Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#WineWednesday: Bringing Back the Box

... Boxed Wine, that is. Yep, you heard me right. I am bringing that shiz back and with a quickness too. You know what else, I'm darn proud of it too! I'm a hooked bag-slappin' Fool.

Okay, okay. So there actually are a few reasons why I'm now on the boxed bandwagon:

1. For starters, they've come a longgggg way since Pink boxed wines. I'm totally not hating on Pink Boxed Wines, trust me, I've had my fair share... but, I feel Pink boxed wine is slightly more appropriate with a pounding headache the next morning possibly accompanied with a bought of gut rot. I try to avoid both of those at all costs.

2. Speaking of costs. I think a $20 something box of wine is way more cost efficient, especially if your into a daily evening glass. It's always there, limitless, ready for a pour.

3. The equivalent of 4 bottles of wine packed into one convenient box. Easy to transport and less spoiled wine. Because, after all, you really shouldn't consume 4 bottles in one sitting. That's just plain wrong. So save a little. You don't have to worry about it going bad the next day.

4.  It's actually good tasting wine. Yes, it really is!

and, lastly ...

5. A Bota Box wine is environmentally friendly. According to the website: "The smart, alternative packaging and size reduce greenhouse gasses by 75% and waste by 50%, cut fuel emissions due to its lighter shipping weight, and are produced primarily from paper which is a renewable resource" You get the wine. Mother Earth gets a a break. A total win/ win situation. 

The Bota Box brand offers a variety of boxed wines for your sipping pleasure. 
image // via
Look at those little baby ones in the front. Perfect for a picnic. 

My mom first introduced me to this wine and I clearly thought she was out of her mind.. and possibly having a mid-life crisis trying to escape back to hear early drinking days. She kept telling me "No, I swear it's really good wine!" and "It's just like bottled wine except there's more to share, consume, guzzle, etc.". I was at first a total skeptic, until she snuck me a glass. Unknowingly, I thought it was the glass bottled stuff. Sure enough it was a Bota Box. And you know what else. It tasted GREAT and it seemed endless. I've been hooked ever since. Thanks, Mom.  

Once I began researching a little bit more into the whole boxed wine trend, I realized how great this really is. By removing the glass bottles the saving is able to be passed down to the consumer. Who knew glass bottles were so overrated?!

 My favorite Bota Box is the Pinot Grigio. 

image // via

So there ya have it! 
What are your thoughts on boxed wines. Have you tried any recently? Don't you just love them?? Or, are you glass bottle all the way? I'd love to know, share you thoughts in the comments.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blue Cheese & Steak Wedge Salad

Whew!! What a weekend! 

B and I made an impromptu trip into Dallas to see the family + my mom pulled a couple of stings and snagged the entire family tickets to see Michael Jackson's Immortal Tour by Cirque Du Soleil! Unfortunately, I don't have any fun photos to share from the show since I was too busy perfecting my moonwalk, turns, and crotch grabbing dance moves. Along with being utterly captivated by the performers and thinking the entire show that their was a hologram somewhere in the mix I was unable to take some party pics. Plus, I'm completely positive the entire AA center thought I was delusional as I was running around between grabbing shots and food screeching: "OMG! He's about to come out! I just know he's coming out to this song." "Babe, we gotta get back to our suite, Michael's about to come out". Reflecting back on the stares and eyes that were rolled my direction, pretty sure people were assuming I didn't realize our beloved MJ was gone or that I was literally that ridiculous. Anywho, I love LOVE LOVE  me a good Cirque Du Soleil performance, not to mention we had box seats. And, just so you know, suite life is where it's at! All-in-all it was basically a dance party for me with pyrotechnics and amazing jams in the background. All my dreams were fulfilled.

After the all carbs, wine,  Grey Goose, and midnight pizza I've ingested over the weekend, along with a Supper Stubs (shotout!) to top it all off I was dying for something of substance and filled with vegetables sans grease.

Enter the Blue Cheese and Steak Wedge Salad

I love a great wedge salad accompanied by an amazing filet of beef. But, 'round these parts the combination has been a little tough to come by.

I can't exactly take total credit for this recipe because my amazingly talented in the kitchen, of  a little brother made me something very similar a few weeks ago when I was feeling under the weather. Plus, I feel as though I have to give him extra credit for snagging the entire bottle of Grey for our suite. Little brother's come in handy like that.

For dinner Sunday night, I was insistent that we make something on the healthier side of things. This salad is beyond delicious and take all of 20 minutes to make. And, if you have an incredible man in your life than he can help out with dinner. How can anyone resit that?!

All you need is:

2 small fillets
1 head of ice-berg lettuce (cut into 4 - 5 large wedges)
Cooked and extra crispy bacon
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Chopped Red Onion
You favorite Blue Cheese Dressing

  1. Sear your steaks on the grill. We like ours on the medium side so we ended up searing them for about 5 - 8 minutes on each side. They were pretty thick cuts.
  2. Cook bacon. Throw it in the oven at 450 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes turning once in between cooking. Get it nice and extra crispy so it easily breaks up. Remove from oven and let cool. Place on a paper towel to soak up any extra bacon grease. 
  3. Assemble your lettuce wedge. Place wedge on a dish, crumble bacon on top, add some chopped red onions and pepper to taste. Lastly, sprinkle Blue Cheese crumbles on top.
  4. Very thinly slice your cooled filet and place on or around your wedge. I added a little more Blue Cheese crumbles because I can't live without it. 
  5. Serve with a heaping side of Blue Cheese Dressing - I dip it all in there: steak, lettuce and all!
  6. ENJOY!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five Faves Friday - Grey, Cats & Dirty Dogs

Today I am linking up with AmandaErika, and Lauren for today's

Fifty Shades of Grey

Why don't we just go a head and start this Friday off with a bang! If you're like me (and probably a million other women around the country) you squealed a little bit when the premier of the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey was introduced to us this week. I am so excited, and can hardly wait until February, that I am going to re-read the first book... then probably the entire series. And, for my luckiest of readers, if you didn't get a glimpse into the Red Room please take a peak at the trailer below. Then go take a cold shower. Things are about to get steamy... and it's not because of the summer heat.

Getting Back

and by that I mean, getting this booty back in the gym. We've had a new gym membership since early June and it took us all the way until this week to actually put the membership to use. Yay for commitment. Hey, these lake bodies aren't going to sculpt themselves. Better get moving.


Speaking of fitness, this week I have also discovered a sure-fire way to keep me pumped full of health. has so pretty amazing and healthy products. And guess what! They even offer a free sample trial. So I got my sample pack of daily vitamins (the daily nutrient pack) and green juice powder (the daily good) and started on the regime. Seriously, yall! I almost instantly felt like a new women. Tons of energy, amazing sleep, and I am able to completely wind down at the end of the day. No crazy burp backs of vitamins and I didn't feel bloated. I love that everything is portioned out and it's so easy. I drink the juice mix first thing in the am and then take the vitamins during lunch. 

This is the sample pack that I received. It included 3 daily packs of vitamins and 5 green juice mixes. I only paid for shipping and these little life savers were delivered directly to my door. 

I must say, I am probably going to order the flavored green juice mixes. The original is a little rough with plain water. I'll be mixing it with juice or a smoothie from now on - you should do the same. Just sayin.


One thing you must know is that I completely adore our cats (and dogs). What can I say I am an animal lover. We have rescued some pretty amazing pets and daily they never cease to make me laugh. So why not share a couple of random photos I captured of my babies this week. I swear they each have their own distinct personalities. This is sure to put a smile into your day.

If he fits, he sits. 
Raul helping me unload the water... or was he protecting it? Either way, it was a very serious job.

This would be my Baby Kiki enjoying some prime time television. Excuse my towels in the background I was obviously preoccupied. Don't worry about me Kiki, you stay right there and enjoy yourself while I fold the laundry.

Speaking of enjoying yourself. I guess Smokey and Nala have that covered. 
I just want to curl up with them when I see this. It makes it very hard to stay productive sometimes. But dang, those are some happy cats. 

Dirty Dogs

Tuesday marked National Hot Dog Day. So, like any good American we (giddily) obliged. Complete with chili pie on the side. We are high class up in here, lemme tell ya. 

Share with us in the comments, what are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pull-Apart Monkey Bread

Growing up my Mom would make Monkey Bread on early Christmas mornings. I can remember the house would smell of warm cinnamon and sugar as we rushed downstairs to open presents and stuff our faces all morning long with ooey-gooey warm little bite-sized sugary covered biscuit pieces.

Sometimes, I just can't wait until Christmas to make Monkey Bread, and neither should you. And, let's face it folks. We're all grown-ups here. If we want the Monkey Bread, we WILL have the Monkey Bread. At least that's how it goes in my Hacienda.

If you've never had Monkey Bread you're in for a treat! And, if you have had Monkey Bread, you should make some... I promise it's still just as delicious as when you were a kid. Like Christmas morning all over again.

Lately, I've been so nostalgic when it comes to food. I love how one simple thing like, Monkey Bread, can take you immediately back to a special moment and place in time. A memory that will be in your heart forever. Just like Christmas mornings as a kid, except without presents. Boo to that!

Oh, and that Caramel Sauce topping just dripping into, and out of, every crevice. Simple Perfection. 

You'll also have the added benefit of an amazing smelling house and a very satisfied husband, for those of you married folks. And, if you're not married, then all the more Monkey Bread for you to enjoy.. in peace.. with the entire gallon of Milk. There's always gives and takes when it comes to marriage. Can I get an AMEN!?

So, go ahead. Indulge a little. Haven't you ever heard of "Christmas in July"? 

Pull-Apart Monkey Bread (adapted from Pillsbury)

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 cans refrigerated biscuits (7.5 oz tube)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a large Bundt pan with butter cooking spray
  • Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in a large 1-gallon zip-lock bag. Zip close and gently shake bag to mix cinnamon and sugar
  • Cut each biscuit into fourths and toss into sugar/cinnamon mixture in the bag
  • Using only fourth of the batch toss biscuit pieces to fully coat with cinnamon and sugar. Lightly shake between your hand to remove excess sugar and place in the Bundt pan. Continue working in small batches until all the biscuit pieces are covered and placed into the pan

  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a small sauce pan. Once melted add the brown sugar and mix until a thick caramel sauce is formed
  • Pour sauce over the biscuit pieces
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown
  • Cool for 5 minutes
  • Place a large plate over the Bundt pan, then flip the Monkey Bread onto the plate and out of the pan
  • Sauce will continue to drizzle over the sides
  • Server warm
  • Enjoy!

Feeling Fine with my Francis Wine

If you've been following along from my post last Friday you know that I've been doing my best "wine research". If you haven't been following along, shame on you...

A couple of weeks ago my local grocer was having a great sale on wine + 10% off if you bought 6 bottles. I was up for the challenge and assured myself that I needed to leave the store with 6 bottles of wine, because a) they were on sale and b) after all I am doing a weekly series all things wine. It was totally justifiable and complete with savings.

Yesterday I dove into my first batch of research and it did not disappoint. In fact, I liked it so much that I am going to pick up 6 bottles of it alone to stock my (imaginary) wine rack.

This lovely Diamond Collection Chardonnay (surprise!) by the Francis Ford Coppola Winery is superb!!

Absolutely smooth and light on my palate with all of its French Oak Barrel gloriousness. And, with it's alcohol content slightly higher than most Chards, I was feeling fine in no time. But, please, Wine Responsibly.

I must admit, I had a hunch that this wine would be Oh, So Good due to the fact that it is produced in the same area of California that my beloved B proposed to me. I felt it's magical Monterey powers as soon as I gripped the bottle. And, with each sip I reminisced about the magical sunset that I was asked to be his wife on the beautiful coast of California. I digress...

Coppola's Chardonnay is perfect all the way around. This Chardonnay has a great price point, around $15 a bottle, and can be easily paired with just about anything. I give this wine two thumbs up and a great big gulp.

We paired the wine with my Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms (recipe can be found here) and it made a great watering companion during my evening soaking of the begonias. (those are flowers people, not swamp man's rendition of the word)

If you're a Chardonnay lover, like yours truly, I know you will love this wine. Go grab a bottle, or six, and give a great big Cheers to Mr. Coppola - you did a great thing Francis, and we love you for that. I am looking forward to trying many more of Francis Ford Coppola's festive wines and of course, I'll fill you in. It is, after all, my wino duty.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Faves Friday: Research, Mascara, and New Blog Smell

Let's just dive right in, shall we?

1. Oven Repair Men: Confession. My oven, stove-top, my entire range has been out of business for the past 3 weeks. Do you know what that does to a food blogger??! It's been madness I tell ya, and lots and lots of trips to Taco Bell. So, (FINALLY) my stove got fixed this week and I am very thankful for my oven repair man that took a whole 10 minutes to get my cooking apparatus heating up and running again... ahhh, much better. Now I can go back to cooking and creating culinary masterpieces! Whoo Hoo!

2. Cover Girls's new 2 in 1 mascara, Bombshell Curvaceous Mascara: my typical mascara routine usually includes two different products to get fuller thicker lashes. But, now Cover Girl has that covered (pun intended). This simple two step mascara helps me achieve volumized lashes - and I LOVE it. BTW, I hate these types of pictures. They always look so creepy - I apologize. But don't my lashes look fabulous?!

Image // via
3. Research: two words: #WineWednesday Research. It's been a tough job but someone's got to do it * wink wink *

4. Birthdays: It's my Boo Things dirty 30 this weekend and I am so pumped to celebrate my wonderful man. Happy Birthday to my B!! I can't wait to celebrate the next 30 with you.

5.  FITO Blog's New Domain!!:  Can you smell that?! It's new blog smell. FITO Blog is now has it's very own domain. You, and everyone else can now go to Super easy to access, same great content, just an easier to use web address. I hope you Catz are excited as I am. :D


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sriracha Shrimp Salad

 S is for Summer.
and Summer is for Seafood, Salads, and Spice. 

During my usual activity of perusing the different recipes gracing the pages of magazines and cookbooks, I came across a recipe for Shrimp Salad in the July issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine.

I thought to myself: "This sounds delightful on a warm summer day like today."... "oh, yes. This will be mine."

I grabbed a package of cooked shrimp (frozen), instead of boiling my own - which only made this recipe that much simpler.

I also switched out the hot sauce for Sriracha, and added chopped green onions instead of scallions. In no time I had a refreshing and delicious shrimp salad with the perfect hint of heat.

Sriracha Shrimp Salad

You'll Need:
+ 1 bag frozen shrimp
+ 1/4 cup mayonnaise
+ 2 tablespoons ketchup
+ 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
+ 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
+ Juice from one freshly squeezed lemon
+ 1 stalk of celery (chopped)
+ 2 tablespoons chopped cucumber
+ Garlic salt and pepper to taste

Thaw shrimp by running under cold water for 5 minutes. Drain well.

Next, remove shrimp's tails and discard. Roughly chop shrimp and add to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, Sriracha, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper to taste.

Next, chop celery, cucumbers, and green onions.

Add the Sriracha mixture to shrimp and chopped veggies. Gently stir together until combined.

Served chilled.

For added heat, drizzle additional Sriracha sauce over the top.




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Red, Red Wine Vinaigrette

Welcome to this week's #WineWednesday. Toady we're going to switch it up a bit and talk about Red Wine Vinaigrette. Because, after all, this blog is centered around food. So let's talk wine AND a new recipe.

I absolutely love making fresh sauces and dressing. There's just something about adjusting the sauce exactly to your liking. By adding fresh herbs here and there you have all the control over your dressing, which is always a nice change of pace.

I just love Red Wine Vinaigrette. 
A little sweet. A little tangy. Plus, a little wine. It's the perfect addition to any salad.

Not only do I use this tasty vinaigrette to dress my salads. I also LOVE it as dipping sauce with extra crispy bread. It's like a BONUS!

I adapted this recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (11th edition). Found here

I usually keep a jar of this dressing in my fridge so I can throw together a quick salad, use it as a dipping sauce, or add some extra flavor to sandwiches. It hardly ever lasts long enough, but it's so easy to whip up. Maybe next time I need to make a double batch.

Are you ready to make your own Red, Red Wine Vinaigrette?
Let's go!

What you'll need:
+  1/3 cup oil (I used vegetable, but olive oil will work great as well)
+  3 tablespoons of White Vinegar
+  1 tablespoon Sugar
+  1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, oregano (I used dried herbs because that was all I had on hand)
+  1/2 teaspoon Paprika
+  1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
+  3 tablespoons Sweet Red Wine
+  1 clove minced Garlic

To Prepare:
In a jar, or air-tight container, combine all ingredients. Cover and shake well. Can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Shake well before serving. 

Note: I like to mix my vinaigrette a little heavy on the vinegar side. Therefore, I use Sweet Red Wine. It helps to counter balance out the vinegar. You can always use a dry Red Wine, which will work great as well!

Fun Fact. One of my all time favorite songs, since childhood, is Red, Red Wine by UB40. Every time I hear it on the radio I have to jam out and it takes me to such a happy place. I love how music can put us in a certain mood or give us a certain feeling. Do you have a favorite songs that takes you back?  

Here's to great salads, get sauces, and great music! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Friday, July 11, 2014

It's a Free For All FRIDAY

Two words:
seven. eleven.

As in, 7-Eleven
the corner convenient store
 you know, Slurpee headquarters?

And, technically speaking, today is 7/11

And today, on the eleventh day on the seventh month, you can grab yourself a FREE SLURPEE


I've been chanting an Oprah-inspired: "You get a Slurpee! And, you get a SLURPEE!! EVERYONE GETS A SLURPEE! WWHEEEEEEE!!"

Stop by 7-Eleven between the hours of 11 AM and 7 PM for your FREE small SLURPEE

Today, you can let all your Slurpee fantasies run wild as you can select any flavor(s) AND any combination among their many delicious sweet & icy options.

Or, you can keep it real (like yours truly) and do the Cherry and Coke combo - Never fails!

So what are you waiting for?
(besides 11 AM)
Head over to your local 7-Eleven and enjoy something sweet, cold, and refreshing... for FREE!

That's sure to get your weekend off to a pretty sweet start!



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pimento Cheese stuffed Celery

Move over Peanut Butter. There's a new celery spread in town.

Celery, meet Pimento Cheese.
Pimento Cheese, meet Celery.

Ladies & Gents! 

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Celery

So, yeah. I just discovered Pimento Cheese filled in Celery is the JAM!
I couldn't wait to share this amazing duo any longer!
So today, I am sharing this devine concoction with all you lovely people.

Although it may seem simple. Do not mistake the power this combination will have over your taste-buds.
And, I promise, once you try it, you will LOVE it!

Seriously Y'all!!

Run, (don't walk) to your nearest grocery store and pick yourself up some nice, green, crunchy Celery and while you're at it be sure to grab your favorite Pimento Cheese spread.

If you're anything like me (pondering up and continuously thinking about this union) the second your feet hit that kitchen floor get these two equally amazing ingredients combined as quickly and efficiently as possible.

And, if you're anything like me (again) you've been thinking about THE pimento cheese for a over an hour. On your journey back home from Market Street. Because you HAD to HAVE THE (freshly prepared) Smoked Gouda Pimento Spread. (OMG!) aaannnddddd, you drove over an hour to the nearest Market Street to get said spread, allowing your mind to run wild with thoughts of pimento cheese. (#noshame)

That Smoked Gouda takes the pimento cheese game to a whole new level.
(Similar Pimento Cheese recipe can be found here.)

Side note: if you do, by chance, find yourself in the same situation as me, please email me ASAP so we can be BFF's!

BTW, is Pimento Cheese just a Southern thing? 
I've always wondered... does all of the country equally love the deliciously cold cheese spread dotted with bright red pimentos? Or, are some of you still trying figure out what the hell Pimento Cheese is and what the heck you do with it? 
Either way, I love me some Pimento Cheese - and now I don't feel as guilty when I pair it with a nice chunk of celery instead of pilling it onto a thick piece of white bread.


This stuff is sooooooo goood!
And, the possibilities are endless.

I'm envisioning: lunches, appetizers, afternoon snacks, side dishes, cheese and veggie trays...
I'm talking: birthday parties, bridal showers, girls night in, pot-lucks, lunch for the kiddos or on the go.
The list goes on and on...
AND, or in my case, you can just eat it for breakfast.

Yes. Yes, my friends, I ate Celery & Pimento Cheese for breakfast.
I'm telling you! It's that good!
I guess, sometimes, you just can't wait.

Just smear/ spread/ fill your Pimento Cheese in those little celery cracks (as much as your heart desires) and VIOLA!
I also added a little Paprika cause I'm cool like that. 




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

POP open the Prosecco (+ a cocktail)

Introducing BOLLA Prosecco Treviso DOC

Not to be entirely confused with Champagne. 

Prosecco is a sparkling white wine that comes from the North Eastern region of Italy. 
Although, both Champagne and Prosecco are considered sparkling wines, the difference in their names determines the region in which they were produced. 

Prosecco = Veneto Italy (the northeast region of Italy)
Champagne = France

Additionally, Prosecco is particular to the grapes used in production. Prosecco only uses one type of Italian grape, Glera. Whereas Champagne uses a variety of grapes.

If you know one thing about me, it's that I am a fan of both Prosecco and Champagne! However, I tend to save the "Champs" for a celebratory occasion. 

I usually stick to the Prosecco. Especially when I need something lovely & bubbly but less wedding-ish and more low key.

Imported through Banfi Wines, Bolla's Prosecco comes from and is produced in Italy. North of Venice to be exact.

What I love about this Prosecco is that is very light and crisp on the palette. 

According to Banfi Wines' website, Bolla Prosecco Teviso DOC has been both hand and machine harvested and the "fermentation takes place in stainless steel and cuvee close to develop the stars."

Bolla Prosecco won a Gold Medal at the San Diego International Wine Competition and with an easy-on-the-wallet price point, you truly cannot go wrong.

This Prosecco pairs nicely with pretty much anything. Think appetizers, seafood, chicken, pork, pastas and even desserts.

This delightful Prosecco is a must! 

Quick Cocktail Idea:
You know the bliss of a Sunday Morning Mimosa...?
Well think that, but with a twist!

I like to call it the Prosecco Blood Orange Mimosa.

I am absolutely loving this mocked up version
Prosecco + Blood Orange 

So delish, and so refreshing! 
Try it and you'll love the easy combination.