Shaved Brussels and Honey Cider VInaigrette

brussels pinterestBrussels sprouts have been one of my side dish staples for years now, but until yesterday, I’ve never tried to create a salad with them, or prepare them raw.

I’ve been to two restaurants around town that have a shaved Brussels sprout salad that are great: Late Harvest Kitchen ( at the Fashion Mall) and Pizzology (on Mass Ave). Monday I met a friend at Pizzaology for lunch, and of course got a pizza for lunch, but ordered a Brussels sprout salad to-go for my dinner at work that night.

Let me say: IT WAS AMAZING (I’m a bit of a salad aficionado) and I’m sure the dressing had a lot to do with my love for the dish. Here is my effort at recreating the dish, with a dressing that didn’t turn out quite like Pizzaology’s (because I didn’t have a recipe to go off- I just made it up) but it was still pretty damn good!

shaved brussels 3- angle viewSalad Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 lb shaved Brussels sprouts ( I used a Chef’n brand mandolin to slice/shave the Brussels.. You can purchase one here. This tool is great for slicing any veggie! Just watch your fingers!)
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 Bartlett pear, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 Pink Lady apple, cut into matchsticks
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied pecans
  • Garnish: smoked salmon trimming

Dressing Ingredients:

  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • 6 shakes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (I always add this to my salad dressings)
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup EVOO

shaved brussels 2- aerial view

  1.  Shave all your Brussels. (That sounds dirty . . . muah ha ha)
  2. Add all salad ingredients, toss.
  3. Add dressing, toss again.
  4. Top with fresh cracked pepper, lemon zest and smoked salmon. Add a little extra blue cheese if you’re feeling frisky.

And VIOLA! That’s it. Easy peasy.  I like to leave my greens dressing-free in the fridge for salads through out the week. There will be plenty of left overs here- so you’ll have those shaved bad boys waiting for you. Like I’ve said before, I always like to make my recipe in large quantities because I’m the left-over queen.

shaved brussels 1- side viewAnywho- this is my new obsesh. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I do!

xo Kelli

Carrot and Sweet Potato Bisque

Topped with basalmic reduction, olive oil, sour cream, chili powder and chia seeds.
Topped with basalmic reduction, olive oil, sour cream, chili powder and chia seeds.

If you’re like me and this cold weather literally chills you to the bones, there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup. I went for a carrot bisque because Dad’s love of buying bulk at Costco made him go a little crazy with his carrot purchase. So the carrots I was gifted, plus the two bags I already had in my fridge had me thinking I needed to do something to use them up.

I typically keep carrots on hand because I like to shred them for salads, and also like to made noodles out of them. One of my favorite, simple recipes using carrots is for “Carrot Linguine”, you can find the recipe at this link, to one of my previous posts.

This recipe is simple and will keep well in the fridge for at least a week. You might have a little separation, but that can be remedied with a quick stir.

bisque square

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick of salted butter
  • 10 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic (The store bought kind in a jar is a big time saver)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 box of Organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (The kind in the dairy section along with the regular milk, and milk alternatives. . .not the kind you buy in a can for cooking).
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp Tumeric
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger (I didn’t have any fresh ginger on hand, so if you do I’d include it!)
  1. Saute onions in butter in a soup pot until they begin to caramelize.
  2. Add carrots and sweet potato. Saute for 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and other spices. Stir.
  4. Add water and vegetable broth. Put lid on the pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes. (This will help flavor the broth and infuse it with all that veggie and garlicky goodness).
  5. Turn heat off.
  6. Add heavy cream and coconut milk.
  7. With a hand blender, blend soup until smooth in pot.
  8. Let cool and serve.

I topped mine with a bit of olive oil, balsamic reduction, sour cream, Chia seeds and a dash of chili powder.

bisque close up

I don’t know why but when I eat soup by itself, I kind of feel like it’s a boring meal. . .so I jazz it up with some garnishes and make it fancy. Plus, I love balsamic on literally anything.

If you’re watching your calories, you can absolutely leave the butter and heavy cream out. Substitute olive oil for butter when sauteing and you can either double the coconut milk or even use regular or almond milk. Or heck, leave it out all together. I just like to use butter and cream to give it that rich, creamy, bisque- consistency. Also, just a side note about this soup- it’s a garlic bomb! That’s ok with me because I love garlic and use it to flavor everything, but if you’re worried about getting the stank, or just don’t like garlic, cut the amount down!

I hope this creamy concoction helps keep you warm this winter too, enjoy!

xo Kelli

Bacon and Mushroom Enchiladas Suizas

enchiladas-pinterestGood evening and happy Friday, ladies and gents! Today I’m super excited to share not one, but TWO – recipes with you. One recipe for the “suizas”: the slow cooked pork and green sauce topping (which goes great on ANY enchilada, even just plain cheese) and the other recipe is for the enchilada filling. Both recipes are incredibly easy- you wont believe it!

I first tried re-creating “enchiladas suizas” about a year ago. We go to a local Mexican restaurant a couple times a month and it’s one of our favorite dishes to share, so I thought- why can’t I make this at home? (The version we get at the restaurant is a plain cheese enchilada, with pork, green sauce and cheese topping). For these particular photos, and this particular instance, this was left over, frozen pork from a previous batch. When you make this pork recipe, you will have a TON left over (great for a party). Never fear- pop it into a Zip-Loc gallon-size bag and freeze. De-thaw two days ahead of time for your next enchilada endeavor- or if you’re doing the low-carb thing, just eat it plain! You can’t beat it: slow cooked, tender, and full of flavor!

You could also use the pork as a filling for tacos or enchiladas, but I like to use it as a topping in combination with a salsa verde, or green enchilada sauce.

mushroom bacon enchilada 4
Jalapenos add a nice heat to the savoriness of the enchilada filling. And of course, I always serve sour cream with anything that has jalapenos on it!

Bacon and Mushroom Enchilada Filling

  • 5 lb pork shoulder roast
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning (Shhhhh. . . ranch is good on everything)
  • 2, 4 oz cans of diced green chiles
  • 1 packet “McCormick’s Grill Mates Mojito Lime Marinade”
  • 1/2 Tequila ( I like Reposados)
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Slow roast in pressure or crock-pot. Follow your machines instructions! I personally use a pressure cooker, and have to reset it several times- about 3 hours worth. Using a crock-pot, (which I did the first time I made this), I believe I let it cook on high for about 4 hours and turned it down to the low setting for 3 more hours. As I mentioned previously, this recipe makes EXTRA. Save and freeze what you don’t eat and voila- you have a ready made dinner for a few weeks from now!

We paired this dish with Dogfish Head's Namaste- made with pepper corns, orange slices, coriander and lemon grass. Light, crisp and YUMMMMMMM.
We paired this dish with Dogfish Head’s Namaste- made with pepper corns, orange slices, coriander and lemon grass. Light, crisp and YUMMMMMMM.

Bacon and Mushroom Enchilada Filling

  • 1 large Spanish or Vidalia onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 , 8 oz package baby Portobellos, diced
  • 1 package (about a 1 lb) Nueske’s bacon (click here for link to their site- you won’t regret it!) , cooked, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons of bacon grease
  • 2 heaping Tbsp Dean Jacob’s “Habanero Seasoning” (Click here to buy on Amazon) (I use this in almost all of my veggie dishes, so good!)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Tortillas
  • Shredded mozzarella (8 oz (one bag) for enchilada filling) and a sprinkle for top of enchiladas, OR Cojita Cheese (2 packages)
  • Sour Cream, jalapenos and cilantro for garnishes and topping
  • 1 can of “Green Enchilada Sauce” (store brand is fine) or “salsa verde”. {Ok.      Don’t judge me here for using sauce out of a can. Yes I usually make everything homemade, but this makes the meal quick and easy, and I’ve homemade the sauce several times and find that it really tastes almost the same- and it’s a big time saver. Not to mention the can costs approx $1.15 vs all the ingredients to make it.} So just trust me here, and unless you’re trying to prove something in the kitchen (which sometimes I am) just give in and buy the sauce in the can.
  1. Prepare bacon according to your favorite method. For this particular recipe- I used a microwavable bacon tray to save time. I poured off the grease into the skillet ( again, don’t judge me, it’s not my fault bacon grease makes everything better!).
  2. Saute your onions until they begin to caramelize, in bacon grease.
  3. Add mushrooms and chopped bacon. Add seasoning. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Lay out your tortillas and add filling and cheese. Roll up and place in greased baking dish.
  5. Repeat until filling is gone. (This should be approximately 4 large enchiladas, or 5 medium sized ones.)
  6. Top with cheese and pour entire can of green sauce on top.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
  8. Serve with desired toppings, and make sure you have a shot of tequila or some good booze.  (um- Duh?!)

Afterall, doesn’t bacon go well with everything?

Let me know if you make this and how it turns out! I’d love to hear about your experiences with my recipes! Enjoy.

XO. Kelli

mushroom bacon enchilada 5

How to Create a Matte Finish in Lightroom 5 Using 1 Simple Tool

Ashli -Pinterest cover
Hair, makeup and styling,: Me, duh. Model: Ashli

Today my goal was to figure out how to create a matte finish in light room without having to purchase a “matte finish” preset. Turns out it’s super easy. Here is the step by step on how to do it, and a few more photos of my beautiful  model Ashli.

I love the look of the matte finish. I feel that combined with a slight over exposure gives photos an “early morning” feeling. It’s clean and easy on the eye.

I took Ashli’s photo next to a West facing window (this was all we had to work with).  I uploaded all photos, flagged those I liked and began the edit. As I continue on this journey, I am learning that less is more with editing- especially when it comes to people and faces. I got lucky that Ashli is such a natural beauty- minimal editing besides basic adjustments in Lightroom. Below is a before and after, with the steps I followed to achieve this look.

SOOC(Left): ISO 800, f 4.5, SS 1.40
SOOC(Left): ISO 800, f 4.5, SS 1.40

I almost always begin my edit with a crop, and both of these images have been cropped.

Next, I went in and made my basic adjustments to the photo. As you can probably tell, I like my photos slightly over exposed to give them a bright, luminous feel.

  • Temp: +4
  • Exp: +.70
  • Tint: -53
  • Saturation:-46

Ok. Now that your basic edit is finished, go to your “Tone” curve while still in the “Develop” module. It should look like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 9.08.08 PM In the bottom left corner of the box, there is a small circle. As you can see, I’ve moved the circle up along the left axis to the top of the grid square. In addition to “mattifying” the photo, it also increased the exposure slightly, which was ok with me. That was it, VOILA!

I used this technique on almost all photos from this shoot, as you can use it to layer like any other tool. After this step, although the photo didn’t really need a preset, I decided to look through them anyway. I had been using the preset “RJ Cinema” from CameraStupid.com. (Here is a link for 100 free presets from this site, including the ones I’ve used on these photos.)

So here, I also added a preset, because I was really digging the look. All photos below have basic light room modifications, the tone curve modified, and one of the RJCinema presets from the link above.

Feel free to post your photos trying this trick- I’d love to see how they turn out for you. Enjoy!

I think this one is my fave!
I think this one is my fave! (Reminds me a little of Kendall Jenner here .)

Ashli - RJ cinema4

5 Steps to Fail-Proof Ooey Gooey Cookies, Every Time!

cookie collageHow many times have you been excited to bake a fresh batch of cookies only for them to turn out  like rock hard biscuits, too dry or they wont set up? Since baking is an exact science, it can be tough to get your cookies to turn out “just right” every time. I myself have a hard time following directions. Not because of my oh, so rebellious nature- but because my attention span doesn’t quite last that long.  Wait, what?! I just like to dump ingredients in and hope the finished product turns out alright.

So a few years ago- I perfected this BASIC cookie recipe and memorized it. ( I suggest you do to!)  For this batch, I was in the mood for chocolate chip- so the cookies pictured are a yummy version of that classic. However, by using the basic recipe below, and following my 5 steps to a PERFECT cookie every time- you’ll be able to turn out a perfect batch from memory, easy as pie.

cookies 4

Here is the basic recipe, followed by “5 Steps to Fail-Proof Ooey Gooey Cookies, Every time”.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of softened butter (or 1 c plus 1 Tbsp water Crisco Butter flavor)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 c chocolate chips (here you can substitute chocolate chips for nuts, other dessert chips, or any kind of yummy you’d lilke!)
  • (Optional: when making chocolate chip variety, I like to add 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream)

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugars in mixer.
  2. Add eggs, salt and vanilla.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients, sans chips.
  4.  Add mixed dry ingredients to wet, a little at time.
  5. When dry and wet ingredients are completely mixed, add your chips.
  6. Use cookie scoop to evenly spread cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 F for 11-13 minutes.

These cookies will look like they are not done. That’s ok- go ahead and take them out of the oven. They will bake up slightly on the cookie sheet as it cools- and we want them to be soft and ooey gooey- not crispy!

cookies 5

5 Steps to Fail Proof Ooey Gooey Cookies:

So below you’ll find my tips to creating a successful cookie- EVERY TIME no matter the recipe variation. (Sometimes I like to add coconut extract, coconut flakes, white chocolate and blueberries. This is another favorite of the bf!)

5 tipsI like Reynold’s Brand Parchment Paper (made from recycled materials!) and they also have pre-cut cookie sheet packages, and my cookie scoop is from Crate and Barrel, $12.95.

scoop and paper

cookies 2

Now I’m getting ready to wrap these suckers up in delicious little care packages to pass off to friends and family. It’s the first day of the year and I can’t have one million cookies sitting around tempting me. Happy New Year Y’all!

xo Kelli