Red Curry Coconut Pulled Pork

Coconut Curry Pulled Pork

Spring is in the air and flavorful, fruity recipes are on my mind! This time of year is always pretty busy for me, but spring of 2016 is proving to be especially crazy, mostly because I’m officially six months away from my wedding (yes, shockingly someone has stepped up to the plate to spend the rest of their life with me, who knew).

So I’m knee-deep in all sorts of wedding planning and bridal budgeting, while trying to juggle a day job, all my blogging projects, and SXSW, which completely takes over the city of Austin in both good ways (parties, events, and bands galore!) and bad ways (traffic, omg the traffic).

Basically, this leaves me with zero time to cook. The good news is, I have a slow cooker. And with a slow cooker, you cannot fail. Throw some ingredients in there, set it, forget it, come home from your job or event or meeting and you have a piping-hot meal waiting for you to devour. In this case, that meal is a mouth-watering, sumptuous pulled pork that you will be oh so happy to say aloha to after a long day.

Red Curry Coconut Pulled Pork

Of course, the ingredients you throw into that miracle slow cooker need to be good. And this recipe here is full of good stuff. We’re starting with a boneless netted fresh pork shoulder roast from Smithfield. This pork is the star of the show and it couldn’t be easier to prep. Literally go buy it at the store, take it home, cut it out of its net, and drop it in the crockpot. Done. No trimming, no chopping, no nothing. Love it!

Then you need some flavor to make your pork great. This is where the aforementioned fruit comes in. The pork shoulder is drenched in crushed pineapple and pineapple juice, plus a bunch of bright, island-y flair: ginger, soy, agave, sriracha, and curry paste come together to make a sweet-spicy-tangy sauce that is so perfect with this juicy, tender pulled pork. Oh, and you’re adding in some coconut milk at the very end for a little bit of creamy sweetness that takes this tropical pulled pork to the next level.

Even if springtime means “no time,” I promise this meal will come together in a snap and everyone will love it. Make sure to have plenty of sweet Hawaiian rolls and white rice on hand for serving!

Red Curry Coconut Pulled Pork

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Cocktail O’Clock: Signs of Spring

east cocktail

After a long winter, it is high time we get ourselves into spring drinking season. I don’t know about you, but by my calendar it is just about time to start thinking about sitting outside with an icy, fruity beverage. Yes, I know it is still snowing outside. No, I don’t care. This cocktail o’clock special comes from the Renaissance Montreal hotel — where I am certain it is still snowing, so if they’re already thinkin’ about spring drinkin’ you can too.

 

The East Cocktail

· 1.5 oz. Hennessy V.S.

· 1.5 oz. Sake

· 1 oz. Lime juice

· 1 oz. Lemongrass syrup

· 1 oz. Pomegranate juice

· 0.5 oz. Egg white

Combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Filter the drink with a cocktail strainer into an Old Fashioned glass, already filled with ice.

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Cocktail O’Clock: Luck of the Irish

Luck o' The Irish

It may still be February, but the warm weather we had this past weekend has me thinking spring. When I think about the start of spring I think about St. Patrick’s Day. When I think about St. Patrick’s Day I think about the genuine, authentic displays of Irish-American heritage that fill pubs throughout New York. I’m just kidding. Let’s talk about booze.

Here’s a new cocktail recipe that let’s you celebrate St. Patrick’s — or any other day — with class. No green beer, please. Instead let’s take actual Irish beer (Guinness) and use its deep, stout-y flavor to liven up a citrusy whiskey cocktail.

Luck of the Irish

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Spicy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

Super Bowl Snack Zone: Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

Spicy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

One of our favorite eating holidays of the year is here! Well, almost here. The Super Bowl is THIS SUNDAY! If you’re a dedicated snacker like the rest of the ES team, you’ve probably been making some extreme Super Bowl party eating plans, so I respect the fact that your football food may already be decided. But but BUT! You should make a little bit of time to include this buffalo cauliflower in your Sunday Funday.

I’m not telling you to make this recipe because it’s healthy, I’m telling you to make it because it’s GOOD. So good it could replace the wings in your menu. There, I said it. I think the trick to making this particular kind of buffalo cauliflower especially amazing is the double-baking method. You coat the cauliflower bake it once, baste it in delicious sauce, then bake it again to seal in the flavor and texture. The result? Seriously binge-able finger food that everyone will be raving about the whole game. Trust me on this one.

**Note: these cauliflower bites are pictured with another absolutely delicious football app we recently made: baked almond chicken nuggets. I can’t claim any credit for the chicken recipe, but those lil’ guys are perfect for serving alongside your cauliflower and I highly recommend adding them to your snack spread as well!

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

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Butternut & Zucchini Noodles with Sausage and Parm

Super Spiralizer: Butternut & Zucchini Noodles with Sausage and Parm

Spiralized Butternut Squash with Parm and Sausage
It’s time. Time for another spiralizer recipe! This one is chock-full of delicious zucchini and butternut squash and plenty of sausage and cheese. So you really don’t feel like you’re eating boring “health food.” It’s just delicious, delicious dinner and I promise you will love it. The sweetness of b-nut squash and caramelized onion marry with the saltiness of parmesan cheese, chicken sausage, and the earthiness of brussels sprouts and mushrooms.

There’s so much flavor in this dish that you don’t need an actual sauce. Tossing everything in coconut oil and parmesan should do the trick, just make sure to add plenty of fresh cracked black pepper at the end. Of course, if you love a marinara or an alfredo on your noodles, go ahead and add your favorite sauce into the mix right before serving.

Butternut & Zucchini Noodles with Sausage and Parm

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Homemade baked pretzels

Party with Homemade Pretzels!

Homemade Baked Pretzels with Cheese SauceThe best part about football is the FOOD. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching the game as much as the next person (possibly even more, when the Seahawks are playing) but the snacks at tailgates, stadiums, and watch parties are the most exciting part besides the event itself. Every year I like to challenge myself to make new and exhilarating Super Bowl snacks for everyone to enjoy, and this year is no different. Of course, the football cooking extravaganza has been going on all month… and last week it was all about the pretzel.

Pretzels are always good, but pretzels with cheese sauce are better. Last weekend my lovely friend Holly had the brilliant idea to make our own pretzels (yes, with cheese sauce!) so for the first time in my life, I learned how to make homemade pretzels! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, especially because we followed Alton Brown’s pretzel guide, which of course was hella thorough. The finished pretzels were so, so good. I definitely recommend serving them warm and don’t skimp on the salt! Mmm… salt. Perfect paired with a frosty beer during the game.

If for some reason you don’t want to make the cheese sauce included in this recipe (why not though?!) I recommend serving with dijon mustard or spicy mustard.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

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Red Quinoa Crock Pot Stew

A Big Mess of Slow Cooker Quinoa Deliciousness

Red Quinoa Crock Pot Stew

January is prime slow cooker season, as far as I’m concerned. The days are still pretty dark and pretty cold (okay, it was 70 and sunny here in Austin today, but that’s still kinda “cold” for us in Texas). When I get home it’s nice to have something hot and tasty waiting for me. (Besides my fiance. Haha. I’m fully of the jokes today.)

A lot of the popular slow cooker recipes out there are kinda unhealthy, but I’m still recovering from the massive infusion of sugar, butter, and booze I put my body through last month during the holidays, so I like to keep my January dinners fairly light. Luckily there are plenty of meals that are easy to throw in the crock pot, absolutely satisfying, AND good for you.

This red quinoa stew is one of those recipes. It’s so filling and flavorful that it seems like it should be worse for you, but it’s a paragon of good nutrition. Plenty of protein, fiber, and vegetables. This recipe makes 4-6 servings, so if you’re not feeding a big family you should have some nice leftovers for lunch the next day. The slow cooker truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Red Quinoa Butternut Squash Stew

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