)
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17 Apart: Not So Simple Syrup Cocktail Recipe & #Giveaway

Tonight is your last opportunity to enter their giveaway so scoot on over to 17 Apart: Not So Simple Syrup Cocktail Recipe & Giveaway to enter AND get an awesome recipe for their Not So Simple Bees Knees :)
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Not So Simple Syrup {Pin It Party}

Shout to Lauren at
Hey Hey Designs for
the new ME <3
I've alluded to my new project but I haven't done my official.... HEY LOOK WHAT I'M DOING post.  A lot is cooking over here and I saw this Pin It Party over at the Lean Green Bean and thought I'd use it as the motivation to gather myself together and do my launch post and maybe gather a Pin or two!

It's not secret I am in love with mixology. Well, my passion for the cocktail and never-ending propensity for invention led me to start Not So Simple Syrup. What started with infusing syrups for my own cocktails, evolved to perfecting them and sharing with friends or as treats at catering events. About a year ago I really set out to create all natural syrups that would make amazing mixed drinks as well as iced teas and non-alcoholic beverages that could be sold at my favorite stores.

I naturally asked my catering partner-in-crime, Barbie, to come along on the journey. It's been one big learning experience but like everyone has kept telling me.... "if it was easy EVERYONE would do it!"  It's not easy, I have made it through the labyrinth of the Florida Department of Agriculture.... the FDA.... lab testing, bottling research, design, blood, sweat and tears.

Where are we today?  We are a small, local maker of simple syrups that spend our days and nights looking for ways to help you transform your own drink creations. We use the highest quality ingredients, are permitted by the Florida Department of Agriculture as manufacturers and bottlers and work out of a commercial kitchen in Winter Park Florida. I personally test every batch individually, so you can trust every bottle of Not So Simple Syrup. And I'd like to share the few posts I have so far to celebrate our first orders shipping this week.  

And starting next Tuesday [which just happens to be my BIRTHDAY!] the first of my Blogger reviews and GIVEAWAYS will be posted.... so keep an eye out!

& I keep you posted as the list grows!

In the meanwhile check out these cocktails...

Sparkling Not So Simple Sangria a great recipe
using Not So Simple Syrup to transform your Sangria

Not So Simple Strawberry Limonaide was what I
dubbed the Official drink of Summer 2013.
You should consider it for your 2014! [or what
the heck.... happy hour tonight!

This is my single favorite Mojito ever
and my most viral pin ever....
The Champagne Mojito!
It doesn't call for Not So Simple Syrup in this post
but made with Strawberry NSSS kicks it

This Citrus Sparkler was our New Years Eve
Cocktail this year.  A. MAY. ZING.

Hope you'll check out my new stuff!
Available online for now but
working our way into stores near YOU!


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sparkling Not So Simple Strawberry Limonaide

Sparkling Not So Simple Strawberry Limonaide
I know I should be taking more time on my posts and staging my pictures and such but it's just not where I am at right now.
When I find a moment to enjoy a cocktail, there's no time for staging.  These are my real life moments.  I need a drink dammit ;-)
And bottom line, I'm afraid I'll lose these awesome recipes if I don't start chronicling better....
This drink was what I VERY late in the season dubbed my official drink of Summertime 2013. I only had the recipe in a comment on my Facebook Instagram post. 
It was only a matter of time before it was
gobbled up by my endless ramblings
never to be found again....
But now it's safe.  And you really should try it. 
and you will too....
What You Need:
What You Do:
  • Lightly muddle your Syrup with a couple lemon slices
  • Add Limoncello
  • Pack your glass with ice
  • Top with Brut Champagne

Insert Straw into drink, butt into lounge chair.... AHHHH
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Sparkling Not So Simple Sangria Flora

Sparkling Not So Simple Sangria Flora

Shuffling through  Instagram on Sunday I came across St. Germaine's Sangria Flora .... It looked lovely.

Fact: nothing is nicer than a lovely glass of Sangria on a lovely afternoon.

I headed to my bar and came up with a variation of their recipe to suit my mood and pantry and to cut the alcohol I enlisted the help of my "Not So Simple Syrup" and seltzer.  It was as lovely as I imagined and so I had to share with YOU!

What you need:
What You Do:
1. Pour the wine into a pitcher.
2. Stir in the St. Germaine, Not So Simple Syrup and the fruit. 
3. If time allows chill for a few hours (which I acknowledge is not always the case).  Right before serving, add the sparkling water to the pitcher, then pour the sangria into glasses packed with ice.


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Friday, August 16, 2013

Yo Ho Ho & A Gaggle of Rum Recipes! {HAPPY NATIONAL RUM DAY!}

So we meet again..... I wondered as I noticed the date if I'd even have any Rum recipes to gather as I've definitely been a Gin girl of late.... but fear not, there's still some pirate in me!  Enjoy one of these fabulous drinks to celebrate the day!


The always classic.....
still an all time FAV!
Bramble Mojito

NO BOO-ing here!
Dark & Stormy Death Punch

Doesn't need to be
complicated..... Meyer 25

& when we all need a quick ghetto fix....
Pirate's PUNCH!

if all else fails......
2012 Rum Compilation

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WOW MEET EASY {6 Ingredient Springform Rigatoni Pie}

Springform Rigatoni Pie
I kept seeing pictures of this recipe and was dying for an event that would call for it..... then when planning dinners for the week my three little nieces were visiting... yup!   Kid friendly, adult impressing....

This is one of those recipes that has such a visual wow factor that one might be intimidated
and think they can't do or
they aren't a "good enough" cook. 
BAH! This is an awesome dish
with really no hard work SWEAR! 
{I guess you could keep that between us....} 

Taste wise:  it's a cross between lasagna and baked ziti and could be modified to accommodate just about any diet based on your choices {vegetarian, gluten free, low fat}.

Best news?  I founds dozens of recipes for this and while most had lists of ingredients as long as your arm.... NO NEED.  Don't go there.  SIX ingredients {5 if you are vegetarian LOL}. 

It's my new motto.... life does NOT need to be complicated.  Nor does your crazy mind blowing rigatoni pie....
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Soup {Quick Sweet Corn Vermicelli Soup Recipe}

Sweet Corn Vermicelli Soup 
We love soup.  Any time of year.  It's comforting, it's easy and it can be a quick weeknight fix.  This is a great light summer dinner that incorporates the great fresh corn that is in abundance right now and also is simplified by grabbing one of those great roasted chickens that your grocery store deli always has on hand.
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Life Doesn't Always Have To Be Complicated {Parmesan "Monkey-Bread"}

Parmesan "Monkey-Bread"

This recipe came up on a single Dad's wall on Facebook I know and I thought to myself.... I'm trying it and all I can say is, it will go in the arsenal..... Really yummy and better yet really REALLY easy. 

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bento Box Soup

I love Asian food. I always feel healthier for eating it. I found this soup on my Epicurious App after searching "Miso, Chicken, Mushroom" and while I had to swap out quite a few ingredients to make it work with my pantry conceptually I stayed true to it and it was a PERFECT dinner [and cannot wait to eat for lunch too!]. 

And I wasn't alone.... everyone loved it [even the old guy] and along with it's healthfulness was fabulous flavor and great textures.... soup with crunch, does it get any better? 

Did I mention less than 200 calories per serving? um yeah... bye bye Lean Cuisine!
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Trifle By Vi (Vi-Shape recipe)

Trifle By Vi
 A couple months ago I was approached by ViSalus and asked if I wanted to try their product, Vi-Shape, and come up with a recipe. I know quite a few folks who swear by Body by Vi and with my recent dieting I thought this was actually a perfect match for me.... 

My first step was just trying a basic shake to see what I was working with and I have to say it was really tasty. Significantly better than most of the other shakes I've tried. 

In fact, I was so impressed I can see this product in part of my normal life as a healthy tasty quick breakfast or as a component in a great snack!  But I digress, after tasting it I decided to go the dessert/snack route but what I ended up with could be just about any meal depending on your portion size.  It's modeled after a super yummy Trifle I made recently (which I promise to share soon) it's light, crisp and has great textures. 
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy National MOJITO Day! {A Collection of Mojito Recipes}

Lemon-Lime Mojito
Well, it's been a sad three months with the inability to find the time or motivation to do a post.... I've got a gazillion pictures of dinners, restaurants and drinks all waiting for me to reactivate and write a post or two.  Alas, I've not been able to do it. Busy with life and a few health issues have translated into a million excuses and no blogging. 

EVERYTHING can wait while I gather my Mojitos together and raise my figurative glass to celebrate my favorite-ist thing..... THE MOJITO!
and I will raise a literal glass later :)
Champagne Mojito
Limoncello Mojito

Blackberry Mojito
Mexican Mojito

Blue Mojito
Millionaire a/k/a Zacapa Mojito
Dragonberry Mojito
Key Lime Mojito
Elderflower Mojito

Good & Plenty Mojito

NOTE:  So, in gathering all my Mojitos I see that NO WHERE in the mix is the Classic Mojito.  LOL.  I promise that NEXT July 11th I will post the Classic Mojito...
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Quick Sweet Treat (Paleo Macaroons)

Paleo Coconut Macaroons
David has a huge sweet tooth and that is a major challenge when you are trying to eat Paleo. I found this recipe online and it is a great one, I wish I could credit it but I snapped a picture of the screen and couldn't find it again. Anyhow, you'll have that occasionally and these are too good to keep to myself.

These are a quick prep treat and the "batter" holds up well in the fridge if you want to make a few here and there as a fresh baked treat.

What you need:
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup honey
2 & 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut (I had to go to my health food store to find)
A pinch of sea salt

What you do:
Whisk the egg whites and honey together then stir in sea-salt and coconut. Put bowl in fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 and form "dough" into golf ball size balls and place on parchment lined jelly roll pan.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. ENJOY!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The BEST meatballs EVER. It's just extra super awesome they are Paleo. {Chicken & Spinach Meatballs and some Paleo Treats}

Chicken & Spinach Paleo Meatballs
Happy Wednesday!  Well, down another 3 as of Monday's weigh in.... that's 11 total.  Not too shabby.  Better than a poke in the eye.  Not sure where I'll head after Thursday when the 18 Day Challenge is up but whatever we do I've made some delicious discoveries that I'm not giving up....

Paleo Krunch
by Steve's Paleo

Grainless Granola
by Steve's Paleo
OMG delicious and Paleo!
That with a little almond milk
and I'm good for the morning. 

Rao's Homemade....
this is the best
jarred marinara
I've ever had
and yup.
All natural.
All Paleo.

Dates rolled in Coconut.  It's a flippin' Paleo candy bar.  I bought in the bulk section of my health food store.  YUM.

Chicken & Spinach Meatballs

But the BESTEST discovery is these meatballs.  Thanks to my PPC [Paleo Partner in Crime] Debra for developing these..... huge hit and I live amongst some serious spinach haters.


what you need:
3 slices of Paleo coconut bread
3 pounds ground chicken
2 eggs
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well
1 TBSP worcestershire
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano 

what you do:
Process the coconut bread in the food processor to create bread crumbs instead of using regular bread crumbs; then mix everything together in a bowl [use your hands there's no other way. 
I formed into 30 healthy sized meatballs and put on a jelly roll tray covered in parchment. 
Once they were done I generously sprinkled them with Dancer Dust, which is a spice mix I get from a local restaurant but you could sprinkle with whatever taste you are in LOVE with.
Then bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350 F.

I served over Rao's Marinara and a pinch of Parmesan.... SO. GOOD. 

NOTE: I made lots so as to have some left over for lunch [3 or 4 was a nice serving] and boy was I glad.

Last weigh in Friday a.m. I'll let you know [I'd say cross your fingers but there is no luck involved I've decided]!

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Let's Celebrate with some Brisket!

Comic from Menopause Maniac

8.... yes, EIGHT. Ocho. Huit. Acht. Otto. 形. Pounds LOST!


Not sure if it's the 100% no cheat Paleo week or the 31 miles I walked over the last 7 days but I'll take it! 

David too and he's Crossfitting so the 8 is really huge because the muscle developement always slows the weightloss.... best part is he stopped sniveling for a cheat day :) He likes the number 8!

13 days left in our committment to 100% Paleo.... can't wait to see what the end game is now that we've purged the top layer of sludge from our bodies.

Braised Beef Brisket with
Czar Heidi Salad
Let's Celebrate Paleo Style.

Want some Brisket?  Super Yummy.  Super Simple.  Even a Caveman could do it.... LOL.  Sorry.

What you need:
1 large flat beef brisket
2 tbsp kosher salt,

2 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp olive oil
1 & 1/2 cups beef stock

1 & 1/2 beer of your choice [whatever you like because you need to drink the other half!]****

Braised Beef Brisket
What you do:
Remove the brisket from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking and rub it down with the Salt, garlic & onion powder.

Ready to cook? preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat your pan [I used my large Le Creuset Enamel Dutch Oven] with olive oil and wait a minute. Place seasoned brisket, fat side down, in pan and sear on both sides until deep brown, approximately 10 minutes total.

Add beer and beef stock and bring to a boil over high heat [liquid should come just to the top of brisket; add more stock if needed]. Cover pan tightly and braise in oven for 4 hours.

It will be fall apart fabulous.  ENJOY!

****NOTE:  We ALL know that beer is so NOT Paleo.... use all stock if you don't want that minor infraction I was willing to live with it although I did not drink and donated that other half of a beer to the pot :)

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