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Welcome Home Spring! By Lindsay


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Living in Florida allows us to celebrate Spring early and enjoy the outdoors to its fullest before the heat sends us back indoors. I took advantage of the weather today before another “cold front” sets in and planned a lunch menu over my morning coffee. I ran to the store to collect my ingredients and since my genius planning was last minute I begged my Mom to join me, who was an easy sell because I knew she’d say yes to sipping a cocktail while I cooked her lunch. 

Knowing I only had one guest, I picked a quick, light and fruity cocktail so I wouldn’t be the Mixologist and Chef. I chose the Champagne Lime Cooler from Capture the Coast; she never knew all I did was dump everything in a pitcher. It was delicious! I then lead her outside to enjoy the weather with her grand-pups.

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When I was searching for recipes, I scoured all five Junior League cookbooks I own.  I wrote down every item’s book and page number I was interested in creating and in a weird coincidence, all three I decided on came out of Savor the Seasons. Everything I made was so easy. My timing was somehow impeccable and everything flowed smoothly (completely unplanned). I surprisingly had a nice portion of the ingredients at home before I hit the store. A trick I always use when cooking multiple items is choosing a menu that shares similar ingredients.  I do this to cut down on the cost of groceries and do without half-cut food chillin’ in the fridge and then, feeling guilty for throwing it away a week later. I cut all of these recipes in half since there were only two of us, sans the cocktail, but we still could have fed 4-6 people. I started with the Toasted Brie Chicken Tea Sandwiches because chicken salad is a go-to lunch staple from our southern roots.

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When bread is involved in a menu, I know I can survive on finger foods… I tried the Hot Shrimp and Avocado along with the Crab and Brie Dip with Artichokes with whole wheat crackers. The ingredients I shared between these items were the onion, mayonnaise and brie; about a $10.00 savings. The dip asked for a sweet onion but I borrowed half of the regular white onion used for the shrimp dish since I was cutting the recipe in half.

We became stuffed quite quickly with our bellies full of champagne but enjoyed every bite. The leftovers worked out perfectly because I had snacks to peruse while watching TV Sunday evening! Now that I have a list of recipes I didn’t choose for today, I’m well planned ahead for the next nice sunny Tampa day!

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All of the recipes in this blog can be found in The Junior League of Tampa’s Cookbook Collection, available for sale at http://www.jltampa.org/cookbooks.

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