LIBBY LIVING COLORFULLY

Food

That Super Easy Braided Crust Quiche Recipe

FoodLibby RasmussenComment
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I recently teamed up with Campbell's soup to post one of my favorite recipes on Instagram. Growing up in the Midwest, it's actually more difficult to find a recipe that like, DOESN'T have condensed soup somewhere in it. Hellllllooooo Casserole Country.  My Mother didn't really make many traditional dishes like that but she is KNOWN, and I mean, known for her quiche.  

Feeling a little nostalgic today. Growing up, my parents always made a big deal over breakfasts. Very midwestern, I know. Each item we had could be a meal on its own. I’m serious. A typical Rasmussen breakfast could include the following: 2-3 different kinds of quiche, a homemade fruit smoothie, Nueske's pepper bacon (with additional pepper added to it, thanks Dad), fruit and granola (in addition to the smoothies) cinnamon rolls or a Danish Kringle, toast and/or English muffins, orange juice, pomegranate juice, and milk (always.) Important: we only had 4 people in our household. Anyway, the desire to replicate the beautiful breakfasts I remember as a kid is still strong. It’s a big reason why I periodically try to take time in the morning to treat myself to a nice meal. This morning I whipped up a quiche using cream of chicken soup for moisture. Hear me out, and if you’re from the Midwest, you know that Campbell's a key ingredient in many recipes but I still think it’s one of the best ways to add great texture and moisture to egg dishes. Sometimes, you just can’t replace what makes a meal feel like home, even in dishes you give your own modern twist on. #breakfastquiche #eggbake #notyourmotherssoup #giftedbyMavrck, #sponsored #CampbellsSoup *While this post was done in collaboration, I stand by my recipe and regularly use Campbell’s soup when I make it. #YUM #braidedcrust #piecrust #edibledc

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INGREDIENTS 

  •  2 Sheets of store-bought pie crust (kinda sorry)
  •  4 eggs
  •  1 can of Campbell’s condensed soup (I used cream of chicken)
  •  ½ cup milk or water
  • Asparagus chopped
  • Onion chopped
  • Turkey or regular bacon
  •  ½ or 1 cup Cheddar Cheese
  • Chives to and an extra egg to top
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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) 
  2. Lay down a layer of pie crust for the base. Don't worry, this part doesn't need perfection
  3. Take the other crust and roll a little flatter. Use a pizza cutter to make 1/2 strips. 
  4. Braid the stripes carefully (see video below) 
  1. I like to pre-bake my crust first for 5 or so minutes so it's extra crispy 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and milk until frothy, stir in soup until well combined.
  3. Arrange half of your cheese, meat, and veggies in the bottom of the pie shell.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into pie shell until ¾ full then add remaining cheese, meat, and veggies.
  5. Transfer to the middle rack of preheated oven. When quiche is on oven rack pour in remaining egg mixture to top of crust. I like to crack an extra egg on the top for looks. 
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving **THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART** 
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Did you grow up in the Midwest? Or have a favorite breakfast recipe?

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Why I’m doing W30 Again, With a Twist

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Before you get defensive (I know you W30 people out there will, understandably) know that I have done Whole30 three times before and obeyed by (most) of the rules. Read my Whole30 roundup here!

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It’s been a long winter, and I’ve essentially been eating whatever I want. WHICH ISN’T A BAD THING. But, I know myself, and when I eat healthier, I exercise more; I drink more water, and I take better care of myself overall, and vice-versa.  

So I’m doing things a little differently this month, I’m going to do Whole30 until 6 pm each day.  Why? Well, I once read a book called, VB6” by Mark Bittman, about eating vegan before 6 PM.  It was a way for him to restore his health throughout the day, and enjoy that steak dinner or dessert from time to time in the evening. 

Why am I doing this with Whole30?  Because I LOVED the way I felt when I did W30. My skin was clear, on not just on my face, but my entire body.  I was hydrated and just felt lighter.  I know that’s an overused term when people are vegan or do W30, but it’s true.  Even after one day of doing Whole30 before 6, or we can just shorten it to, “W30B6”  (looks like a chemical compound to me) I feel so much better.

 My W30 staple, roasted cauliflower coconut turmeric soup (recipe)

My W30 staple, roasted cauliflower coconut turmeric soup (recipe)

This is because most of my unhealthy eating happens during the day.  I know, not really the typical move for most.  I’m a BIG breakfast gal and snack quite a bit and work.  But the snacks aren’t the veggies and fruits that I should be noshing on.  Hellllllooo Sun Chips. Yikes.

So I’m going to change that for the next month, with the hopes that it sticks through the summer and maybe into fall. Whole foods throughout the day and then, if I’m at a happy hour or having dinner with friends, I’ll allow myself to stray with the reminder not to go overboard.

We could all use the reminders, so here’s a list of goals and intentions for the month:

  • Water Water Water
  • Leafier greens - helllloooo Sweetgreen
  • Take the time to make breakfast at home
  • Cut ALL the sugar
  • Collagen Peptides daily
  • Healthier meat alternatives - like Jackfruit
  • Vitamin D daily
  • Alllll the pasture-raised eggs
  • Bike to or from work
  • Smile lots

What do you think about Whole30 or eating Vegan Before 6? 

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What is Whole30 and Why Did I Do It?

Food, How ToLibby RasmussenComment
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I love food. Period.  I feel very fortunate to have a healthy relationship with it. I don't have any food allergies, disordered eating habits, or even any real aversions to any kind of food.  There isn't a food item I won't try or likely, enjoy.  I do however, love a good challenge, especially when it comes to changing the way I think about what I'm putting in my body.  

Enter Whole30.  What started as a personal challenge to go "Sugar-Free For a Week" turned into a decision to try it out for a month.  So, let's talk about it, because a lot of people have some seeeeerious opinions about "diets" or "eating habits" without really listening to the person who is trying it out.  

What is Whole30?

According to Whole30.com, Whole30 (we'll call it W30 from now on) is a way to change the way you think and eat for 30 days.  "Think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system."  What could be wrong with that?  The W30 theory is that many food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.

Again, I don't have any stomach issues, I sleep like a baby each night, and don't have any food allergies.  I do, however, tend to get a little off-balance from time to time and am easily convinced (by myself) that what I'm eating, seemingly healthy, or not, isn't thaaaat bad for me. 

So I like to reset - which for me, is what Whole30 does. It puts things back into perspective for me and challenges me to think more.  Am I reading the labels? Are the foods I'm eating truly, "whole"? Or are there 13+ ingredients on the label, half of which I can't pronounce? Am I drinking that coffee because I love the taste of the coffee? No, it's because I want the cream and sugar.  When I do W30, I basically decide to take the plunge, and push the “reset” button with my metabolism and take a hard look at the food choices I made in the past and what I plan on doing with them in the future. 

Okay, So What Do I Eat on W30?

Probably the first question I get when I tell people that I'm cutting out sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes for 30 days is, "Okay, well what CAN you eat then?" and my answer, well, a lot of things actually. Rather than think about the foods I CANT have, I try to think of W30 as a way to eat more fruits, vegetables, seafood, with the occasional red meat and a lot of eggs.  HERE is my favorite Whole 30 Trader Joe's Grocery list and HERE is my favorite Whole Foods W30 compliant list. 

If I had to break down my top W30 foods it would be:

1. More green veggies.. hellllllooooo Sweetgreen salads
2. Pasture Raised Eggs (see here why I only eat these kind)
3. Clementines & other citrus fruits
4. Plantain chips
5. RXBars (here's their Whole30 pack)
6. Avocados 

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...And What Can't You Eat

Straight from the experts at Whole30.com here is the official list of no no's. "Omitting all of these foods and beverages 100% for 30 days will help you eliminate cravings, restore a healthy metabolism, heal the digestive tract, reduce systemic inflammation, and discover how these foods are truly impacting how you look, how you feel, and your quality of life."

  • Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30, and will compromise your life-changing results.  These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it is made with coconut flour.
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What Makes W30 So Hard?

HUMMUS guys.  I missed it so much.  Probably of all the foods, not having legumes when cooking for myself is a particular challenge.  As someone who doesn't really drink soda (unless I'm getting fast food) or is a habitual coffee drinker (other than Colada Shop) cutting out the sugar wasn't really that hard.  One exception though, I LOVE LOVE LOVE condiments and sauces and guess what, pretty much every condiment has sugar in it.  Ketchup, Sriracha, Ranch, BBQ sauce, Honey mustard, tartar sauce, they all have sugar.  

My affinity for hummus and sauces aside, eating out tends to be a bit of a challenge.  If you're planning on going on a trip to Europe or long trip back home, don't do Whole30. Unless you really have the determination, it would just be far too hard.  This is why a lot of people choose to do W30 in January.  It can be a great way to kick off the new year, and rid your body of the holiday weight and poor decisions you may have made in the early winter months. Plus, many choose to participate in Dry January which leads me to the next topic of W30, alcohol...

So What About Alcohol? 

This is where I chose to "opt-out" and no it has nothing to do with needing alcohol. I've gone weeks and months at a time without drinking alcohol and take no issue with cutting it out.  However, I did my second round of Whole30 in July and much of my social life revolves around eating and drinking. So when I'm needing to be cautious about my food choices, simply opting out of alcohol didn't feel like something I wanted to do.  Did I avoid mixed drinks? Yes, if I could help it.  My intent was to have mostly clear, low sugar alcohols like vodka and gin.  If I was a guest at an event where wine is served or a mixed drink is prepared for me, I wasn't necessarily going to turn it down. Overall, I did make an effort though to consume less alcohol during W30.  

Why less? Well we all know what happens when we drink, and I know it's not just me here, we make poor choices, especially when it comes to food.  What has been a great personal "challenge" of having alcohol while on W30 is coming home from an event or a bar and making the decision to pass on the pizza or Chinese food and go straight for the cold bowl of watermelon in the fridge or dried (sugar-free) mango. The next day I wake up feeling guilt-free and refreshed.

If you do decide to consume alcohol during W30, be prepared to get a little heat from the W30 pros, and (somewhat) rightfully so.  They are doing it 100% and you're not.  But, I think I'll keep my sanity and social life! #chinchin #thanks

Did I Lose Any Weight?

Of course I did. Do you even know how much gluten I eat on a regular basis? (Hint: I was on Buzzfeed for it lol.)  So yes, I lost a few lbs' and this was pretty noticeable by week 2. I looked and felt lighter, my clothes fit better and yes, my skin was great too.  Strangely enough, my fingernails grew a lot.  I'm a fidgety nail-biter, and I didn't find myself doing that while on W30 for some reason.  This was also the case a few years ago when I went vegan for a few months, but we'll talk about that some other time...

Girl kneels at the altar of gluten @libby_livingcolorfully #girlswithgluten

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Will I Do It Again?

Easy answer. 100% yes.  I'm not particularly sure when, but definitely in the near future.  I've also considered doing small stints, like a Whole15 or 20. Just going long enough to feel refreshed and cleansed. Next year I will probably partake in Dry January along with my W30 just for kicks.


Have any of you done Whole 30 before? What did you like? What didn't you like? Will you do it again? 

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Photography by: Kara Schab of Right Foot Creative 

How To: Make a No-Brainer Cocktail

Food, How To, EntertainingLibby RasmussenComment

So in spite my bar cart being one of my favorite pieces of furniture in my home, I tend to keep a pretty light stock of alcohol.  And if it's one thing I've learned about hosting, it's that your guests are rarely there when you have perfect flowers blooming, or the right cocktail garnishes and fixings.  So, enter the solution, and one-stop-wonders of the two ingredient cocktail.
Yes, two. 

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So, maybe you're like me and aren't always fully stocked up on well, the good stuff.  Here are a few tips to remember for the future when you're scrambling to put something together. Try to always have a bottle of champagne. Why? Because when you're lacking in the booze department, spritzers, Bellinis, mimosas, you name it, these. are. your. friends. More times than not, you're going to have a juice in your fridge and using it to top off your bubbles is a great option to a complicated cocktail. But, also, don't underestimate your liqueur like; St. Germain, Campari, or Aperol.  All of the above are great ways to add a little extra specialty to your cocktails. And most importantly, portable cocktails are a lifesaver. They're all great, whether it's canned wine and these cute mason jar cocktails or pictured below, Element Shrubs.  There are tons of great options that help you craft your own drinks. 

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Below, I used the Honeydew Jalapeno element shrub and a little vodka, with a hint of fresh jalapeños to whip up a quick drink for a friend! 

So What About Garnishes? 

Citrus: Every time I go to the grocery store, I try to get a bag of clementines, lemons, and limes. When in reality, I typically end up eating more of the clementines, using some of the limes, and maybe all of just one measly lemon before I have to throw the remaining out
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Jalapeños: Spicy alcohol is the best. This is a fact.  And if you don't believe me, then you're not experimenting with your alcohol enough and I encourage you to step outside your vodka soda snoozefest.  I mean, even think about how good a vodka soda would taste with a few slices of spice.  Yum.  Spicy margs, spicy mules, spicy bloodies. The list goes on and on.  Even with a fruity, bubbly bevvie, the kick adds just the right amount of interest to make your bottled-booze taste like a craft cocktail. I snagged a few of these peppers from a new friend's roof at the Apollo a few weekends ago.  He's lucky enough to have a small garden up there with a very very generous amount of jalapeños. Yum! 

On the plus side, most, but not all, of the time, I typically have plenty of garnishes when need be for cocktails. But, the greenery poses a problem. 

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Herbs: This is where I fall short, I rarely have fresh mint, basil, or rosemary sprigs in the fridge because, we all know this. They go bad so quickly! Which is really such a shame considering most herbs grow like, well, WEEDS outside.  My goal for this year is to try to keep a few herb plants in my apartment for fresh garnishes for cocktails and food dishes. Another thought, walking over to my local community garden and picking some myself... 

Edible Flowers: Obviously this is even less obtainable than having fresh herbs ready 24/7 in your fridge. But, I am encountering more and more edible floral options here in DC. Local farmers markets: DuPont, Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights even, have edible flowers for sale at their markets on Saturdays and Sundays.  Or in this case, you could pull a me and pluck some from the rooftop of your apartment.  

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And all of that other cute shit.

Stir Sticks: A few weeks ago I received these darling tropical bird wooden swizzle sticks from Shelby herself, from Shelby Dillon Studio.  They are hand carved and painted so everyone at the party knows which tropical bird represents their cocktail. So cute. 

Coasters: While the coasters pictured above were a thrift-gift, I have some coasters from The Blush Label that I love and use on the reg.  Here are some of my favorites. (use the code: Libby15 to get 15% off!) 
 

SHOP THIS POST

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Photographer: Kara Schab, Right Foot Creative 

Cinco de Weekend

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Is there really anything better than limes, salt, tacos, margs, birght colored earrings, and tassel off the shoulder tops? It's almost if someone took all of my favorite things and put them into one day. 

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What to Wear

What to Make: Hosting a little backyard fiesta? Here's an idea to spice up some of your appetizers.  Remember when I made these darling little DIY Decorative Party toothpicks for my mini chicken and waffles?  They are so easy to make and perfect for the weekend celebrations!  
Another crowd-pleaser, my jalapeño poppers recipe! More importantly, this tie-dye piñata cake: I made.

Where to Eat: If you're in the DC area, Mission Dupont will be hosting the largest party in D.C. on May 5 for Cinco de Mayo. The party starts at 11am with a special lunch menu offered featuring a mix of Mexican brunch and lunch items. I HIGHLY recommend the spicy pineapple margs. And if you're playing hooky from work, (which you should) Mission's legendary bottomless brunch option is also available- two hours of bottomless margaritas, mimosas, beer, bloodies, guacamole, salsa (+ a shot of tequila!) Guys, there will even be mariachi band.  What more fun could you need than enjoying this amazing day on the patio?

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And if you're playing hooky from work, (which you should) Mission's legendary bottomless brunch option is also available- two hours of bottomless margaritas, mimosas, beer, bloodies, guacamole, salsa (+ a shot of tequila!) Guys, there will even be mariachi band.  What more fun could you need than enjoying this amazing day on the patio?

Happy Cinco!

How To: Make an Avocado Rose

Food, How ToLibby RasmussenComment

If you follow me on Snapchat, you know I'm no stranger to topping my eggs, salads, or a piece of toast with an avocado rose.  There's also a good chance you've spotted some on Karen McLean's feed @secretsquirrelfood. They're hard to miss but are actually incredibly easy to make! Follow along for the easy steps!

1. Pick the Perfect Avocado. This can always be tricky, but when it comes to an avocado rose, you will actually want an avocado that is a little more firm.  If it's too ripe, you'll run the risk of it falling apart or having brown spots.  Really ripe avocados are great for guac, not so great for avocado roses.  Tip: A nealry ripe avocado's "belly button" if you will, will be green underneath when gently pulled off. A ripe avocado, for guacamole, will be slightly brown and will fall off easily. 

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2. Cut the avocado lengthwise and gently peel off the skin.  The perfect avocado will be firm enough to do so.  It's very important that you don't scoop the avocado out of the skin, as you would while making guacamole.  This will leave you with a dented avocado.  You need to pull the skin off piece by piece to keep the avocado smooth. Obviously, remove the pit as well. 

3. Slice Evenly Across. Lay the avocado down and begin slicing it thinly and evenly from one side to the other. Move slowly enough to make sure you aren't bringing up any pieces on the knife. 

4. Slowly Fan Avocado. Create a semi-circle by fanning the slices out.  Make sure the slices are still touching one another on the sides, but don't be afraid to really spread them out for a larger, more spiraled avocado rose. 

5. Spin into a Rose. Slowly cupping the sides, continue to gently spin the slices into a rose. Make sure it's tight enough that the outer edge of the rose stays neatly on the sides. However, you want it to look like a rose, (kinda) so keep it loose enough to keep the blossoming effect.  Tip: Use a little lemon juice to keep the rose from browning. And remember to move it with a spatula if you are plating it or placing it atop a salad, or piece of toast. Tip: It helps if your cutting board is a little damp. 

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The Only Cookie Cut-Out Recipe You'll Ever Need

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

This past year, on my 26 Before 26 List  I noted that I wanted to create a little recipe book, using the recipes from friends and family.  It's been a great way for me to connect with those who have contributed as well as keeping track of new and old favorites of mine.  Most notably, is the recipe my wonderful Mother submitted, my Grandma's Christmas Cookie Cut-Outs recipe.  I've used this recipe countless times for traditional cut-outs to Drake and Frank Ocean lyrics.  This time, I was feeling a little homesick and made Wisconsin cookies using my favorite cookie cutter

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Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
3 eggs
4 cups sifted flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer combine sugar and butter until well blended.
  2. Add eggs one egg at a time. Add vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  4. Refrigerate dough for a minimum of 4 hours.
  5. Roll out dough and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes. Cool before frosting and decorating.

Lastly, for the royal icing, I followed this helpful video from The Joy of Baking and separated the frosting into individual bowls for the different colors.  

You can shop some of the supplies here!
Happy Baking!

Fresh and Easy Thai Chicken Spring Rolls

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Fresh spring rolls, are easily one of the top ten food items I regularly crave but shockingly, had never made for myself. Until now. In fact, just a few weeks ago I tried making them for the first time and I will say, it takes a little practice.  After two or three practice rolls (which I happily ate) I finally got into the swing of things and was rolllllling through, with each roll getting better and better.  Regardless of the appearance, again, I'm still working on this, the spring rolls taste amazing. 

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Ingredients 

Basil Leaves
1/2 pound chicken breast
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch of Sesame seeds
1 tablespoon honey
Scallion
Asian rice noodles
Shredded carrot
1/2 cucumber julienned
Rice spring roll papers
 

Sriracha Chicken

1lb Organic Chicken Breast
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of sesame seeds
Coconut oil or cooking oil of choice

  1. Slice chicken in thin strips and place in a bowl. Add Sriracha, honey, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and any other seasoning of choice.  Let marinate for at least 10 minutes. 
  2. Cook chicken in coconut oil or oil of choice until ready and tender. 

Thai Peanut Chili Sauce

¼ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons of chili-garlic sauce

Instructions

Before assembling the spring rolls, make sure you have all of the ingredients prepared and ready on a cutting board separate from where you will be making your rolls.  Have a frying pan filled with lukewarm water next to you for getting the rice papers damp. 

  1. Place one rice paper in the shallow water and flip.  Do not keep in the water longer than 5 seconds or so.  The paper will continue to soften as you are preparing the rolls.  Tip: it helps if your cutting board is wooden and a little damp for the paper to roll more easily.
  2. Once on the cutting board, assemble your rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, chicken, basil, and scallions neatly in a line on the rice paper.
  3. Carefully begin working the rice paper and fillings together in a way you would roll a burrito.  Nice and tight and make sure the edges are folded in on the sides.
  4. Remember, practice makes perfect.  It took me about 3 rolls to get it just right. And the rejects still taste just as good!
 Source:  Take a Bite

Source: Take a Bite

A few weeks prior, I explored with Shrimp Spring Rolls with more fun ingredients!  Really with spring rolls, the opportunities are endless. Make sure to check out my friend Annie from Take a Bite.  She made Chrissy Teigen’s Summer Shrimp Spring Rolls recipe the other night and they looked amazing! 

What ingredients do you like in your spring rolls? 

Mac and Cheez-It Muffin Bites

Food, DIYLibby RasmussenComment

While I’m not too thrilled about the first few days of September starting off on a rainy note, (summer’s not over, summer’s not over) I am admittedly excited for warm, fall food. Any excuse to basically eat like sh*t is good enough for me.  Enter boxed Mac & Cheese.  (Guys I swear I eat veggies too.) The opportunities to make this 88-cent food item absolutely irresistible are endless.  Make sure to check out my friend Lauren Durden’s article in Cosmo, “5 Hacks to Make Boxed Mac and Cheese Taste Gourmet” YAS.  I’m always a big fan of easy apps and thought, hey, why not combine mac and cheese with well, everyone’s favorite cracker, the Cheez-It.  Here’s my recipe on how to make these bad boys at home. 

Ingredients

2 Boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Wisconsin recommended)
1/2 Stick of Butter
Cayenne Pepper for added spice
1/2 Cup of Crushed Cheez-Its
Scallions
Ranch, BBQ or any topping of choice

Instructions

  1. Make mac and cheese as directed on the box, adding cayenne and shredded cheese
  2. Crush Cheez-Its in a ziplock baggie and preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Grease muffin pan well and sprinkle the bottoms with Cheez-It crumble
  4. Add mac and cheese to muffin pan and sprinkle with Cheez-it crumble and top with additional cheese
  5. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Let the muffins sit for 5 minutes after to let set.
  6. Pop out gently with a fork, add your toppings and serve warm

The results of the Mac & Cheez It muffin bites were quite a success.  They’re a great idea for a fall BBQ or football game.  

Always a fan on condiments and toppings, I took a little creative liberty and added a drizzle here and there of Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.  Don’t forget the green onion! Some other ideas for toppings could include: bacon, pancetta, crushed red pepper, jalapeños, bleu cheese, hot sauce, you name it.  

Make sure to follow me on Snapchat and Instagram for more food pics!  

Photography: Libby Rasmussen

Savoring Summer with RIS Popsicle Brunch

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Frank Ocean wasn't kidding when he recently sang "Summer's not at long as it used to be" on his new album Blonde (which you should 100% buy now.) Luckily, DC hot spots like RIS, in Foggy Bottom, are keeping it alive with their bottomless Popsicle Mimosa Brunch. 

With a watermelon mint and orange ginger pineapple, the Popsicle Mimosas flavors did not disappoint. Bonus: bottomless is only $20. 

In addition to our mimosas, we indulged in a charcuterie and cheese board that did not disappoint. Helllllo Amish eggs. 

For something sweet, we couldn't refuse the gooey cinnamon roll topped with powdered sugar and mint. 

Our favorites were definitely the salmon poke and the ceviche margarita, which I can't recommend enough. Lime marinated scallops with chillies, orange, avocado, topped with tequila ice, it's like this dish was made for me. I'll need to return ASAP to feed the cravings I'm already having for this dish. 

Overall, the brunch at RIS was fantastic, with or without the Popsicle Mimosas (but please keep this tradition around RIS, we need at least another 4 months of summer!) 
Make sure to make your reservation at RIS soon for this amazing brunch! 
RIS is located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood at 2275 L Street NW.  

Photography: Libby Rasmussen

Restaurant Review: Silver in Bethesda

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Right near the heart of Bethesda row, you'll find one of my new favorite spots, Silver.  Silver boasts "Heart of a diner, style of a brasserie" and is exactly that.  Silver sets the standard high with its upscale look yet relaxed atmosphere. The large, art-deco inspired interiors are accented with traditional chrome hardware, giving it that classic look with a clean finish.   You won't be disappointed with the menu options so I recommend getting a little of everything. The best part, you can order brunch and an old fashioned, for dinner.  The stars of the show however, are the boozy milkshakes.

We kicked off dinner with two milkshakes, a chocolate Health Bar and a boozy PB&J shake. Both delicious and are sure to cure any hunger or hangover.  While the intent was to order brunch for dinner, I couldn't resist the Ahi tuna avocado tartare topped with micro greens served with a side of savory wonton chips. Still thinking about it.

The brunch options didn't disappoint.  The Bison Huevos Rancheros was plentiful and perfect for a group or single entree. Crispy multi-grain tortillas line the bowl of chorizo hash with organic bison, farm fresh Amish eggs over easy, and topped with peppers, salsa roja, scallions, cilantro, goat cheese and avocado. 

The obvious main event was the chocolate chip banana caramel french toast doused in what tasted like cinnamon roll frosting. Prettttty amazing.  

 The ideal spot for a feel-good meal and a cure to a weekend hangover, Silver has just the right amount of options without overwhelming. Make sure to come hungry, very hungry and order a milkshake first.  You won't regret it. 

Make sure to stop by Silver soon on Bethesda Row and check out their Facebook and Instagram in the meantime! 
 

White Chocolate Confetti Peanut Butter Cups

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

I’m not sure there’s anything I love more than peanut butter cups and these homemade white chocolate cups are no exception. With just 4 ingredients, you can whip up a tasty snack for those late night savory and sweet cravings. This might be one of our easiest recipes to date. Good luck having just one…

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INGREDIENTS 

2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup Peanut Butter (any preference)
3 tablespoons honey or 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
A few pinches of salt
Confetti sprinkles (a must)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl mix peanut butter, honey or sugar, salt if using, with a fork until well combined. Refrigerate.
  2. Place mini or regular cupcake liners in a muffin tray (I used this mini tray
  3. Melt white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. (If needed: add a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil to thin out.) And pour a thin layer into each tin. Freeze for a minute or two.
  4. Scoop out small balls of peanut butter and flatten and form them to fit inside the cups leaving room at the top to cover them with chocolate.
  5. Melt the rest of the chocolate and drop 1/2 teaspoonfuls over the top of each one, smooth out and refrigerate until set. Store long-term in the refrigerator or freezer. 
  6. ENJOY!

Love white chocolate? Make sure to check out my recipe for White Chocolate Popcorn.
Just as addicting! 

Make sure to follow Libby Living Colorfully on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram 

Photography: Libby Rasmussen

Best Bites in DC By Neighborhood

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Hands down the #1 question I get asked by friends or visitors in DC is, where are the best places to eat? So here it is, the master list of my favorite DC dining spots by neighborhood. 

 

Adams Morgan

Bourbon
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Mintwood Place


Bloomingdale

Boundary Stone
Crisp Kitchen + Bar
The Pub & The People
Red Hen

Capitol Hill

Ambar
Betsy
Hanks on the Hill
Pineapple & Pearls
Roses Luxury
Sona Creamery & Wine Bar


Chinatown/Mt. Vernon

Daikaya
Honeysuckle
Kinship
Rasika
Silo


Columbia Heights

Bad Saint
El Chucho
Kangaroo Boxing Club
The Coupe
Thip Khao


DuPont

Duke’s Grocery
Komi
Little Serow
Marri Vanna
The Riggsby

H Street

Boundary Road
Dangerously Delicious Pies
Copycat Co
Maketto
Toki Underground
Sally’s Middle Name


Georgetown

Blue Duck Tavern
Chaia
Bourbon Steak
Chez Billy Sud
Fiola Mare


Logan Circle/14th Street

Barcelona
Compass Rose
Doi Moi
Estadio
Le Diplomate
Pearl Dive
Sotto


Navy Yard

Bluejacket
Due South
Justin’s Cafe
Osteria Morini


Petworth

Alfies
Chez Billy
Red Derby


Shaw

Convivial
Eat The Rich
Table
The Dabney
SUNdeVich


Dying to Try

All Purpose
Columbia Room
Drift on 7th
Metier
Tail Up Goat
Whaley’s


Where are your favorite DC spots? If you're ever stuck on where to go, make sure to check out China Riddle's Instagram and articles for The Hungry Lobbyist and Eater DC

Image via @chinareariddle

Sweet Potachos with Pomegranate Pepper Salsa

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

We had a little cook-off at the of firm today to make a traditionally unhealthy food item healthier. The food item: Nachos.  Yikes.  Considering just yesterday, I was indulging in some melty cheese covered tortilla nachos, I knew I needed to make a lighter alternative.  Luckily, just a few weeks ago, one of my favorite food bloggers, Annie from Take a Bite, made these awesome Sweet Potato Nachos or, as she fittingly calls them, "Potachos" and they are good, really really good.   

Ingredients 

3-4 Large Organic Sweet Potatoes
Olive or Coconut Oil
Pink Himalayan Salt
1/2 Yellow Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
1/2 Avocado
Jalapenos
Sliced Radish
Cilantro
Limes
Fage Greek Yogurt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Rinse and slice sweet potatoes uniformly thin, using a mandolin. 
  3. Toss slices in light olive or coconut oil, sprinkle with pink salt. Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 2 hours.  Flip and rotate after an hour. 
  4. Begin making the Pomegranate Pepper Salsa (Step 6)
  5. When golden brown, let them rest for 10 minutes in oven with door open for extra crisp.
  6. Combine diced yellow pepper, red onion, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and a lime squeeze and mix together.  For extra kick, throw in some of the jalapeno seeds and a dash of pink salt.
  7. Once chips are ready to plate, add cheese, avocado, salsa, radish and greek yogurt to top. Enjoy! 

What I love most about this recipe is the pomegranate seeds. Fruit on nachos and tacos is surprisingly good, especially with a spicy pork or chicken.  Just a few weeks ago I had some pulled pork tacos with mandarin oranges and it was amazing. 

What would you put on your Potachos?
Thanks again for the recipe idea Annie!
Oh, and we won $100 for the office cook-off too! Worth it. 

Photography: Libby Rasmussen
 

DIY: Decorative Party Food Picks

DIY, Entertaining, FoodLibby RasmussenComment

So the other day I was making these Mini Chicken and Waffle Sliders and realized that the toothpicks I was using were a little well, boring.  Then I remembered spotting some adorable ideas on Etsy.  See here here and here. With limited supplies and time, I took to my craft supply box and got started.  I seem to always have a stockpile of streamers and tissue paper in my apartment, so I decided to make these tissue paper food picks - inspired by my favorite, Studio DIY. 

Supplies

Toothpicks
Tissue paper or Streamers
Scissors
Glue

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I chose to use streamers for timing and convenience and was shocked at how good they looked. Better yet, they really were so easy.  Consider this my next sitting-on-the-couch-craft-project. Thanks Studio DIY for yet another great craft idea! 

Photography by Libby Rasmussen and Studio DIY

Mini Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Entertaining, FoodLibby RasmussenComment

If you've been searching high and wide for an easy, fun, and delicious appetizer that your friends will rave about, and I mean, will really talk about months after your party, then you need to make these mini chicken & waffle sliders.  In this recipe, we paired crispy popcorn chicken nuggets with frozen, yes frozen, mini Eggo waffles and they are a hit. 

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There you have it! This classic comfort food is transformed into easy, portable appetizers that can be tailored to anyone's specific tastes.  For my 25th birthday, I made these sliders but with Chick-fil-A nuggets. With my birthday falling on a Sunday (when CFA is closed) I made sure to pre-order and pick up the nuggets later on Saturday and popped them into the oven with the waffles the day of the party.  They were a huge hit. Make sure to have plenty of condiments and toppings on the side for your guests.  These could include, but certainly aren't limited to:

Chick-fil-A Sauce
Mayo
BBQ Sauce (Salt Lick)
Honey
Maple Syrup
Honey Mustard
Ranch
Blue Cheese
Green Onions
Hot Sauce
Sriracha
Homemade Coleslaw


Make sure to have the right serving platters and condiment dishes for a neat and organized presentation.  I love my serving ware from CB2.  Here are just few of my favorites:
 

Easy Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Can you tell I'm excited for summer? Seriously though, all I seem to be making lately are bites and meals perfect for a summer BBQ and these jalapeno cheddar corn muffins are no exception.  Forget your old, dried up cornbread recipe and try this one I've adapted from both Whole Foods and Damn Delicious

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INGREDIENTS 

2 boxes Jiffy Mix Cornbread Mix
1 box regular yellow cake mix
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon honey
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat a muffin tin with nonstick spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine corn and cake mix.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and honey. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Add jalapenos and cheese, and gently toss to combine.
  4. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Place into oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

There you have it. The secret to keeping your corn muffins soft and sweet is the yellow cake mix.  I've tried this recipe a few times sans cake mix and it really isn't the same.  Also, if you want to add some meat to these bad boys, my good friend made these fun corn dog muffins a while back and they were a huge hit. 

Photography by Libby Rasmussen and Damn Delicious

Tie-Dye Piñata Cake

FoodLibby RasmussenComment
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Those who know me well know I love nothing more than making my friends' birthday cakes. I've always felt like it was the best way to show someone how much I care about them.  These cakes have included a four-layer pink ombre cake with sugar letters, a cake lined with fresh roses, and even a hysterical confetti slang cake.  I do my best to have the cake fit the personality of its recipient and this fun and whimsical piñata cake was no exception. 

Side note: How cute is this striped Las Bayadas beach towel? I got mine for summer from Waiting On Martha's Shop.  

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While you can't tell from the photos, the inside of the cake was just as fun as the outside. For the cake batter, I made a marbled rainbow tie-dye with the colors of the cupcakes using this recipe.  Definitely doing this again, it was so much fun.  This piñata cake would be perfect for a summer bbq or a Cinco de Mayo party.  And for those wondering, the piñatas are filled with one of the following: a vintage toy, a riddle, sweets, a gem, a fortune, a temporary tattoo or a quote. They're also refillable!