Currently: July

Whoa… how in the heck is it the end of July already??? Oh, summer… slow down!!

Currently: July | No Thanks to Cake

Let’s talk about what’s going on Currently!  So much…

Current Book(s):

I’m definitely enjoying “summer reads” this year.  Beachy, fun, chick lit has been all over my Nook.  Including these two!

I read The Matchmaker earlier in the month and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!  One of the best of Elin Hilderbrand, if you ask me… and I’ve read most!

The Matchmaker Elin Hilderbrand | No Thanks to Cake

This week, on my little mini vacation, I’ve started reading The Vacationers.  A few of you guys have recommended it to me, and I can’t wait to dive into it!

Vacationers Emma Staub | No Thanks to Cake

Current Music:

I’ve been listening to a bunch of Train this month!  I’ll share more about how it all went next week… but I got to see a private concert with these guys on the USS Midway this week!  OMG…

Train | No Thanks to CakeFavorite Song:  Hands down… Drops of Jupiter.  Takes me back to my college days… their new stuff is great too.  Love these guys!

Current Beauty Find:

Bright lipstick. This summer, I’ve started wearing some great bright-colored lipstick.  I just love it, and it brightens up your smile… so fun!

Revlon Matte Balm | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve been inspiring some other blogger friends to try these colors too… so first, let me tell you that they’re just Revlon.  And, you can find them at your local Target, Walgreens, etc.  They’re part of the Revlon Matte Balm collection, and are those crayon-style lip colors.  As a bonus, these are minty too!  Try them out, and let me know what colors you love!

My faves are Unapologetic (a super-bright coral), Standout (a pretty, pretty red that appears to look good on EVERYONE), and Showy (a lovely pop of fuchsia.)

Current Nail Color:

I keep switching my polish, but I’ve ended up with black on my nails this week and Essie’s Butler Please for my toes… there’s something about me and blue right now.  I’m just going with it…

Butler Please| No Thanks to Cake

Current Drink: 

This month, I also tried my first Paloma.  Um, so delicious!  And, what a lovely alternative to the super-high calorie seniorita called the margarita.  I just pinned this recipe so that I can learn to make them at home…

Paloma | No Thanks to Cake(Source)

It is fresh, made with grapefruit soda and so refreshing!  Perfect for summer.  Try it!

Current Guilty Pleasure:

I bought a new bag.  It was at Nordstrom Rack… it was scared and alone, curled up in the fetal position.  It was scared.

Michael Kors | No Thanks to Cake

Was I really supposed to leave it behind??  Good news, I don’t change out my purse very often….

Current Food:

I have a new snack that I can’t get enough of… Have you tried Balance Bars?  Thanks to my friends at Balance Bar for the introduction to these AMAZING bars this month… such a fan!

Balance Bar | No Thanks to Cake

OMG… the Cookie Dough and ESPECIALLY the Peanut Butter.  Perfect snack… and they totally feel like you’re cheating.

Peanut Butter Balance Bar | No Thanks to Cake

Try them.  You’re welcome.

Current Favorite Show:

I really may delete this category for next month.  I just don’t watch much TV…

Current Outfit:

In preparation for my rockstar competition this week, I got a few new pieces to take to San Diego, including my first jumpsuit!

Jumpsuit | No Thanks to Cake

This is a pic from the shopping adventures… but it has since been altered for length and accessorized to perfection!  The San Diego recap post will have the final look… very excited to share!

Bizarre Happening:

I keep losing things.  When I’m stressed, there’s no telling what I’ll do… but losing the makeup bag I keep in my purse last week and throwing away some new flip flops I bought are just a piece of the crazy that’s been happening here.

Makeup Bag | No Thanks to Cake

By the time you’re reading this, I will have seen the ocean, relaxed a bit at the pool, and returned to my normal, quirky (yet less crazy) self.

Current Online Find:

I absolutely love this commercial, and the fact that so many brands are aligning themselves with empowering young women.  Amazing work, Verizon…

Current Words of Inspiration:

I got a random envelope on my front doorstep last Friday.  And, inside of it was a message that I needed to read…

She Believed She Could So She Did | No Thanks to Cake

With all that’s going on, my friend Jen unknowingly sent me the exact message I needed, at just the right time.  I love it when that happens… and I love “just because” packages.  Note to self: I must do more of these for my people!

Current Mood:

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how grateful I am for everything these days.  For all that fills my days, for the people who make my world, and all of you who visit my little space on the internet.

Incredibly Grateful | No Thanks to Cake

Divider

View my previous “Currently” posts here:

Currently:  June

Currently: May

Currently:  April

Currently: March 

Currently: February

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Edamole

My favorite restaurant in Nashville closed its doors a few years ago now.  I remember that I’d always show up at Rumba, thirsty for their mojitos and hoping that their edamole had made a reappearance on the menu.  Sadly, on my last visit to the place, the edamole did not appear.

Ever since then, I’ve been trying to come up with just the right combinations to make this dish.  I’ve made it with too much avocado, edamame that was too crunchy, and then last week… I made it just right.

Just in time for the California Avocado recipe contest I was participating in.  It was a tough decision between the Grilled Avocado Caprese and this dish, but in the end, both recipes win.  I mean, take a look at this stuff…

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

It has the perfect pairing of edamame and avocado.  Mixed with just the right aromatic ingredients, it is perfect on a pita chip.  Try this one…

Edamole

Inspired by Rumba Nashville

INGREDIENTS

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

1 California Avocado, ripe

1 cup frozen edamame, shelled

½ cup diced red onion

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 roma tomato, seeded and diced

2 tsp. garlic

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Prepare your edamame per the package instructions until tender, not crunchy.  Note:  I cooked mine in the microwave with water.  Also important, the edamame must be soft.  Crunchy will not work.

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Once the cooking process is completed, run cool water over the beans in a colander to cool them off and stop the cooking process.

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Add edamame to a food processor.  Add avocado.  Pulse until combined.

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add cilantro, onion, garlic, and lime.  Pulse to combine.

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Move the mixture to a bowl.  Add the tomatoes by hand.  Stir to combine.

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Serve with pita chips and enjoy!!

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

Edamole | No Thanks to Cake

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34 Degrees Tour + a {GIVEAWAY}

34 Degrees?… No, I’m not talking about the crazy Spring weather in Colorado, although that’s JUS T about the temperature here in Colorado this morning…  Today’s post is about my favorite go-to cracker!

I had an opportunity to first try 34 Degrees crisps about a year ago.  I was initially attracted to the company when I noticed their nutrition label… After all, 9 crackers for just 50 calories???  Yes, Please!!!

34 Degrees | No Thanks to Cake

34 Degree Crackers are actually made right here in Colorado, so when I received an invitation to visit their production location and to learn more about their company… I immediately said yes!

The evening was hosted by Founder Craig Lieberman and his fabulous team, and they shared with their guests not only lots of great information about the company… but also an evening of delicious food pairings.

34 Degrees | No Thanks to Cake

The company actually has Australian origins, named after the latitude of the city of Sydney, Australia!  Craig lived there and developed a passion for food… and a passion for Australian crisp bread which inspired the company that began 11 years ago!

Being onsite at 34 Degrees, I got to see their production line… and was fascinated by the whole experience!  The crackers themselves are made from batter, much like pizelles.  While we weren’t allowed to take pictures on the production line, we did snap a few photos afterward.  Because… when do you have a chance to take pics with your friends wearing lab coats and hairnets? 

Denver Bloggers at 34 Degree Cracker Event | No Thanks to CakeTop Row:  Me, Lynne, Lauren, Heidi   Front Row: Tiffany, Kim, Kaitlyn, Laura

34 Degrees | No Thanks to Cake

Also of note, they were cooking up their famous Rosemary flavor (my favorite!!) as well as two other new flavors that should be coming out soon!!!  So cool to see product innovation coming off the line and excited to have them in my pantry!  Can’t wait to tell you more about them once they’re released!

After the tour of the production line, we were swept away into a room to begin a lovely evening of cheese and cracker pairings!  Two chefs from Whole Foods took the helm and swept us away with all their fabulous creations…

34 Degrees | No Thanks to Cake

My favorite part of the night was when the fancy pairings started to be passed around….  The chef worked hard to prepare two decadent treats for us.

34 Degrees Cracker Pairings | No Thanks to CakeThese bite-sized reubens were phenomenal… and my first bite of a reuben ever!  I’m totally going to have to try a full sandwich at some point.  Aren’t they pretty??

34 Degrees Cracker Pairings | No Thanks to Cake

As the evening came to a close, we each received an amazing goodie bag, including several boxes of crackers, a 34 Degrees water bottle, notepad, purse hook, and a gift card to Whole Foods to purchase supplies to create our own 34 Degrees snacks!

Inspired, I came up with a few different ideas that I’ll share today.

Dress Up Your 34 Degrees | No Thanks to Cake

Frankly, it was so fun to invent these bite-sized appetizers!  I expect I’ll be making more… but here’s what I came up with to get started!

Honey Parmesan Pairing 34 Degrees Crackers | No Thanks to Cake

The Honey Parmesan combination was the first I created.  Squares of parmesan, drizzled with honey, and then topped with cracked pepper.  The salty-sweet-pepperiness of this snack is one worth trying!!  Delicious!

Caprese Pairing 34 Degrees Crackers | No Thanks to Cake

I’m a HUGE fan of tomatoes and caprese salad, so you know that I just had to put these tasty ingredients on one of these crisps!  This pairing was formed by adding a thin slice of tomato, a slice of fresh mozzarella, and then topping it with a fresh basil leaf and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.  Yum-o!

Truffled Fig Bacon Pairing 34 Degrees Crackers | No Thanks to Cake

The most decadent of my three pairings came next.  Inspired by Tiffany’s creation and the fig-proscuitto pizza I posted last year, this one REALLY hit the spot:  Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, Parmesan, Leaf Lettuce, a crispy piece of Bacon, and a spritz of Black Truffle Oil.   O-M-G…

There was also a BLT version, one with edamole (a recipe that I’m working on), and one more that’s on the back of the Whole Grain box… I started eating it before I could snap a good pic – - yes, it’s that good!

Spicy Avocado 34 Degrees | No Thanks to Cake

Much appreciation goes out to my friends at 34 Degrees for giving me an opportunity to play with their tasty crackers and create all of these wonderful pairings and for a lovely night in Louisville.

Now it’s your turn to try these DELICIOUS crackers!!!

The team at 34 Degrees would LOVE you to try their crackers!  You can find them in the cheese/deli department of most major supermarkets, and you can even purchase them online at Amazon.com.  Another great way to try them is to enter this NTTTC GIVEAWAY!!

34 Degree Cracker Giveaway | No Thanks to Cake

One winner will be chosen from today’s post to win a 34 Degrees variety pack as well as a cute 34 Degrees purse hook!  Enter inside the Rafflecopter box below for your chance to win!!  You’re going to love these crackers, I promise!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What flavor would you be most interested in trying:  Natural, Whole Grain, Rosemary, Sesame, or Black Pepper?
Disclosure: This post and giveaway is sponsored by 34 Degrees.  While I received free product and a gift card for recipe supplies, all opinions expressed above are my own.

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Sausage Stars

On Saturday night during game night, we had so much food (and wine!) for our little crowd.

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

I made the BLT Summer Rolls I shared on Tuesday, watermelon gazpacho, and the recipe that I’m sharing today.

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Sausage Stars…  Wow, I was first introduced to these yummy treats at my very first job out of college.  Some of you who are reading this worked with me back then, and you too would get VERY excited when Lisa would bring a container of these in for potlucks.  They’re cheesy, and sausage-y, and just so good!  I haven’t ever served these to a crowd that didn’t love them (even the lightened up version I’m sharing today!)

Sausage Stars

From Lisa Riddle

Makes 48 appetizers

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. Jimmy Dean Reduced Fat Sausage

1 bag Mild Cheddar Cheese made with 2% milk (about 1 3/4 cups)

1 block of reduced fat Cream Cheese, room temperature

8 oz. light Sour Cream

1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix

1 small can black olives, chopped (optional)

48 wonton wrappers

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cook sausage in a saute pan until cooked through.

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Move sausage to a food processor to grind it up finely.

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

4.  In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, cheddar, sour cream, sausage, olives, and ranch mix with a hand mixer until combined.

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Note:  You can prepare the filling ahead of time and store overnight.  I recommend cooking them right before you serve them.  So good when they’re warm!

Also, my sister-in-law Beth freezes the filling if she doesn’t need to use it all and has reported great results!  I froze half of the filling today to eat later this season.

5.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and press one wonton wrapper into each round.

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Add a scoop of the mixture to the center of the wonton (about 2 Tbsp.)

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Bake for 10 minutes until wontons get crispy.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before digging in.  Enjoy!!

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Sausage Stars | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1 wonton serving:

CAL 77; CARB 5g; FAT 4g; PROT 4g; FIB 0g; WW Points Plus: 2

 

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