Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Las Paletas Con Mi Amiga

{ Las Paletas is a Mexican ice pop made with whole fruit & the freshest ingredients in flavors you won't normally find in the frozen food aisle. Click on the link above to see how they'll be featured on Food Network this month. }

In late May I was blessed to be able to visit Kacey of Chronicles of a Mommy. We had been corresponding, exchanging surprises in the mail & talking for about 1 1/2 years & it all started through blogging. 

This was special. 

We have Angie & Wordful Wednesdays to thank, for that is where we started seeing one another's blog. I am so happy I met this lady for she has enriched my life far more than I ever expected. It just goes to show that a woman doesn't need a certain number of friends, she just needs the right kind. 

Visiting with Kacey was:

waking up with family

like a picnic in the park

easy like Sunday morning { before church }

And meeting Kacey was especially like....

making a friend for the rest of my life!

Kacey took me to a little hot spot for something cool to snack on after lunch. It was Las Paletas, a popular place in the art deco section of Nashville where you can get ice pops made with the freshest ingredients with the coolest combinations of flavors.

Right away I knew I wanted the cucumber chili ice pop. It was amazing!!!!!! Talk about refreshing but with a bit of heat, something you wouldn't normally expect in an ice pop & exactly why I dig it.

So as soon as I got home I started researching on how to make my own at home. While there are many recipes out there I came up with my own variation & loved it. Oh how it brought back so many sweet & cool memories. 

2 cucumbers plus an additional half cucumber, divided
1/8 cup lime juice
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash or 2 of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt

Place empty ice pop molds in the freezer to chill. Dice 2 cucumbers with skin on into 1 inch pieces. Puree in food processor or blender until smooth. Strain into a medium bowl through a fine mesh strainer, pushing out the juice. You will have about 1 cup of juice. Set aside.

Peel the remaining half cucumber & cut into little pieces. Set aside.

Add the lime juice & remaining ingredients to the cucumber juice. Pour some of the mixture into each mold, leaving about a 1/2 inch space at top. Stir several pieces of fresh cucumber into each mold. Place lid on the molds & freeze for 2-4 hours. 

Run warm water over molds to loosen pops. Enjoy.

{ Food for Thought }

I used the larger amount for both the cayenne & crushed red pepper and while I loved it so, I think I will use the lesser amount for a more subtle heat.

Lovingly Linking to Wordful Wednesdays at Seven Clown Circus

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jambalaya Pizza from Yes, It's Me!

What can I say about my absence other than I can't even believe how long it's been. Time flies. To be brief, my plate at work has been more than full lately with a huge acquisition that took place. So in turn, the plates here have been pretty empty. I have been so burnt out that getting on the computer from home was the last thing I wanted to do, even though I have missed coming around to see everyone.

So, please, drop me a quick line letting me know if anything big has gone on with you & I will be by! For now, enjoy some Jambalaya Pizza. I made this way back on Mother's Day when we enjoyed a buffet of appetizers. Any ingredient can be easily substituted. I just LOVED the idea of the cheesy rice crust for this.


3 cups cooked long grain rice, cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup finely shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1/4 cup each chopped celery, onion & green sweet pepper
1 tblsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup each thinly sliced smoked cooked sausage, diced cooked ham, & coarsely chopped cooked shrimp
1 16-oz. jar chunky salsa, drained
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In large combine rice, eggs & pepper jack cheese. Lightly coat a 12-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread rice mixture evenly in pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees.

For topping, in large skillet cook celery, onion & green pepper in hot butter over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic, cayenne, sausage, ham & shrimp. Heat through.

Spread drained salsa over rice crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Spread vegetable-meat mixture over salsa. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through & cheese is melted. Cut into square pieces to serve.

{ Food for Thought }

As always, I suggest increasing the garlic to 2 cloves & use olive oil instead of butter when cooking the veggies. I also recommend decreasing your cooking time on the rice crust the 1st time around. Maybe 12-15 minutes when it’s cooking by itself and 10 minutes when it’s covered with all the goodies. If you try to cut this into pizza slices it will be messy & fall apart. Cut into squares for best results.