LIBBY LIVING COLORFULLY

food

Colorful Cheese Board Essentials - Grocery List to Help!

DIY, Food, How ToLibby RasmussenComment
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It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at this board or preparing a cheese table, lol in this case. But, remember, it’s supposed to be fun and really, the less you over think it, the better it will turn out. SAVE or BOOKMARK this post for future grocery store reference!

  • Bell peppers

  • Blackberries

  • Grapes

  • Colorful radish from Each Peach Market

  • Nuts

  • Pita chips

  • Persian cucumbers

  • Romanesco or purple cauliflower

  • Raspberries

  • Fresh figs

  • Strawberries

  • Kiwi

  • Soft boiled eggs with mayo & Gordy’s Pickles

  • Dried lemons, oranges, persimmons, dates apricots (all from Trader Joe’s)

  • Honeycomb from Savannah Bee Company

  • Edible flowers from Wild Little Things

  • Hummus topped with olive oil and herbs

  • Olives & peppers

  • Crackers

    Honestly, you can’t go wrong with anything you put on here! Also, I started doing these boards for HIRE! email me at libbylivingcolorfully@gmail.com for your next party at home, the office, or anywhere!

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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. 

Make sure to follow me on FacebookPinterestTwitter,  & Instagram!
 

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

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
 

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

Simple Jalapeño Poppers Recipe

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Jalapeño poppers are great for essentially any occasion. Whether it's the for the Superbowl or a summer barbecue, they always seem to be a party hit.  Unfortunately, with all of the bacon and fried oil they can be a little labor intensive, and lets be honest, heavy.  I wanted to steer away from all the muss and fuss and come up with a lighter, more fresh version of the classic popper. Check out the recipe below! 

Ingredients

10 jalapeño chiles
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 scallions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise, leaving the stems in tact and removing the seeds and ribs.
  3.  Mix both of the cheeses, cream cheese, scallions cilantro, panko, egg yolk, lime juice,  and cumin, together in bowl until thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide the cheese mixture among jalapeños, pressing into the peppers.
  5. Bake jalapeños until tender and filling is lightly browned, 9 to 14 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
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Photos: Libby Living Colorfully

Photos: Libby Living Colorfully

If you like your poppers a little softer, prior to filling, heat oven to 500 degrees, salt peppers and face down on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Flip the peppers upright and cook for 4 minutes. This will char the peppers nicely, making them softer, and more mouth-melting later on with the cheese.

Source: Yahoo Food  

Source: Yahoo Food  

Because I wanted my peppers to be a lighter option, I chose to keep them fresh for a slight crunch once cooked. Completely up to you! Finish off the poppers with additional toppings like hot sauce, blue cheese, bacon, or honey for extra flavor.