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By Tori Linville

 

The best game days are marked by the football and the food. If your last tailgate wasn’t one that your taste buds remember, it’s time for a change. Revamp your table with these classic dip recipes on us.

 

The Perfect Guac

 

(photo/recipe: gimmesomeoven.com)

 

What you’ll need:

 

3 ripe avacados

1 minced jalapeno (stem and seeds removed)

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 tbsp. lime juice

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt

dash of cumin
(optional/: 1 roma tomato, cored and chopped)

 

What you’ll make:

 

Mash together ingredients. If you’re adding tomatoes, stir those in at the end. Cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap directly touches the guacamole, and refrigerate.

 

The Best Bean Dip

 

 

(photo/recipe: the-girl-who-ate-everything.com)

 

What you’ll need:

 

1 can refried beans

1 cup picante sauce

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

3/4 cup sour cream

1 pckg. cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

tortilla chips

 

What you’ll make:

In a bowl, combine first eight ingredients and serve with chips and salsa.

 

Ways to cook it:

Slow cooker: cover and cook on high for two hours

Oven: bake dip at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes

Microwave: heat in bowl for five to eight minutes

 

Mississippi Sin Dip

 

(picture/recipe: amandajeanbrown.com)

 

What you’ll need:

1 loaf French bread (Italian loaf)

1 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar

1/2 cup chopped smoked ham or prosciutto

1/3 cup green onion, chopped fine

4 oz. can of chopped green chilies, undrained

1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped fine

couple shakes of Worcestershire sauce

 

What you’ll make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the bread by cutting off the top of the bread 1/2 inch deep. Hollow out the bread, leaving about a one inch shell. Set top aside and cut inside bread into cubes for toasting and dipping later. Mix all ingredients in mixer until blended.

Place a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around the whole loaf onto a baking sheet. Pour cheese mixture into hollowed-out bread. Sprinkle top with meat if desired. Return the top piece of bread to close the bread bowl.

Wrap completely in foil and place baking sheet in oven. Bake for one hour.

 

 

Article sponsored by the following: South’s Finest Meat’s, Nationwide, and Fincher & Ozment.

Find South’s Finest Meat’s on the web at:  http://southsfinestmeats.com

Find Nationwide on the web at:  http://www.nationwide.com

Find Fincher & Ozment on the web at:  http://www.fincherandozment.com

By Amy Poore

 

If you’re looking for a cool treat to bring to a weekend gathering this summer, you can’t go wrong with anything chocolate and creamy. This chocolate mousse pie is absolutely delectable and will please everyone at the next backyard party.

 

Enjoy your summer and bon appétit!

 

Chocolate Mousse Pie

  • 1 ready-made graham cracker crust
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Hershey bars (1.5 oz.), chopped
  • 3 Special Dark Hersey bars (1.5 oz.), chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounce container of Cool Whip

Melt cream and chocolate in microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 45-60 seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted. If additional melting time is needed, melt for 10 more seconds.

In a stand mixer, cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth.

Next, in the mixer, add chocolate mixture to cream mixture, reserving around 1/4 cup of chocolate mixture for garnish.

On a slow speed, add Cool Whip to mixture.

Pour mixture into prepared crust, smooth top and drizzle with remaining chocolate sauce.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com 

Photo: Amy Poore

 

Article sponsored by: Bear Creek Manor

Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BearCreekManor

 

By Tori Linville

 

So the new of summer has just about worn off and the local fro-yo store has been visited so many times, they know your name. Sound familiar? Don’t panic! We have some game changers for you. All of these easy-to-make summer treats can be made in the comfort of your judgment-free home. Sure enough, these will become your summertime staples in no time.

 

Homemade Slurpee

 

Though this recipe takes some time, it’s only in the beginning and then you have your slurpee in minutes. The best part is that it can be made with different sodas, but the freezing times might change.

 

            What you’ll need:   

                        500 mL of your favorite soda

 

            What you’ll make:

                        Shake the bottle heavily for five to 10 seconds to increase pressure. Then, put it in the freezer for about three and a half to four hours. Here’s where you get experimental. This recipe says for three hours and 50 minutes is the ideal slurpee time – as in to where it’s almost frozen, but not really.

                       

                        Remove the bottle from the freezer and in one continuous movement, unscrew the cap and quickly tighten it back up. Turn the bottle upside down and return it upright. Ice crystals should immediately start forming.  Pour into a glass and enjoy.

           

For more explanation into the recipe, find it here.

 

Homemade Slushee

 

The difference from the slurpee? Many things. Mainly texture. Which is why by the end of creating this sweet treat, you’ll be a slushee-slurpee expert. You’re welcome.

 

            What you’ll need:

                        4 cups of ice

                        1 cup of sugar

                        1 1/2 tsp. of raspberry extract (or any other flavor you’re feeling

                        4-6 drops of food coloring (any color, really)

           

            What you’ll make:

                        Mix water and sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Then add in the extract, stirring well. Add in the food coloring until you get the color you want.

Pour into a blender until roughly blended for perfect slushee texture.

We changed things around a little bit, so check out the original recipe here to get an idea of what’s really going on.

 

Fruity Flops

 

From Betty Crocker herself, these cute little treats will have you looking at your summer shoes in a whole new light. Rice Krispy bars in the shape of flip flops? Definitely.

 

            What you’ll need:

                        1 crispy marshmallow bar – homemade or store bought should be fine needs to be at least four by two inches colored candy sprinkles

                        1 roll of Fruit Roll Ups (one roll up per flop)

                        2 Fruit Gushers (one gusher per flop)

                       

            What you’ll make:

                        First, cut the marshmallow into the shape of a flip flop, then press candy sprinkles onto the sides of the flip flop shapes.        

 

                        Then unroll Fruit Roll-Up and remove the paper. Cut two strips to form a V-shape to create the flip flop straps. Place Fruit Gusher a the tip of the V.

 

See the recipe here.

 

Banana Split Bites

 

These don’t actually have ice cream in them, making them healthier but just as sweet. This recipe takes a little bit more TLC, but what results will be appreciated by your taste buds.

 

            What you’ll need:   

                        1 inch pieces of pineapple (one per bite)

                        bite-sized un-ripe pieces of banana (one per bite)

                        medium sized strawberry pieces (one per bite)

                        2.5 oz. dark chocolate

                        1 tsp. coconut oil

                        chopped nuts/coconut (if you feel like it)

 

            What you’ll make:

                        First cut the fruit and assemble so that each bite has a piece of each fruit.  Skewer with a popsicle stick and freeze. Melt chocolate with coconut oil and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. Once melted, dip the fruit in the chocolate and sprinkle with optional nuts/coconut then place on baking sheet to harden. Freeze again until ready to serve.

We simplified the recipe slightly, so look here for reference if needed.

 

Article sponsored by Lakeside Dental.

Find them on the web: http://www.lakesidedentalsmiles.com

By Tori Linville

 

It’s hard work keeping up with a human. And in the summer? A pup needs a break every once in a while. There’s only so much man’s best friend can do without opposable thumbs! What’s a person to do? Start with frozen dog treats specially made with summer in mind and never look back. May you be the god you dog thinks you are.

 

DIY Ice Lick

 

Fill a bucket with water or chicken or beef broth. Fill it with the normal dog treats your sidekick usually likes or any dog toys laying around. Freeze and present to your four legged friend. The treats and toys will create a happy reward for persistence and you’ll be able to relax with a happy pup.

 

PB and Fruit Ice Circle

 

Blend a half cup of peanut butter and water in a blender and pour into a bundt cake pan. Add one cup of chopped fruit* and two tablespoons of flax seeds. Freeze for about four to six hours.

 

*Fruits that are dog friendly include apples (no seeds), bananas, blueberries, kiwis, lemon, watermelon (without the rind), oranges, peaches (no pit), pineapples and strawberries.

 

PUPsicle

 

Blend ripe bananas, some plain yogurt, peanut butter, honey and water until you have a consistent texture. Pour into ice cube trays, and stick a dog bone in the middle for a fun (and useless) popsicle handle. Freeze overnight.

Basically, just mix a healthy dog-friendly bunch of ingredients into different shapes, freeze and watch an excited tail wag!

 

Article sponsored by Holy Spirit.

Find them on the web at: http://www.hschurch.com

 

By Tori Linville

 

Summer is heating up, making more room for romance and relaxation. If you’re looking for a great place to make date night memorable, look no further. We’ve listed the top places from your area that won’t dissapoint.

  

Birmingham

 

Amore Ristorante Italiano

 

This Birmingham five-star famed establishment is a no-brainer. With ‘love’ in the name, it’s easy to make date night memorable. Offering dinner with a romantic low-lit dining room, Amore has a selection of pastas and seafood to choose from to satisfy a rumbling stomach. The restaurant boasts more than 30 wines, with a distinct selection of reds and whites. Known as a Valentine’s Day must, Amore does all the work for you.

 

Bistro 218

 

Winner of the Diner’s Choice 2015 Award, Bistro holds it’s own in the cityscape of Birmingham. Mixing French with American, the restaurant “features the elegant minimalist interior design of traditional French bistros…creating a comfortable romantic atmosphere,” according to the restaurant’s website. Bistro 218’s menu offers both French and American influences, with a large selection of seafood. With five-star reviews, Bistro 218 offers a little romance for everyone.

 

Huntsville

 

Cotton Row Restaurant

 

“A vision for comfort, elegance and modern American cuisine is how the story of Cotton Row Restaurant began,” the restaurant’s website said. This vision includes a guaranteed romantic seat, no matter where you actually sit. Though the menu is always changing, there’s a guarantee of meat and seafood for most visits. Food becomes an art form at Cotton Row, where presentation is never dissatisfying. Sitting in the Courthouse Square in Huntsville, Cotton Row will leave your mouth tasting like anything but cotton.

 

Grille 29

 

Located in Village of Providence in Huntsville, Grille 29 does its best to make mouths water. With low lighting and fine dining a given, a date night is always easy at Grille 29. The mood continues on to the menu, with linguini, scallops and more choices that easily speak romance. Known to serve “surf ‘n’ turf,” Grille 29 does so with simple and elegant touches. With varying food choices and an average four-star review from more than 100 customers, there’s no reason no to make Grille 29 a romantic favorite.

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Evangeline’s

 

Located in the Galleria of Tuscaloosa Shopping Center off of McFarland Boulevard, Evangeline’s offers American cuisine in its romantic dining room. The restaurant offers farm-to-table cuisine, wine that caters to any diner’s fancy and has prices that won’t hurt a wallet.  Evangeline’s also boasts a generous happy hour, free wi-fi and is gluten-free aware. Garnering four stars on Google reviews, Urbanspoon, Yelp and TripAdvisor, this dining experience is not one to miss.

 

DePalma’s Italian Café

 

Also a four-star favorite, DePalma’s sits in downtown Tuscaloosa, across from the children’s museum. Its menu features Italian flavors that are hard to forget. Most notably is the establishment’s white chocolate bread pudding. Empty wine bottles line the romantically-lit dining room, allowing for a chance to sign your name if you’d like. Minutes away from a handful of downtown attractions, DePalma’s is a must-go for setting the mood.

 

 

 

Article sponsored by ERC Roofing and Construction.

Find them on the web:  http://alabamaroofingexpert.com

Independence Day Vanilla Infused Peach White Chocolate Ice Cream

 

Serves: 2 quarts

 

Ingredients:

 

·      5 cups fresh peaches, diced

·      2 tablespoons of Vanilla extract

·      1 cup of granulated sugar  (you may add instead vanilla flavored sugar)

·      1 cup white chocolate morsels

·      1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk

·      1/2 package of instant vanilla pudding

·      1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk

·      4 cups of half and half

·      Large bag of ice

·      Rock salt (for ice cream machine)

·      Electric ice cream machine

 

Note:  The ambient air temperature will determine the amount of ice and salt used in the ice cream machine.  Be sure to follow instructions on machine.

 

Instructions:

 

Place peaches into a bowl, add sugar, stir.  Allow mixture to sit for 1 hour. 

 

Place peaches into a food processor and pulse 3 times or until mostly pureed.  Set aside.

 

Whisk the evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and pudding mix.  Add the diced peaches, white chocolate morsels, sweetened condensed milk, and half and half, and whisk well.

 

Pour mixture into the ice cream machine and process.  Afterward, transfer to a container of choice and place into freezer.

 

Article Sponsored by Willcutt Block and Supply.  

 

Find Willcutt Block on the web:http://www.willcuttblock.com

 

 

Independence Day Fried Green Tomatoes

 

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients:

 

·      Canola oil

·      4 green tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch rings

·      ¾ cup all-purpose flour

·      1 finely minced fresh garlic cloves

·      4 eggs

·      2 tablespoons milk

·      1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs

·      Dash cayenne pepper

·      Dash paprika

·      Dash curry

·      Dash of salt

·      Dash of pepper

 

Directions:

 

In a deep-fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees F.  You can use a low/wide pan with a mesh splatter cover, as well. 

 

Take sliced tomatoes and sprinkle salt / pepper on each side.  In a dish, place flour with minced garlic.  Then, in a second dish, mix breadcrumbs with cayenne and paprika.  In a third dish, beat eggs with milk.  Then take the sliced tomatoes and run them through the flour, then the eggs, and then through the breadcrumbs.  Add to fryer.  Only add several pieces at a time.  Allow pieces to fry evenly for about 2 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and serve. 

 

Article sponsored by Townsend Auto.

 

Find Townsend Auto on the web:  http://www.townsendautofamily.com

By Amy Poore

 

If you’re planning a backyard get-together this summer, why not try something totally new and different? This jerk spiced shrimp with pineapple salsa is a dish that’s sure to please any seafood lover! The salsa is a snap to make, too.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

Have a great week, and bon appétit!

Jerk Spiced Shrimp 

·                1 tablespoon sugar  

·                1 tablespoon paprika  

·                1/2 teaspoon salt  

·                1/2 teaspoon garlic powder  

·                1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper  

·                1/4 teaspoon ground thyme  

·                1/8 teaspoon ground allspice  

·                2 tablespoons olive oil  

·                1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp 

·                1 gallon freezer bag 

·                Cooking spray 

 

Pineapple Salsa 

·                2 cups fresh pineapple, diced 

·                1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced 

·                1/2 cup sliced red onion 

·                2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro 

·                2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 

 

Combine all salsa ingredients well, cover and chill for 30 minutes. 

 

While salsa chills, add all shrimp ingredients in freezer bag, mix well. 

 

Thread shrimp evenly onto skewers (metal or water soaked wooden ones). Place skewers on grill or skillet coated with cooking spray.  

 

Grill/cook on medium/high heat for 6 minutes or until done, flipping once. 

 

Serve immediately with pineapple salsa and jasmine rice (optional). 

Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com  

Photo: Amy Poore

 

 

 

One of the best summer treats comes in a truck, a cup, a cone and a range of other vehicles. It comes with sprinkles, fudge, whipped cream or any other topping that a tummy desires. Ice cream is a timeless treat that is enjoyed by every age from one to 99. It’s happiness in a scoop, which is why we’ve got the top ice cream sellers in your areas right here.

By Tori Linville

 

Most would agree that cocktails in general are great for summer. So narrowing down the list for the best summer cocktails is always a challenge. The consensus is that people want a drink that is thirst-quenching above all else. This means tart flavors and fruit mixtures that send the right amount of summer vibes for any sweltering get together.  If you’re lacking inspiration and need help staying away from your worn-out go-to drinks, we’ve got some suggestions for your next cocktail here.

 

The Summertime Traditionals

Mojito

Hailing from Cuba, the mojito is a refreshing summer must-drink. This recipe swaps the traditional sugar syrup with superfine sugar, giving the drink a grainy twist.

 

            2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice

            2 (heaping) teaspoons of superfine sugar

            1 cup of crushed ice

            12 fresh mint leaves (five small sprigs for garnish)

            1/4 cup of white rum

            2 tablespoons of club soda

 

Prep: stir lime juice and sugar in a 10 oz. glass until sugar dissolves. Add 1/4 cup of crushed ice and rub mint leaves over the glass rim. Tear leaves in half and add to glass. Stir gently for 15 seconds, add rum, remaining ice and club soda. Stir gently for 5 seconds and garnish.

 

Mango Margarita

Did you even have a summer if you didn’t have a margarita? The mango margarita puts a tropical twist on this summertime classic that is far from forgettable.

 

            1 large mango, seeded and chopped

                3/4 cup of fresh orange juice

                1/4 cup Key lime juice

                1/3 cup of tequila

                1/4 cup of orange-flavored liqueur

                1/4 cup of simple syrup

            ice cubes

 

Prep: combine first six ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add ice and process until smooth.

 

Hurricane

An ode to the storms that pass through summer, the Hurricane is a fail-proof cocktail that always adds to any event.

 

            .50 oz. of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

            .75 oz. of dark rum

                3 oz. of passion fruit

                3 oz. of mango juice

                2 oz. of sweet and sour mix

                1 wheel lime (if you feel like it)

 

Prep: add the rums, passion fruit, mango juice and the sweet and sour mix to a cocktail mixer. Shake and serve. Garnish with lime wheel.

 

Sips that Scream Summer

Barbados Punch

Reminiscent of a time on a far-off island, the Barbados Punch requires no passport or airfare.

 

            1 oz. of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

          .25 oz. of triple sec

            1 oz. of lime juice

            2 oz. of pineapple juice

            crushed ice

            1 slice of lime and pineapple (if you feel like it)

 

Prep: add first four ingredients to a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and garnish with lime and pineapple slices

 

Pink Bikini

Sweet and succulent, the Pink Bikini personifies summer. From the name to the ingredients, there’s nothing not to gain here. Matching drink with swimsuit recommended for ultimate experience.

 

             1 1 liter bottle of raspberry lemonade

                 3/4 cups coconut rum

             1 cup of amaretto liqueur

 

Prep: combine ingredients in a large pitcher, stir well and serve.

 

Peach Fuzzies

Like the warm fuzzies, only peach. Perfectly paired with beach outings, barbeques or sitting at home, Peach Fuzzies serves a crunch for everyone.

 

1 12 oz. can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate, slightly thawed and divided

    3/4 cup of vodka, divided

    3/4 cup of water, divided

4 cups of ripe peaches, peeled and cubed fresh, divided

crushed ice

 

Prep: process half quantities of first four ingredients in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape sides. Fill blender with ice to five-cup level and process until smooth. Pour and then repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.

 

The Fourth of July Guest of Honor

Betsy Ross Martini

Nothing says national pride quite like a martini named after the lady who has been credited with making the United States flag. In the spirit of pride, what better way to celebrate?

 

            3 tablespoons of vanilla vodka

            1/2 tablespoon of a hazelnut liqueur

            1 tablespoon of vanilla simple syrup

            1/2 tablespoons of half-and-half

            ice

            strawberry syrup

            6 blueberries

 

Prep: mix vodka, liqueur, vanilla simple syrup and half-and-half in an ice-filled cocktail mixer. Shake hard and strain into chilled martini glass. Pour strawberry syrup into small squeeze bottle and squeeze stripes of syrup on top. Place blueberries in top left side of glass to make a flag-like rendering.

 

See coastalliving.com, delish.com, epicurious.com and more sites to find your new favorite cocktail recipes.

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