life · recipes

Party Time, Excellent: Oscars 2017

Each year the nominations for the Academy Awards are announced, and each year I have only seen, like, one of the films. Not this year, my friends. This year I have seen five of the films nominated for Best Film (La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Lion, Arrival, and Hidden Figures), as well as three of the films nominated for Best Animated Film (Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, and Zootopia), plus a couple other miscellaneous films (Doctor Strange, Star Trek Beyond). And I’m hoping I can squeeze in a couple more before February 26th.

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Homemade Maki Sushi Rolls


Hi, my name is Melissa, and I’m addicted to sushi.

Sushi is so. freakin’. delicious My favorites are avocado rolls and sake (salmon) sashimi or nigiri, served with a touch of wasabi. And practically anything with jalapeño or spicy mayo.

Mayonnaise mixed with sriracha… who thought that up? Somebody give them a medal.

Unfortunately, sushi can be expensive. Especially if you’re like me and you like to order the $15 specialty rolls. Even my favorite avocado roll can cost $5, and I’d probably be broke if I ate sushi as often as I wanted. Making sushi at home seems intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy and less expensive. Plus, you can customize the ingredients to your liking.

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Blackened Jalapeño and Avocado Sauce

Roasted spiralized sweet potato, black beans, a Trader Joe’s salmon burger, topped with my blackened jalapeno and avocado sauce and a sprinkle of feta cheese.

It’s the beginning of the new year and, like a lot of people, I have a couple resolutions related to my health.

One of my resolutions is (surprise!) to exercise more. A few years ago I was really into running. I participated in a local running group and trained with them for my first 5k, then 10k, then half marathon. Continue reading “Blackened Jalapeño and Avocado Sauce”


Croissant French Toast Casserole


Raise your hand if you love brunch! And there are so many things to love about brunch… savory egg dishes, sweet baked goods, fried or roasted potatoes, and mimosas. Can’t forget mimosas.

My mom relinquished holiday-hosting duties the year Chris and I bought our first house. I already loved to cook, so I thought it would be easy to host. I picked out all the recipes I wanted to try, and imagined all the delicious food we would eat. I went overboard, declined help from others, and quickly realized how stressful hosting can be. Trying to make all those dishes from scratch left me completely frazzled. I would be stressed and exhausted before the party even started! My advice is to simplify your menu and make as much as you can ahead of time. One dish that fits the bill is this Croissant French Toast Casserole.

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Champagne Floats


Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve. We certainly did!

This year, we hosted a party at our house. We brought out the NERF guns and Nintendo 64, did Café Olé shots ( 1/2 Rumchata and 1/2 Patron XO), and noshed on tons of delicious homemade food. Some of the highlights included sushi, spinach and artichoke dip, pulled pork sandwiches, nachos, and cupcakes with cookie butter frosting. Lots of indulging before our 2017 diets begin!

Chris and I tend to go a little overboard when buying drinks for parties. We like to try new flavors and create interesting cocktails. But this year I wanted to keep it simple, so we bought lots of soda for our guests to mix with their liquor of choice, as well as Patron XO and Rumchata, some beer, and lots of champagne.

Champagne makes everything feel a little more special. But I also like variety, and sipping on straight champagne all night wasn’t going to do it for me. Enter sherbert.

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