Easy “Last Minute” Entertaining Bites

                                                           A New Year is almost upon us. If you’re like me your plans may be a little last minute. I am here to save the day! Here are a few of my quick and easy go-to bites when entertaining. The best thing about these dishes are that they are quick, affordable, and easy to make. Don’t feel bad about using shortcuts! Especially not on a holiday when people are organizing and preparing for a fresh start. The food should be the last of your worries! Now, lets do this!!! Happy eating and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

Bite sized chicken and waffles

  • Cooked chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces. (Absolutely nothing wrong with buying pre-cooked tenders)
  • Waffle mix and waffle iron ( just follow your brands instructions)
  • Maple syrup, hot sauce.
  • Large toothpicks.

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  Shrimp and Grit Bites

  • 1- 2 cups prepared grits.
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar, gouda, etc.)
  • 2- 3 Tablespoons butter. Plus one tablespoon for shrimp.
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 4 ounces prepared crispy pancetta or bacon
  • 1/2 pound to 1 pound raw de-veined shrimp (depends on how many you’re making)
  • Old bay seasoning ( 1-2 tablespoons depending on how many shrimp.)

For the shrimp simply heat a pan over medium-high heat. Melt one tablespoon of butter. Coat the shrimp in old bay. Saute in the pan for about 1-2 minutes per side. And set aside.

Cook pancetta or bacon until nice and crispy. Set aside.

Follow the instructions on the back of your favorite grit mix. Add in cream, butter, and cheese.

Spoon the grits into small bite size bowls or spoons. (Cost Plus World Market people!) And proceed to top with pancetta and one shrimp. Voila!

 

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Mini Caprese Bites

Fresh mozzarella balls, tomatoes, basil, and sweet balsamic drizzle. So delicious and the skewers allow for easy, mess-free eating. Simply layer your ingredients onto  the skewers and dress with the vinegar and oil. Assembling the skewers is fun for the kids too!

  • – Pint grape tomatoes.
  • – Fresh small whole milk mozzarella cheese balls.
  • – Wooden skewers.
  • – Extra virgin olive oil (Enough for a light drizzle.)
  • – 2 tablespoons sweet balsamic glaze. (Or just enough to drizzle.)
  • -Fresh basil leaves.
  • – Salt and pepper to taste

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TIME TO CELEBRATE!!!

Oreo Snowman

Looking for a super cute fun and easy holiday treat to do with you’re family? Then look no further! These little guys are SO simple to make and are a great addition to any holiday get together. Super indulgent! But so worth it. We decided to make snowmen but feel free to be imaginative and create whatever you want by switching the colors up. Green for Grinch! Red hat for Santa! I hope you have just as much fun making and eating these little guys as my family did. Happy eating!

Giving it a try? Show us your finished product and tag us on instagram @ayeshacurry

Oreo Snowmen
Package of sandwich cookies
Cake Pop sticks
Parchment paper
Package candy melts
Decorating gel (Black, and red)

Twist apart all of the Oreo cookies very carefully. ( don’t be barbaric and crush ya cookies. Be gentle with these munchkins.)

Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave according to the instructions on the package, stirring until completely melted and smooth.

Dip the tip of the pop stick in the melted chocolate before making an indentation in the filling of each cookie.

Place the top of the cookie back on and allow chocolate to harden for a few minutes.

Then carefully dip each cookie into the melted chocolate covering it completely.

Allow to set on the parchment paper and harden completely. Give it about ten minutes.

Once hardened you may decorate it! Black for the eyes and mouth. Orange for a carrot nose. Tie a ribbon on the stick for a cute scarf!

Enjoy!

 

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10 Minute Pasta!

Here is a throwback recipe to make something fresh, light, quick and EASY! This simple recipe uses things that I already have in my refrigerator. Turns out amazing! It’s a great vegetarian option too! Try it and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Ingredients 
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes(halved)
1 small shallot chopped
3 cloves of chopped garlic
A handful of FRESH basil chopped
a sprig of fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
a pinch of salt
1 package of Capellini pasta
Parmigiano-Reggiano (to taste )
Bring a pot of COLD water to a boil on the stove. While the water is heating up, place your skillet on med-high heat and sauté the butter, olive oil, garlic and shallots in a pan until the shallots become translucent (not brown). Add the rosemary, cherry tomatoes and pinch of salt for flavor. Sauté for about 2 to 3 mins and add in your chopped basil. By now your water should have come to a raging boil. Add in your capellini pasta and cook as directed on the package (usually about 3 mins). Drain the water from the pasta and add to your tomato mixture. Mix together well and then plate the pasta. Top with fresh Parmigiano and enjoy!

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I love you so much, Austin TX

Live music, endless street art, southern comfort, and food that is so unbelievably good you can’t come to Austin, Texas without expecting to put on a few pounds. This past weekend I had the luxury of visiting this lively city with my older sister, who attends the University of Texas at Austin. After only hearing good things about Austin my expectations were high, but I didn’t know what to expect. So many things to see and do there wasn’t nearly enough time to finish it all in 48 hours. That’s why I can’t wait to come back in the fall for the Austin City Limits music festival. Here’s my review and overall experience of Austin, Texas and I hope this guide is helpful to the next adventure seeking vacationers.

For the past three years Austin has reached summer temperatures of over 100 degrees for two or three consecutive months, and the weather was headed in that direction. So packing during the warm (and humid) months, pack light and airy clothes. At night it doesn’t get lower than 85, I didn’t bother bringing a sweater.

In the morning we ate at a restaurant called Blue Dahlia, the scene was adorable and the french cafe was a great spot to kick off the weekend. The restaurant is known for their open faced sandwiches. Outdoor seating is available in the front and back, request the front for people watching! Across the street was the famous BBQ joint called Franklins. To eat at this restaurant you need to wait in line for at least a couple hours; we passed by and the line was around 100 people long. The food typically runs out at 12 o’clock, and then the restaurant closes for the day. Most people end up having bbq for breakfast, but nothing wrong with that! We wandered around 2nd street, a lively place for shopping boutiques and more great restaurants are located there. Along Second is the river that goes through Austin, and it really makes the whole city so refreshing. We walked across the bridge and over to South Congress for the famous Gourdough’s Doughnut truck. Look at my picture and zoom in to read the menu (it’s insane) any topping you want on a sweet, warm, doughy doughnut. Mouth watering…The best part about Austin is that everywhere you go, you can’t go without passing all these killer food trucks. Empty parking lots are filled with options and each truck is so unique and so good. Plus they have their own addresses on google maps which makes it really easy to access the ones you want.

On our way home we stopped at the worlds largest and first Whole Foods. I skipped into the store like a four year old because I was so excited. For anyone visiting Austin you can’t leave without coming here, even if you don’t buy anything you leave the store stuffed because of all the free samples. I left with a pressed juice because whenever I drink those I’m convinced it’s a workout in a bottle (I didn’t go to the gym that day…..) That night we went downtown to 6th street, thousands of people fill the streets and live music is at every corner. We indulged in the famous post-party snack, Roppolo’s Pizzeria (greasy goodness.) Late that night my sister still reminded me I hadn’t tried the Texas fad, Queso. Indulging our bodies once again, we ordered this delicacy. I could make an entire blog post just on this damn food. We Californians love guacamole and salsa with our tortilla chips, but that really needs to change. Queso is melted cheese filled with Spanish spices and guacamole in the bottom of the bowl. Each bite leaves your body with a happy sensation. I can’t explain to you guys how good this treat is and I hope everyone is lucky enough to try this one day.

Sunday- I was so excited to get myself a Texas burger at the hotspot, Hopdoddys. Three hours before my flight, the line was a two hour wait…. I didn’t get my Hopdoddys. But, I’m a sucker for sushi, and across the street was a super cool Japanese kitchen, Funky Robot. The interior was just as good as the food, the walls were filled with murals and the furniture and decorations were so bright, some tables even had swings as their seating!

Each time we went to a new spot for food walking around the area was always so intriguing. Street art in Austin is huge and every plain building is transformed into funky works of art, decorated with some sort of colorful mural or message. Of course my sister and I took a picture in front of the famous Instagram hot spot “I love you so much”… yes, I Insta’d the photo. Sadly, it was time to leave this crazy city, 48 hours is not enough time to see everything. Overall Austin is such a sensational town; the music, the food, the smells, and the heat! If you end up visiting you must keep your expectations high and open minded because they will be fulfilled in every way. I love you so much, Austin!                                                                   -Olivia Vigo

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I am thrilled to announce that I have started a Youtube channel! This is going to allow all of my videos here in on little lights to be more accessible for everyone to see! I am so excited about this new journey! In order for things to go well you have to SUBSCRIBE ! Fitness friday’s will now be posted there as well as here on the blog! I really hope you enjoy it!

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Gluten-Free Persimmon Cookies

Hi Everyone! I come bearing gifts just in time for the holidays. Gluten-free gifts!  The persimmons on our tree in the front yard were completely ripe and ready to picked. Growing up with a Jamaican mommy we would always just eat the persimmons. Now, they kind of tie up my tongue.  I wanted to make something with this sweet and succulent fruit that could please everyone. Being that it is the holidays, this yummy sweet and spicy persimmon cookie was the perfect fit for our family. I made these cookies gluten-free simply because my mother in law has become gluten-free recently and a lot of my readers on here have asked for yummy simple gluten free options. I hope you like this recipe. Be sure to comment below. Enjoy!

… and Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful time with your families.

Ingredients 

1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar

1 Stick of Unsalted Butter

1 Organic Egg

1 Cup of Blended Persimmon Pulp (about 4-5 small persimmons)

1 1/4 Cup Gluten-Free Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp of All Spice

Pinch of Salt

1/4 Cup of Chocolate Chips (Optional)

Handful of Chopped Walnuts (Optional)

Optional Lemon Glaze: 2 Tbs Unsalted Butter melted and hot, Juice of half of a lemon and 3 Heaping Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 375. In a bowl mix brown sugar and room temperature butter together until smooth. Add in the egg and the persimmon pulp and mix until it forms a smooth wet batter.  Next, add in all of your dry ingredients and mix well until a thick batter is formed. Drop tablespoons of the batter onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for about 10-12 mins. Let them completely cool!

I decided to do two batches, one with chocolate chips and one with walnuts and the lemon glaze. They were both absolutely delicious. This is a great cookie to package as a gift or take to a holiday party. It will not disappoint! Enjoy 🙂

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Pearl Quinoa

Okay guys today we are talking about quinoa. Looks weird, tastes delicious. I find that any other grain besides rice can sometimes seem overwhelming or a bit foreign. Quinoa really isn’t, you actually prepare it just as you would traditional rice. There is so much you can do with this “super grain”. It’s a great alternative to rice as it is jam packed with protein, and doesn’t seem to weigh you down when you eat it. It’s also gluten-free so its a great side dish alternative. It also contains all 8 essential amino acids!

There are several different kinds of quinoa that I will be featuring periodically. Today, we are just going to focus on pearl quinoa which is the most common and the one we are all most likely familiar with. It’s a beige tiny pearl like grain when uncooked and becomes fluffy, yellow and “tadpole” like when cooked (The little stringy fiber hangs off after it’s been cooked, also a great indicator of when it’s done!)

Cooking this quinoa is simple. Add a cup and a half of liquid for every cup of quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce and then simmer for 15 mins. Super simple!

Of course I have a hard time doing anything as directed and like to jazz things up a bit…

Instead of water using a homemade or store-bought stock of your choice is a nice additive instead of water. It just beings a more full-bodied flavor to the quinoa. After my quinoa is done cooking I love to transfer it to a saute pan with garlic, olive oil and finely chopped onions. So yummy. I know some people despise raisins, but they just taste so delicious in sautéed quinoa, it’s not even funny.

You can also make this ahead of time and refrigerate it for the entire week! A great superfood for easy food prep.

I hope you guys enjoyed this little tie bit of information. Have you tried quinoa?  Feel free to leave your amazing recipes below!

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Bang Bang Shrimp!

Hey Everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I wanted to kickstart this week with one of my faves! It’s called bang bang shrimp, and it super delicious and easy to make. My version of this shrimp is different from your average because I add in both fresh and flash fried granny smith apple! I hope you like it.

 

Ingredients 

2 lbs of peeled and deveined raw shrimp (tails off)

1 lime

1/4 cup of cornstarch (give or take)

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

1 Granny Smith apple cored, peeled and chopped

Canola oil  (12 -160z bottle)

1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce

1/2 cup of mayonnaise

1-2tablespoons of sriracha hot sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)

Directions

Start out by rinsing your shrimp and coating with the juice of 1 fresh lime. In a bowl mix your salt,pepper and corn starch. Add in your shrimp and chopped apple into the cornstarch mixture and mix making sure each piece is fully coated (get rid of any excess cornstarch). Heat your canola oil in a pot on med high- high (canola oil is a high heat oil perfect for frying). When the oil is hot carefully put the apples and shrimp into the oil and fry for 3-4 mins until shrimp is pink and golden brown. Place the shrimp on a paper towel coated plate to get rid of any excess oil.

To make the sauce you simply combine the mayo,sweet chili sauce and sriracha in a bowl.

Add in the shrimp and mix until the shrimp is completely coated in the sauce. you can garnish with fresh apples to add a little bite and chopped scallions, if you’d like.  This would be great as the filler for a lettuce wrap as well!

Perfect appetizer!!!! Enjoy!

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Easy Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

This is a super quick and easy appetizer! It’s delicious. You can eat them as is or serve them on a delicious arugula salad. I would pair these shrimp with candied walnuts, blue cheese, and fresh oranges (if in season FIGS would be beyond delicious). A little lemon vinaigrette over top of the salad and you are good to go. A meal in itself! 

Alright… here we go! 

Ingredients: 

BACON 

SHRIMP (peeled deviated, tail on) 

APRICOT PRESERVES 

SALT & BLACK PEPPER (to taste)

Directions: 

Take your shrimp, wrap each one with half a piece of your favorite breakfast bacon. Place them on a baking tray and coat each wrapped shrimp with a bit of the preserves. Sprinkle with black pepper and salt  and bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 mins or until the bacon has crisped. ENJOY! 

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Riley’s Dinner!

Riley is now 9 months and exploring the wonderful world of food! We started her on solids when she was about 6 months old because she had more than doubled her birth weight and was simply ready to start. Starting solids with your baby truly depends on when you but most importantly your child is ready to start, they’ll definitely let you know in some sort of way. We started out slow with oatmeal cereal and worked our way into the “easy to digest” veggies like squash, sweet potato, peas and apples. Now at nine months we are exploring all types of healthy recipes and she is loving every meal.

Recently, I’ve been setting aside a small amount of whatever veggies and protein we are eating for dinner and making Riley a small serving of her own variation of our meal. I think this is a great way to introduce your baby to new foods and yummy combinations. We had lamb pasta the other night for dinner and this was the “pasta free” version I made for Riley to enjoy. Hope your kiddies love it as much as she does!

Lamb and Veggies! (makes 2 servings)

3 tablespoons ground lamb

organic cherry tomatoes (Halved)

a teaspoon of freshly chopped organic basil

handful of spinach

Grated Gruyère cheese (optional)

First and foremost WASH YOUR VEGGIES! Regardless of if they are organic or not, it is so important to wash your fruits and vegetables to ensure the best for you and your family. I opt for Honest Fruit & Veggie wash when I’m making a meal for my family. I’ll include a link below if you want to check it out :).

Cook the ground lamb in a small skillet on medium heat for about 3 mins. Lamb has a lot of natural fat so you do not need to add any sort of oil to the pan. Add in the tomatoes and cook until mashable. Lastly add in your spinach and basil.  Depending on your preference you can serve as is or chop it up a bit more in your blender. Riley is at an age where cheese is an option so I love adding a little Gruyère to this dish for her!  I let it cool and place it on her high chair tray so she can feed herself, she loves it! Enjoy!

Honest.com is your trusted source for non-toxic, high-performing, eco-friendly, and stylish products for your family.

(Try the Fruit & Veggie wash and let me know what you think! I love it.)

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