What Have I Been Eating PT 2

I know my posts have become far and few between. Sometimes, I long for the days where I used to post daily. However, life has been keeping me quite busy and sometimes, it’s very hard to find the time to blog. To be even more honest, sometimes I do not feel as if my posts are original. I say that to mean; usually I am trying out someone else’s recipe and more often than not, that recipe is already all over the web so I don’t feel like also posting it here. I don’t want to fall into that “boring” category in my readers’ book. I guess I’m lacking motivation to keep trodding on. And let me not even get started that my images (after two years) still have not improved much. My camera phone and my basic digital camera produce most of what you see before you. Let me tell you – it’s hard to keep seeing these professionally edited DSLR photos that look like they belong in a magazine and then glance over my own low-resolution, basic pics. *cries* But enough of my whining. I have decided to write this post to show that even though I’m not blogging as I should, I’m still very much eating and trying new (and some of my old) recipes. Enjoy!

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Woodford Reserve Distillery

In May, when I visited Kentucky, I wanted more than anything to visit Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve but once I got to Kentucky, I was so tired from my trip to Canada and back (in the days prior) and then the few days I spent in Tennessee that I just couldn’t do both distilleries. On I-65N, when I was passing the exit for Maker’s Mark, I started to rationalize why I couldn’t visit. “Oh gosh, I’m just so tired”, “Let me get to the hotel, rest and I’d come back tomorrow”, “I’ve had Maker’s Mark many times, seriously, how important is it to see how it’s made?” “I can just visit Maker’s Mark when I next visit Kentucky. Simple”. And this is how my visit to Maker’s Mark never happened. Now that I’m back in Virginia, I am kicking myself in the rear for not going to Maker’s Mark Distillery because 1. It was right there. I literally passed the exit. UGH! 2. I love Maker’s Mark and would have really loved to see their facilities. BUT, I didn’t make there and that’s that. What I did make it to though, was Woodford Reserve and I must tell you that this was really an awesome tour.

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BBQ Seasoning Mix

After, what seems to me to have been, such a brutal winter, I am more than happy that barbecue season is here. I bought my first grill this year. It’s a small portable grill but it does the job and for that I’m super happy! Once a week, I go out set up my grill, and get to grilling. So far I’ve done hot dogs, grilled fruits, chicken legs and thighs and chicken wings. The chicken legs and thighs were my favorite because they were jam-packed with flavor. I used this seasoning mix on them and let them sit over night in the fridge. The next day, I let them get to room tempature before grilling them up. All in all, they were some reallllllyyyyyyyyyy delicious chicken. If you don’t have a grill, an oven will work fine to cook up whatever you put this mix on!

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Coffee Break

This post is another two in one post. For about a year now I’ve have had part of this post in my drafts and never got around to publishing it. It was a post about cold brewing coffee. A year and a few months later, it’s still the only way I make my coffee. “Brewing” my coffee this way produces a really stronnnnnggggg, non bitter, deep flavored beverage. I only use it in iced coffee drinks because to be honest, that’s the only way I drink coffee. I have had it warm twice and while it was good, nothing, in my opinion, will top a cup of iced coffee. Whether it’s 90 degrees outside or 20 below 0, iced coffee will always be the way I take my coffee (Starbucks, I blame you). And to my homemade iced coffee, I always like to add heavy cream or creamer to make an even richer drink. So far I’ve made vanilla bean creamer and I’ve made a coconut creamer but today, I’m also sharing with you the recipe for Dulce De Leche Creamer. It’s simple to cold brew coffee and it’s even easier to make this creamer. Enjoy!

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Summery Hibiscus Cooler

This recipe is an original recipe that was inspired by a drink that I had at Starbucks several weeks ago. Usually when I go to Starbucks, I almost always get an iced cafe mocha or a white chocolate mocha. It can be 20 below 0 outside (temperature), I’m ordering an iced drink. Don’t know why but it’s what I like from them. The other day, I decided to take a chance on their Berry Hibiscus Refresher and man let me tell you – I have never tasted such garbage in my entire life. I’m a West Indian and I grew up drinking sorrel drinks (juice and tea) (Sorrel is what we call hibiscus back home in the islands) and what Starbucks is trying to pass off as a drink with hibiscus in it is just plain WRONG. It is so watery and lacking the flavors advertised in its very name. Never me again! (Well….I was foolish enough to go back the next week and try their lime refresher but more on that another time) In any case, I decided to make my own hibiscus drink. Please be advised that this is not a copy cat of Starbuck’s version. This is my own non-alcoholic drink that definitely captures the lovely flavor of hibiscus and will quench your thirst on a hot summer day. I have also included photos and the recipe for the original sorrel drink we make in the Caribbean. So this is a TWO-IN-ONE post. YAY!

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Confetti Rice with Andouille Sausage

I think I love all rice dishes. Well almost all. I grew up in the Caribbean eating loads and loads of the stuff. Just the other day, I was commenting on how much we West Indian people love our rice. So many of our meals are served with rice. I guess it’s a cultural thing. After a while, though, the same rice dishes can become a little boring so I love to switch it up. This dish is a spicy one (just the type of dish I like). It’s full of flavor from the many bell peppers and the seasonings and the sausage and serrano pepper gives it a real kick! A must try!

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St. Lawrence Market, Toronto, ON, Canada

Hi Guys! I’m still alive. I spent the last three weeks roadtripping from Virignia (USA) to Ontario (Canada) then back to Virginia (US) then to Tennessee (Knoxville and Nashville), then to Kentucky (Bowling Green, Louisville, Lexington). Oh my goodness! I’m currently resting from all that traveling but had started to write this when I was in Canada so I’m posting it now….just so you know I’m still around. I miss you guys so much and I promise to visit all your blogs once I have recouped.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. As a self-proclaimed foodie, it was only right that I visit the place since word all over the internet, was that this was the melting pot of all things food. St Lawrence Market is a farmer’s market and an assortment of food restaurants all in one indoor spot. It’s located in the vicinity of Jarvis Street and Front Street. It’s a two story building that houses cafes, bakeries, butcher/meat shops, fish stores, cheese shops, condiment shops, restaurants and fruits/vegetables stores. There is even a craft shop, a jewelry shop, a gift shop, a juice bar, speciality food stores and more! You can get all the information you need from visiting their site HERE.

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Anchor Bar: Home of the Original Buffalo Chicken Wings

I just want to start this post by thanking all my wonderful readers for still being here. I’m telling you life is something else. I am currently in Toronto (Canada) spending some time with my family here. Except for the accident I got into on my first full day here, it’s been great. The weather is lovely and the food is good. I’ll post a picture of my Gracie (after the accident) at the end of this post (I named my Jeep Grace, so Gracie is what I usually call her) (Please don’t laugh at my naming her(yes, it’s a her)). Anywhoos, this post is a review! I don’t know how many of you watch shows like Man Vs Food (Travel Channel) or Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network) but I loveeeee both of those shows. I’m always tuning in to see where’s worth eating at if I make it to particular places. On Thursday, I drove 11 hours from Northern VA to Toronto and Buffalo was one of the cities I had to pass through. When I thought of where I should eat once I stopped there to rest a while, Anchor Bar came to mind. I remember them from being on Guy Fieri’s show as being the place where Buffalo wings originated and since those things are practically an addiction for me, I HAD to visit the place.

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Strawberry Guava Cocktail

What a week this has been. On Monday, the nation had to deal with the tragedy in Boston. On Tuesday, a dozen detectives broke down a door to an apartment on the floor above me. Apparently an 11 year old was missing and a pedophile lives in this building. On Wednesday was so dreary and saddening for me (just because). On Thursday I had such a hectic day that partially involved a visit to the hospital. Today, all day on the TV, there has been extensive coverage of the manhunt for the suspect in the Boston Marathon Explosion and that just has me feeling BLAH! I cannot think of a better time for a cocktail. This one is mostly tropical and is exactly what I need to take me away! Have a great weekend guys.

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What Have I Been Eating?

Instagram is so addictive. On my Facebook, I recently posted a status saying exactly that. I literally can spend hours on that network. My favorite hash tags to search and then drool at pictures of are #FrozenYogurt #Saltfish #Dessert #Breakfast and #Dinner. And scrolling through hundreds of these pics daily can take away from the other things I have to do in my day. Take for example, my dear food blog. Ha! I’ve been meaning to post a recipe since Saturday and here I am posting today a random post about….Instagram. In any case, if you’re on Instagram, follow me. My handle is IamSimplyTia. Here’s some photos of what I’ve been eating lately.

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Seafood and Asparagus Risotto

Risotto was one of those dishes that I would only have when I ate out at a restaurant. For some strange reason, I had a fear of trying to make it myself. I knew it required a lot of stirring and with my luck, I just figured I’d end up messing it up by letting it burn or some other mess. Luckily, my attempts at it have been successful. I love that you can do so many things to risotto. Oh the possibilities are endless. No matter who you make this one for, they’d be sure to thank you all day/night and if you make it for yourself, you’d be patting yourself on the back for a while to come.

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Tamarind Juice

If you want a fruit that is high in dietary fiber, a powerful antioxidant, a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium, then tamarind is the fruit for you. Granted, it’s very tart, it’s tasty once you get past that tangy taste. For people who crave sour junk food, then tamarind is a great and healthy alternative for you. Now, you won’t just find it just any where. Last week was actually my first time seeing it outside of the Caribbean. I was in the International Food Store when I bounced up on them and darn near did back flips. Now mind you, I have NEVER been a tamarind fan (I’m not a lover of tartness) but have you ever seen a thing that you hadn’t seen in a longggg time and so you just get/buy it for nostalgic purposes? That was me with these tamarinds. Once I got home and the novelty wore off, I started to think about what to do with them. In my country, we make a snack called tamarind balls which you can read more about @ Uncommon Caribbean. I knew I didn’t want those. After brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making a drink. I added some fresh lime juice to it and the result? A drink that I would make over and over for many years to come.

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Hot Cross Buns

“Hot-cross buns! Hot-cross buns! One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns! If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons; One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns!” When I was growing back in the Caribbean, there were several foods that were a MUST around Easter time. Hot cross buns were “one” of those treats.This recipe has more dried fruits that the usual buns (that I’m familiar with) but I still love them. I was a little nervous about making these cross buns because I have an irrational fear of yeast. For some reason, when recipes call for yeast, I get panicky expecting the worst to happen. Luckily for me, although this recipe took some time, it went well and my buns came out GREAT! For those of you who celebrate, I just want to wish you a Happy Good Friday. Enjoy the day.

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Cuban Style Pulled Pork

This pork has to be the best tasting pulled pork I’ve had. Better, even, than the BBQ pulled pork I make from time to time. Don’t get me wrong. That bbq pulled pork is some pretty good stuff but I like the complexity and familiar flavors in this pork. There’s a little tang to it that just kicks you (nicely) in the mouth once it gets on your tongue. I really have no other words to describe how delicious this dish is. You have to try it for yourself to understand where I’m coming from. Odds are you won’t be disappointed!

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Caribbean Peanut Punch

Peanut punch is one of my favorite West Indian drinks! It’s originally from Trinidad & Tobago. On my recent trip to St.Vincent, I spent a good $50US in peanut punch box juices. After a night of hanging out, I needed something to coat my stomach, and peanut punch was always my first choice. Peanut punch is a milky drink with a strong peanut flavor, if you haven’t already guessed. It’s so easy to make and is quite similar to the Caribbean Guinness Punch. Peanut Punch is also notorious for being an aphrodisiac, building one’s back and giving lots of energy because of its high fat content. Because this beverage contains a lot of protein and antioxidants, it is also regarded as a health-promoting drink. Try some today. It’s super yummy! That should be enough to persuade you.

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