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Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls + Four Unique Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune

Disclosure: This #TaiPeiGoodFortune shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

With the holiday season in full swing, and the big Christmas holiday just a little over two weeks away, holiday entertaining is alive and well in our house.  Our schedule is packed full of social obligations, and we’re already planning and prepping the menu for our big Christmas celebration.  I’ve been finding myself spending lots of time having friends and family over, and attending lots of get-togethers, potlucks, and parties.  I love entertaining, but I don’t like spending all my time in the kitchen preparing.  I mean, isn’t the point of having friends over spending as much time with them as possible? I like to have delicious snacks ready in just minutes so I can get my quality holiday bonding time in! Today I want to share an easy holiday entertaining idea with you that’s as simple as it is delicious: my Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter, made super easy with the help of Tai Pei Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls, plus the recipes for four of my unique (but super easy) dipping sauces that you can throw together in just minutes. 

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

When I entertain, I love to come up with fun and unique appetizer ideas–usually some sort of snack that can be personalized with different toppings, sauces, or flavorings.  These are always unique and different–and most importantly, crowd pleasing! Giving your guests lots of choices in their snacks without cooking up lots of different appetizer dishes is the best way to make everyone happy without being tied to the kitchen.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

Dipping stations are one of my favorite appetizers for easy entertaining.  Everyone gets the sauce they want and boom–instantly personalized snacks! If they want to try one or a little bit of everything, they totally can.  These dipping sauces can be made ahead of time too, so you can spend even MORE time with your guests and out of the kitchen!

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

Tai Pei’s delicious egg rolls and spring rolls are the perfect appetizer solution paired with these sauces.  Being Filipino, I always tend to serve Asian dishes at Christmas, alongside our other traditional dishes like turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and more.  Tai Pei’s authentic tasting Asian appetizers go great alongside the rest of my family’s meal.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

Not only are Tai Pei’s egg rolls and spring rolls really delicious and tasty, they’re also a cinch to make.  Just pop them in the oven on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes, and presto! Appetizers are ready to go.  I had such a hard time resisting the delicious scent of the spring rolls, there might be a couple (or several) missing from the pictures.  Actually, I’m surprised they made it to being photographed! They’re packed with fresh cut veggies and hearty chicken, all wrapped up in a tasty, crispy wrapper–seriously, what’s not to like?

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

I picked up our Tai Pei egg rolls and spring rolls in the freezer section of our local Walmart.  They have so many flavors to choose from, from chicken to pork to shrimp to veggie–and even spicy chicken for the more daring ones out there.  My favorite are the chicken, but the veggie are a close second!

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

Even though Tai Pei has a totally delish sauce that conveniently comes alongside their egg rolls and spring rolls, you know that I’m always looking to put a unique twist on classic standbys.  I created four brand new Asian inspired dipping sauces that go perfectly with Tai Pei’s snacks: Carrot Ginger, Mango Lime, Honey Soy, and Orange Almond. You can make one, or make all four, and give your guests the fun of personalizing their holiday appetizer treats.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

Carrot Ginger Dipping Sauce

This sauce reminds me of the salad dressing at one of my favorite Asian restaurants! The carrots give the sauce a sweet base, while the ginger adds a bit of spice, and the rice wine vinegar gives it some tang.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • salt + pepper to taste

1.  In a blender, combine all ingredients except water and oil.  With the blender running, stream in the water and the oil.  Blend for about 1 minute, until oil and water are completely mixed in with the other ingredients.  Pour into small bowl and serve.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

Mango Lime Dipping Sauce

Mango is an unusual choice for a sauce perhaps, but I was inspired by mango chutney and the flavors of India.  I combined the mango with lime for a bit of  citrusy sweetness and a little nod to Thai cuisine.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons mango nectar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • brown sugar to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons, but my limes were not particular ripe and sweet)

1.  In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients except sugar.  Gradually add in a small amount of sugar at a time, until it’s sweet enough, but not TOO sweet (it’s not a dessert!).

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

Honey Soy Dipping Sauce

This sauce is probably the most traditional of these sauces, but the hint of sweetness from the honey makes it a little more unique! The sweetness of the honey is set against a hint of spiciness from red pepper flakes, so you get the best of both worlds!

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1.  In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients except sesame seeds.  Keep whisking until honey is dissolved and fully incorporated into the sauce.  Stir in the sesame seeds just before serving.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

Orange Almond Dipping Sauce

I love this sauce so much–it’s definitely my favorite! It reminds me of the typical Asian peanut dipping sauce, with a little twist.  The use of almond butter gives this sauce a richness that is way beyond your typical peanut sauce!

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2″ piece ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1.  Combine all ingredients except sesame seeds in a blender and process until smooth.  Stir in sesame seeds just before serving.

Easy Asian Inspired Appetizer Platter with Tai Pei + Four Dipping Sauces #TaiPeiGoodFortune #ad

I hope you’ll give these delicious Asian inspired dipping sauces a try–they’re sure to be crowd pleasers alongside Tai Pei’s delicious assortment of egg rolls and spring rolls.  For more from Tai Pei, check out their website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest.

Happy Holidays!

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Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart

Disclosure: This #ChooseSmart shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

It’s official–baking season has arrived! With November’s arrival, it means big holiday meals, parties, and get-togethers will be filling our calendars soon. I love the holiday season, and I love cooking holiday meals even more (probably more than is normal, actually), but I definitely struggle on those big days to get everything prepped, cooked, baked, and plated.  To take some of that holiday pressure off, why not use a slow cooker to free up some of your time (and oven space!)? I created this delicious Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream to save you time making dessert during the holiday season–just put the ingredients in, turn it on, and voila–major dessert deliciousness! Thanks to Smart & Final and their First Street brand products, I’ve got everything I need right at my finger tips to make this delicious dessert.  

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

 When stocking up for the holiday season, Smart & Final makes prepping easy.  They’ve got everything from produce, to meats, to warehouse-sized items, all under the same roof.  I can get all my baking supplies, paper goods, turkey, and fruits + veggies all at the same place–without a club card!

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Smart & Final’s First Street brand offers every kind of baking supply you might need, from sugar:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

To all types of flour:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

 To oats:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

 And even baking extracts and ice cream:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

 First Street Pure Vanilla Extract has such a strong and classic vanilla flavor–I just love it.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Smart & Final seriously has everything I need to stock up for my favorite time of year.  I always have my baking supplies on hand and at the ready for whatever holiday get-together I’m prepping for, and which is easy thanks to the one-stop shopping at Smart and Final.  Making this Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble couldn’t be easier, thanks to their help!

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

This time of year, everyone seems to go for the pumpkin and apple desserts.  I see pumpkin everything and caramel apple everything, which I LOVE–but I think it’s time for something different. Everyone seems to forget one amazing and delicious fruit: the sweet and tangy pear!  

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

These babies are so good mixed with caramel and cinnamon and vanilla and all kinds of yummy fall flavors. They’re the perfect dessert for the holiday season.  If you’ve ever had warm, poached pears before, this dessert is like that… plus a crunchy streusel topping and creamy french vanilla ice cream.  It’s heaven in a bowl.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

I love the warm, caramel-y crumble with the ice cream, especially when it starts to get a little melted and all mixed together. Oh. So. Good.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Best of all, this dessert couldn’t be simpler.  It takes maybe ten minutes of prep time–chopping the pears, mixing the sugars, and mixing the topping–and cooks in just two hours.  It’s totally hands-off, which means you’ll have plenty of time to worry about your main course, or if you’re having friends over for dessert–more time to spend with the ones you love (And isn’t that what this time of year should be about anyway?).

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes about 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 6 Bartlett pears, sliced then cut into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup First Street Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup First Street Granulated White Sugar

For the topping:

  • 2/3 cup First Street Rolled Oats
  • 2/3 cup First Street Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup First Street All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons First Street butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon First Street Pure Vanilla Extract

For serving:

  • First Street French Vanilla Ice Cream
  • First Street Extra Creamy Dairy Whipped Topping

1.  Cut the pears into medium sized chunks and place in a bowl.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Sprinkle the pears with the salt and one teaspoon of cinnamon:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Then toss with a spoon to thoroughly coat the fruit in the seasonings:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

2.  In the bottom of your slow cooker, mix together the brown and white sugars, spreading them into an evenly layer on the bottom.  This will become your caramel.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Spread the cinnamon-coated pears on top of the sugars in a single layer (as much as possible):

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

3.  In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the streusel topping.  

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Use your fingers to distribute the butter through the oats and sugar until it forms coarse crumbs:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Spread the streusel topping on top of the pears in the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

4.  Cook on high for two hours (or low for four hours), then unplug and let sit for one hour while the caramel thickens:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

5.  To serve, scoop some of the caramel-y pear goodness into a bowl, then top with a big scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream and a little bit of whipped cream:

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

Yum! I can’t believe how delicious (and SIMPLE) this is! You’ll definitely find this on our table many times throughout the holiday season.

Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream from Smart & Final #ChooseSmart #shop #CollectiveBias

For more from Smart & Final, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

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Slow Cooker Caramel Pear Crumble with French Vanilla Ice Cream
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  3. 6 Bartlett pears, sliced and chopped into pieces
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the topping
  1. 2/3 cup rolled oats
  2. 2/3 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup flour
  4. 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. French Vanilla Ice Cream
  8. Whipped Cream
Instructions
  1. 1. In a bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt, and pears until the fruit is coated with seasonings.
  2. 2. In the bottom of the slow cooker, mix together white and brown sugars, flattening into an even layer.
  3. 3. Pour the pears on top of the sugars into a single layer.
  4. 4. In a bowl, mix together the streusel topping ingredients. Use your fingers to distribute the butter throughout the oats and sugar, making coarse crumbs. Pour the topping over the pears in the slow cooker.
  5. 5. Cook on high for two hours (or low for four hours). Unplug and let slow cooker sit for 1 hour, allowing the caramel to thicken.
  6. 6. Serve with french vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top.
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Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

Well, the day has finally arrived.  The last night of summer.  Tomorrow I go back to school, back into the classroom, to prepare for another year of 7th grade.  As I sit here typing this, my chest is a little tight with anticipation and anxiety about the school year to come.  I’ll meet my students on Monday, and summer vacation will soon be just a distant memory for us all.  It’s kind of sad and bittersweet.  I love my job–don’t get me wrong–but summer passing so quickly each year makes me realize how time just slips away so fast.  

Anyway, enough waxing poetic for this evening. Sometimes when I’m really bored, I wander the aisles of the grocery store in search of inspiration.  I love finding new and different ingredients and challenging myself to create a recipe around them.  Since it’s time for me to go back to work, I’m in need of easy, healthy snack foods.  One of my favorite go-to snack recipes is homemade granola bars.  They’re so easy to make and taste SO good.  I love that they don’t have a ton of sugar and that I can control exactly what goes in them.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

 A couple weeks ago at Trader Joe’s I came across a bag of dried sweet baby pineapple.  I’m a huge pineapple lover, and baby pineapple–how cute is that? I have a bit of a pineapple obsession going on right now, so of COURSE I had to buy a bag. I thought they’d make some really different and delicious granola bars. And I was totally right.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

 

I combined the pineapple with some coconut for a little extra tropical flavor, and some mini dark chocolate chips for a little sweetness.  I love eating dark chocolate–it cures my sweet tooth and the antioxidants are good for you too!

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

One thing I love about making granola bars at home is that you can customize them however you want.  The basic formula is pretty easy.  You need a binder and a sweetener (like applesauce and honey), some spices (like cinnamon and vanilla), and oats, and then you can customize the rest to your own tastes.  You can add nuts for some crunch, all kinds of dried fruit, and even chocolate.  

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

These granola bars are also gluten free, which is really cool for people like my sister who are gluten intolerant.  She has such a hard time finding reliable, edible, and delicious gluten free snacks, so I kind of designed these with her in mind.  Just keep in mind, when making gluten free granola or granola bars, make sure you get certified gluten free oats, because lots of them can have cross-contaminants.  I always buy my oats at Trader Joe’s, since they have the gluten-free seal on them.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack  

Feel free to adapt this recipe however you see fit. If you like milk chocolate, go for it.  Want to add a different fruit? Cool! Need some nuts for a little saltiness and added crunch? Go crazy.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Pineapple Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 + ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, dried sweet baby pineapple
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper (I used an oval Corningware pan–it works but your bars will be a little bit funky shaped!).

2. In bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

 

3.  Add the oats. Make sure to mix thoroughly, coating all of the oats with the wet ingredients.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

4. Add the pineapple, unsweetened coconut, and chocolate.  Mix to combine.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Use a spatula to pat it down tightly and smooth out the top.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool in the freezer until the bars are firm, about 1 hour. Remove from the pan and cut into bars. You’ll want to store these in an airtight container at room temperature; they’ll last for about one week.

Dark Chocolate Pineapple Granola Bars #glutenfree #healthysnack

I like to wrap these individually in foil at the beginning of each week.  When I pack my lunch in the morning, I just grab a bar and toss it into my lunch bag.  Easy and fast.  Once you taste these homemade granola bars, you’ll never go back to the store-bought ones again!

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Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

 

Every city has their own special style of hot dog.  New York has their Dirty Water Dogs, Chicago has those dogs covered in tomato, picked, relish, and whatnot, and LA–well, we have the bacon wrapped LA street dog. Some call it an Alley Dog, some call it a Danger Dog, but whatever you call it–it’s still delicious.

You won’t find our hot dog in an actual restaurant. You can’t order it from a sit-down joint at all, in fact.  The best hot dog in LA is sold on the street, cooked on a food truck… or more than likely, a little push cart with a makeshift grill on top.

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

Sound a little scary? Well, of course it is. It’s LA–we like to live dangerously.

**

Okay, okay. Truth be told? I never had the guts to try a street dog until year before last… and I grew up here in LA.  I visit downtown LA quite often, where the bacon wrapped street dog can be found on every corner.  I’d pass by cart after cart, smelling the delicious grilled peppers and onions, and my mouth would start watering.  I’d never try them though.  Food off the street? Never!

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

A couple of years ago though, on a trip downtown to buy fabric, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a try.  I mean, I’d eaten quite a few NYC street dogs over the years, and I’m still alive and kicking, so that was a good sign.

I am SO glad that I gave in and gave the LA street dog a try.  The grilled peppers and onions are amazing paired with the crispy bacon surrounding the hot dog.  As if that weren’t good (bad?) enough, the hot dog comes with all the fixings too–mustard, ketchup, AND mayo, and from some places, a grilled jalapeno and pico de gallo salsa upon request.  It’s definitely a heart attack waiting to happen, but boy it is GOOD every now and then. I eat one every time I visit downtown–and it’s the highlight of my trip.

If you can’t get to LA to experience the bacon wrapped street dog first hand, don’t worry–I’ve got you covered.  They’re super easy to make at home and take very little time to prepare.

The Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dog

Ingredients:

  • 4 jumbo beef hot dogs
  • 1 package thick-cut bacon
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 white onion
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • hot dog buns
  • mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • ketchup

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

1.  Slice the onions and bell peppers into thin strips.  Remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeno, then dice into small pieces.

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

2.  Wrap two slices of bacon around each hot dog.

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

3.  Brush some oil (about 2 tablespoons) onto an indoor griddle.  Heat to medium high heat and place the veggies on top.  

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and add a pinch of sugar (The sugar will help to caramelize the onions quicker.)

Use a pair of tongs to toss the veggies around to coat them in the seasonings and oil.  Let the peppers and onions cook until they are slightly charred and blackened.

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

3.  In a skillet, heat another tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon wrapped hot dogs.  

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

Cook until the bacon is crispy and browned, turning the hot dogs several times to evenly cook the bacon.

4.  Remove the hot dogs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Using the tongs, move the veggies into the skillet and toss in the bacon drippings (I know it sounds strange, but this is an important step to getting the authentic street dog flavor! Normally, the hot dogs and veggies are grilled side by side, mingling all the yummy flavors.) Place the hot dogs onto the griddle pan and get them a little bit blackened and charred.  

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

5.  Place the hot dog buns on a cookie sheet, and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until toasted.

 

To serve, place one hot dog into each bun.  Top with ketchup, mustard, mayo, and lots of grilled peppers and onions.

Bacon Wrapped LA Street Dogs

 

Enjoy!

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Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

 

It has been WAY. TOO. HOT. here in California lately.  Normally in the summer we’ll have hot weather, sometimes as hot as over 100 degrees.  But lately, not only has it been 105 degrees for days at a time, it’s HUMID too.  I just can’t stand it.  I don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to move, and I definitely can’t stand to turn the stove on.  This is a problem when you are craving chocolate chip cookies like nobody’s business at 12:30 in the middle of the night.  What’s a girl to do? Make this edible eggless chocolate chip cookie dough, that’s what!

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

I really love chocolate chip cookie dough, but I know it’s definitely not safe to eat it raw.  Leaving the eggs out means I can eat a couple spoonfuls and not worry about getting sick from eating raw egg.  

The great thing about this is that it takes just a few minutes to mix together, and it keeps well in the fridge.  You can eat this eggless chocolate chip cookie dough as is, or you can use it as a cookie dough mix-in for ice cream, a topping for cookie dough brownies, or even a dip for graham crackers (ultimate dessert lover snack alert!).

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

The best part about this cookie dough is that you don’t have to turn on the oven.  You get the yummy flavor of chocolate chip cookies without heating the house up.  I’m all about that right now!Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I actually used dark chocolate chips because they’re my favorite!)

1.  In a bowl, use your electric mixer to cream together the butter and the brown sugar.  

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

2.  Add in the vanilla and the salt and mix to combine.

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

3.  Mix in the flour.  At this point, the dough will be very crumbly (and you’ll think all hope is lost), but don’t worry! You’re on your way.

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

4.  Mix in the 2 tablespoons of milk.  Now the dough will look like regular cookie dough! Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. 

Edible Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

Ta-da! Ready to eat cookie dough!

Now, I’ve read there is a small risk in eating raw flour, so consume this at your own risk.  I have eaten it plenty of times with no problem, but as with all foods these days, contamination can be a potential problem.

Keep your eggless chocolate chip cookie dough in a sealed container in the fridge.  You can also freeze it for up to 3 months, so you can have a little treat whenever you’re up for it!

Happy snacking!

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Turkey Taco Flatbread

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

I hope I haven’t fooled you too much, dear reader.  What I mean is, some nights, the cooking situation in our house is pretty much nonexistent.  You and I both know that there are days when making dinner is the LAST thing anyone wants to do.  This meal is the perfect solution for those kinds of nights.  All it takes is a little chopping up veggies, browning meat, and opening a couple cans.  Best part about it? This Turkey Taco Flatbread is a lightened up version of my favorite Mexican dishes, with a pizza-like twist!

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

I made these flatbreads a couple of weeks ago, and they were a huge hit.  It’s like pizza and tacos got all smooshed together.  It’s got the thin crust of a pizza, with the fillings of a taco–lettuce, tomato, green onions, hot sauce… yum.  

The secret is the Flatout flatbreads that become the crust:

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

These are so perfect–they make amazing wraps when filled with turkey, cheese, lettuce,  tomato–whatever–and when crisped up in the oven, they also make perfect pizza.  The best part? It’s only 90 calories for one wrap (I think that’s the part I like the best).  

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

 

You can adapt these flatbreads to whatever your tastes are.  Change your toppings depending on what you’ve got on hand, add more of your favorites, subtract the stuff you don’t like… they’re super flexible. Add a little spinach on top for an extra healthy punch. You can also change out the turkey for beef, chicken, or pork, or change out the refried beans for black beans.  The options are really endless.

 The greatest part of this meal is that it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.  If you’ve been running around all day, on your feet for hours, exhausted beyond belief, you can still throw this meal together and avoid the drive thru line.  Your health will thank you.  

Turkey Taco Flatbread

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded + deveined, finely minced
  • 1 can diced mild green chiles
  • Taco Seasoning (1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon minced onion, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper)
  • 4 Flatout Flatbreads
  • 1/2 can fat-free refried beans
  • shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 sliced green onions
  • finely minced cilantro
  • plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • hot sauce (or salsa)

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, jalapeno, and green chiles and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

2.  Add the ground turkey and cook until no pink remains.

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

3.  Add the taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water.  Stir until the meat is covered in seasoning, and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

4.  Place the flatbreads on a cookie sheet.  Cover with refried beans and 1/4 of the turkey mixture each.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Place in the oven for about 7 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the flatbreads are crispy.

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

5.  Add all of the toppings–lettuce, tomato, cilantro, green onions, Greek yogurt, and hot sauce.

Turkey Taco Flatbread @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

Voila! Enjoy.

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Perfect Picnic Layered Salad

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

I have a confession to make, dear reader: I may or may not have a mild obsession with The Pioneer Woman.  I seriously, seriously love her blog and her recipes.  If you aren’t familiar with Ree, go. NOW.  Cuz we can’t be friends anymore if you don’t know who she is.  (Just kidding… but really, go.) I love reading her recipes and watching her show–she has such a great and funny way of telling her stories.  More than that, she has some killer delicious recipes.  Her mashed potatoes have become my go-to for every holiday, and her Big Fat Bacon Sliders inspired my recent Bacon Wrapped Dr Pepper BBQ Cheeseburger Sliders.  Another one of my favorite Pioneer Woman recipes is this Layered Salad, which is perfect for summer BBQs or picnics or even weeknight dinner side.  

You might think it’s funny that a Southern California born and bred girl is so obsessed with southern, country food.  I often joke with people that I’m Southern by association.  You see, my dad is from West Virginia, and spent most of his childhood in South Carolina.  He still has that twangy southern accent, and he still loves his southern comfort food favorites–ham salad (yeah, I can’t get on that train), fried chicken, mashed potatoes, pies… you name it. His southern roots have had a huge influence on me… and I’m totally allowed to say y’all because of it.

dad3

My dad’s mom, Climmie, also lived with us for most of my childhood.  From age 4 to age 12, she was the official cook of our family.  There never was a Southern Belle as Southern as my grandma.  She was prim and proper, all about manners, and her Southern drawl could out drawl Scarlett O’Hara.  She met me at the school bus every day at 3:00 and served me a homecooked dinner every day at 3:30.

My Grandma

 

Most people who knew my grandma say I’m just like her, down to my blue eyes and dirty blonde hair, my ability to read 10 books in a week, my love of learning, my sarcastic attitude, and my dislike of people.  (Okay, just kidding on that last one, but sometimes…) I really am so much like her–and there you have why I claim my Southern roots in the same sentence that I claim my Southern California-ness.

Since I’ve become the unofficial cook of every family get-together, my dad quite often likes to ask me to recreate his childhood favorites and the Pioneer Woman has become my go-to to find recipes that he’ll like.  I made this Layered Salad last Christmas, and it has become a huge favorite in our family since then.

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

I love how easy this layered salad is to throw this together.  You just chop up all the veggies and eggs, grate the cheese, and top it with dressing, and you’re done. You can make it up to 8 hours ahead and keep it in the refrigerator while you’re getting the rest of your meal ready.   The layering makes it so pretty, it’s perfect for a party or BBQ. 

You can definitely switch up the combination of veggies in this salad to fit your tastes.  Leave out the tomatoes or eggs, switch it up for some red onion–it’s cool.  You could give it a Southwestern spin with some chiles and some pepper jack cheese; you could do make it an Asian chicken salad with some crispy rice noodles on top, some mandarin oranges, and maybe even a layer of shredded chicken.  The possibilities are endless.  But–do me a favor? Try it this way at least once! I promise it’s delicious and totally worth it.

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups baby spinach; washed, dried, and torn into small pieces
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 8 eggs; hardboiled and roughly chopped
  • 16 slices bacon; cooked + crumbled
  • 4 tomatoes; diced
  • 6 green onions; sliced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese; grated (please, PLEASE grate it off the block! It’s sooo much better)
  • 1 bag (10 oz) frozen peas; slightly defrosted

For the dressing:

  • 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

In a big glass bowl, place the ingredients in the order they appear above.

First, romaine lettuce (btw, you can cheat this and use one bag of pre-washed, pre-chopped romaine if you’re in a hurry):

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

Then layer the spinach and sprinkle salad with a little salt and some fresh cracked black pepper.

Add the eggs and bacon, concentrating the ingredients around the edges of the bowl.  

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

Fill the center with a little extra spinach if needed to even out the layers:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

 

Add the layer of tomatoes, then sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

Concentrate your ingredients around the edges so the layers show through the glass.  Remember: you can always add spinach to the center to even the layers up:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

Next, add the green onions:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

The cheddar:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

And top with the peas:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

Top the peas with the dressing, using a spatula to spread it into an even layer, sealing the salad:

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

And there you have it!

Place it into the refrigerator for at least an hour to let it get thoroughly chilled and set up.  Just before serving, use two large forks to mix it up.

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #salad #bbq #summe

 

Perfect Picnic Layered Salad
Serves 12
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  2. 2 cups baby spinach, washed and torn into small pieces
  3. salt + pepper to taste
  4. 8 eggs, hardboiled and roughly chopped
  5. 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  6. 4 tomatoes, diced
  7. 6 green onions, sliced
  8. 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  9. 1 bag (10 oz.) frozen peas, slightly defrosted
For the dressing
  1. 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
  2. 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  3. 2 tablespoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Layer all ingredients in a large glass bowl in the order listed above. Concentrate all ingredients on the sides of the bowl, filling the center with lettuce if needed to even the layers.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, then spread over the top of the salad with a spatula, sealing in the edges.
  3. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours, and at least one hour. Toss salad just before serving.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Ya Gotta Have a Hobby http://www.yagottahaveahobby.com/
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Easy Father’s Day Dessert: Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Kebobs

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

 

Since the weather is getting hotter, and summer is clearly on its way, I thought I’d share a delicious and super easy dessert with you today that you can enjoy all summer long! It’s also perfect for Father’s Day grilling.  If you missed it, this week I’ve shared three other awesome grilling ideas for Father’s Day: Guinness Marinated Grilled Steaks with Blue Cheese Romaine Wedges, Grilled BBQ Turkey Cheeseburger Skewers, AND Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers.  Whew.  I’ve been a grilling fool lately, and I thought  it would be really fun to have a grilled dessert, too.  One of my favorites in the summer is strawberry shortcake–gotta love those fresh, Farmer’s Market berries–so today I give you my Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Kebobs.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

These Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Kebobs take all the flavors you expect in your strawberry shortcake, and just up the ante a bit.  I used triangles of poundcake, some sliced white peaches, halved strawberries, and a yummy cinnamon-ginger glaze to cook these up in less than 15 minutes.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

I love the fact that this dessert takes just seconds to throw together.  It’s perfect for a mid-week summer treat or even a special holiday occasion.  The grill caramelizes the sugars in the fruit, making it extra sweet and super addicting.  I may have saved a couple and eaten them for breakfast the next morning.  Don’t judge me.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

The simple glaze–made from melted butter, honey, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of ginger–tastes amazing too! It would be good on just about any kind of fruit if you wanted to use whatever fruit you have on hand.  It also makes the plain poundcake taste like some sort of fancy donut.  I am seriously in love.  I might be caught dipping my finger in and eating in straight from the mixing bowl.  I told you–don’t judge me.

I hope you’ll give these delicious and super easy Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Kebobs a try–they are SO worth it.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Kebobs

Makes approximately 15 kebobs.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 white peaches (slightly firm works best), sliced
  • 1 small carton strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 package (8 total) poundcake dessert cups, cut into quarters

**Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes before threading with fruit and grilling, to avoid charring on the grill.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

1.  Combine butter and honey in a small microwaveable bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until butter is melted.  Stir butter and honey to combine, then add cinnamon and ginger.  Stir to mix in the spices, set aside.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

2.  Thread poundcake, strawberries, and peaches onto skewers, repeating twice per skewer.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

3.  Brush the cinnamon-ginger glaze generously onto each skewer.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat.  If using a grill pan, spray with nonstick cooking spray before heating.  Place skewers onto grill.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

4.  Cook skewers for approximately 3-4 minutes per side, or until grill marks are visible.

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

That’s all, folks!

Could it really be any simpler? I don’t think so! Have a wonderful and hopefully delicious Father’s Day weekend!

Grilled Peach Strawberry Shortcake Skewers @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby #grilling #summer #dessert

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Coconut Key Lime Pie Energy Bites

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

In my quest to be healthier this year, I knew one of the areas I needed a major overhaul in were my snacks.   I’ve always relied on snacks like pretzels, tortilla chips, crackers, and maybe a piece of cheese every now and then.  As you can probably tell, I am really bad at eating balanced snacks–I usually carb it up! I made it one of my goals to eat healthier, more balanced snacks–now I never have a snack that’s JUST carbs, it has to be paired with a protein.  On top of that, I decided to try to avoid processed snacks as much as possible.  This means I have to take some time each week to make fresh, homemade snacks, but it’s been totally worth it! My search for easy, homemade, balanced, and energizing snacks led me to make these Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites!

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

One day while I was home sick, I asked my mom to pick me up a bag of limes (I am addicted to EVERYTHING lime flavored–I like to slice them and add them to my water every day).  Not knowing the difference, she brought me home a HUGE bag of key limes.  They’re slightly more tart and have a stronger taste than regular limes, but they still work the same. I really loved the taste, but putting them in water wasn’t enough for me–otherwise half the bag was going to go bad! I searched the web for lots of different key lime recipes, and this one from Spoonful of Flavor definitely caught my eye.

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

One of the best parts of this recipe is that it comes together in about five minutes in the food processor.  It basically takes no time at all, and you have a great snack ready to nibble on all week.

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

These really do give you energy, especially because they’re a great balance of fruit (a healthy carb), sugar, and protein.  I love to grab a few of these as a snack before my Zumba class to pump me up, or as a post-workout snack to help replace my energy.  Either way, they’re perfect for snacking during the day. I bet kids would love them too!

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

I love how easy these energy bites are, too.  You combine pitted dates, almonds, cashews, coconut, key lime juice and zest, and a little salt in your food processor, whirl it together, shape them into little balls, and roll them in coconut. I mean, really, could it be any easier?

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

Coconut Key Lime Energy Balls

Makes about 24 bites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup coconut, plus extra for rolling
  • 4 key limes, zested and juiced
  • Pinch of salt

In a food processor, add dates:

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

Nuts:

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

Lime zest and juice, salt, and coconut:

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

Pulse until ingredients start to come together.  Scoop the mixture out one spoonful at a time, and roll into 1 inch balls with your fingers.  

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

Roll bites in remaining coconut.  Store in a sealed ziploc bag or container in the fridge for up to 10 days. Enjoy!

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites from Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

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Time for Father’s Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

 

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and you know one thing that dads love? That’s right–grilling! Today I’ve got two unique and delicious recipes that will liven up your Father’s Day grilling, with the help of Bigelow Tea.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

I know you’re probably thinking, tea and grilling?!? They aren’t necessarily two words you think of that go together.  When it comes to tea, maybe you just enjoy a tall glass of iced tea at a BBQ or some sweet tea on the patio while you’re grilling up a delicious family dinner.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

But today I’ve got two recipes that use tea in some different but delicious ways: spicy, Asian-influenced Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers, and a non-alcoholic, sangria-inspired tea spritzer–Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

I picked up Bigelow’s Original Green Tea at my local Walmart to add flavor to my grilled skewers.  Walmart has several different varieties of Bigelow’s green tea, but I find the original tea the best for this recipe.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

While there, I also picked up Bigelow’s new Pomegranate Black Tea, which I used as the base of my nonalcoholic sangria.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Bigelow’s tea is the perfect choice for a Father’s Day celebration.  It’s a three-generation family owned American company that produces quality tea.  Their foil pouches keep tea fresh and delicious, and ready to add flavor to these delicious recipes.  I know the dad in your life will love them!

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Both of these recipes need to be started the night before your Father’s Day celebration.  The beef needs at least 24 hours to marinate, while the sangria tastes best after the fruit and tea have melded at least overnight in the fridge.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

The result is a spicy, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth beef skewer, and a sweet, fruity, and refreshing sparkling tea.  The sangria is the perfect way to cool off after a day of celebrating.  It’s full of summer’s most delicious fruit, paired with Bigelow’s delicious new Pomegranate Black Tea and some club soda for a little sparkle.  It’s also perfect to cool down after these spicy Asian kabobs. They get their flavor from chili oil, soy sauce, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, sriracha, and of course–green tea (yes, just the leaves!).

I think you–and the dad in your life–will love these tea-flavored recipes for Father’s Day!

Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers

Makes about 10 skewers

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lb beef roast (I used a chuck roast), cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • zest & juice of 1 medium lemon (about a tablespoon of zest and 1/4 c of juice)
  • 2 green tea bags, opened
  • 1 jalapeno chile, minced, with seeds and veins removed
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 yellow squash, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 zucchini, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 small container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • nonstick cooking spray

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

 

1.  Combine first nine ingredients together in a large, resealable plastic bag.  Shake thoroughly to mix and coat beef cubes. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours (or at least overnight).

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

 

2.  Before grilling, place your wooden skewers in cold water for about 20 minutes, to keep them from burning on the grill.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

3.  Just before grilling, season veggies with salt and pepper to taste.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

4.  Thread meat and veggies onto skewers, alternating beef cubes with tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and onion.  I used about 4 cubes of beef per skewer.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

I also put the remaining veggies on their own skewers, to serve alongside the beef skewers.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

5.  Spray grill with nonstick cooking spray, then heat to medium heat. Place skewers on the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until beef reaches your desired color of pink (I like mine well-done with NO pink!).

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

 

Serve skewers alongside grilled veggies and brown rice if desired.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria

Makes 10-12 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Bigelow Pomegranate Black Tea Bags
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 2 cups water + 4 cups cold water
  • ice
  • 1 large orange, half juiced, the other half cut into wedges
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 nectarine, cut into slices
  • 1 peach, cut into slices
  • 2 plums, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1 liter club soda

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

**For a step-by-step picture guide to making perfect sweet tea, check out my Perfect Sweet Tea tutorial here.

1.  Make the sweet tea base: Bring two cups water to a boil in a saucepan.  Meanwhile, combine sugar and baking soda in a large glass measuring cup.  Also, place 4 cups cold water into a large pitcher.  When water boils, add the tea bags and steep for 10 minutes.  Add tea bags to the cold water, then pour the hot tea into the sugar mixture.  Stir to dissolve sugar and baking soda, then fill the measuring cup to the top with ice.  Add the iced tea to the pitcher and stir to combine. Remove tea bags. Voila!

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

2.  Add all the fruit except the strawberries to the pitcher, and refrigerate overnight.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

3.  Before serving, add the strawberries and the club soda to the pitcher and gently stir to combine.

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

When serving, use a spoon to hold the fruit back as your pour, then scoop some fruit out on the top of the glass.  Garnish with a lime wedge (and a fun paper straw!).

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Bigelow Tea fits perfectly into your Father’s Day grilling plans. I hope you’ll give these Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and this Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria a try. I know you’ll love it!

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

Time for Father's Day Grilling: Green Tea Marinated Beef Skewers and Pomegranate Tea Summer Sangria with Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea #shop #cbias

 

Looking for more Bigelow Tea inspiration? Check out this Pinterest board with some amazing Bigelow Tea ideas:

You can also visit Bigelow’s website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter for more delicious Bigelow Tea ideas.

 

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