4th of July Spanish Style: Sangria

Some people want to be known for the stellar potato salad they bring to the party. Other the recipe guarded pie passed down generation to generation. I want to be known for my sangria.

I first had sangria last summer and was blown away. How had I not known of this delicious wine punch that has fruit floating around that gets you more drunk than the wine? So when I needed a girly slumber party last week, we didn’t resort to juice boxes of our yester years. Instead, I put together a big-ass-bowl of my favorite antioxidant rich drink *wink, wink*

I’m all for good wine, but I love the fact that pretty much every sangria recipe calls for cheap wine. Hello sweet merriment, see you soon slightly worse than usual hangover. However, the payoff is the fun night you’ve had with friends, because I don’t think anyone can get angry over a bowl on sangria! Watermelon vodka is a whole ‘nother ball game.

The good thing about sangria is there is lots of wiggle room for creativity.  Think of the fruits you want swimming around in the bowl. People traditionally slice up some apples and oranges. First off: I don’t have time to slice and dice apples and oranges. Second: I absolutely hate suck-chewing on an orange slice, so I wasn’t going to subject my guests to such savagery and possible dribbleage, so I went with fresh strawberries (which are much easier to cut uniformly) and frozen peaches. Grab your punch bowl (I got mine at Goodwill along with a million little punch cups for $4.99—sadly no discount anymore)  and start layering in the fruit. Next, grab the wine and slowly pour it in, taking care not to slosh everything. Sangria isn’t just wine and fruit. You actually need to spike it with a little bit of brandy  (I learned this the embarrassing way when my mom balked at the hard-liqourless sangria I had been drinking last summer.) Since I’m not a huge brandy drinker, I saw no point in buying a bottle, so I went with some nips (the little ones you would get on an airplane.) Then add in ½ a cup (depending on how much wine you use…eyeball it) of a soda like Sprite or Seven UP, 2 spoonfuls of sugar, and mix around. I didn’t make it ahead of time, but ideally you should let the sangria sit for awhile, which makes for some potent fruit. However, I also heard that you shouldn’t let the citrus sit for long because it can leave a bitter flavor (all the more reason to go the berry route.)

Only the finest

The fridge only kind of smelled like a winery

One thing to think about with sangria is transportation. In case you don’t know, liquid is, like, really heavy. Really, really heavy. I cannot stress it enough. That seemingly innocent punch bowl was a workout in disguise. Even if your friend lives only a block away, you probably will have to stop every few feet to give your arms a rest. And being driven with a bowl on your lap will lead even the staunchest atheist to start praying to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So plan ahead to ensure a potent brew and stain-free clothes. My first batch didn’t kill anyone, and I’m excited to improve over time!

On the East Coast it still isn’t noon, so why not run out to the store, grab yourself a jug of wine, and make a last minute batch for this evening’s festivities?! It’s not as patriotic as Bud Light, but I personally think it gets the job done a lot better.

Peel Away (and be safe) ❤

Jocellyn

Things Every Gal Should Know How to Do- #419 Cook a Steak

Why leave all the fun cooking to the men. Why should they be the only gender schmoozing around the grill with a beer (or gluten-free friendly cider)? Ladies, it’s time to throw on our best outfits, let out a fierce belch, and show those men that we can be pretty and hard core. Let’s show those men we mean business!

Haha, okay. Silliness aside, a chick should know how to grill a steak. Don’t seize up; it’s just a bigger, thicker piece of meat. I admit I’ve only cooked steak twice, so I’m sure as hell not preparing to enter some down south BBQ competition, but I haven’t killed Chris or myself.

Through some heavy google-vestigation (honestly, Google, I rep you guys SO much you should be paying me!) it seems the most important thing to cooking a steak is to only flip it once. If the cut is thick just leave it alone for a few minutes. Update your e-mails; bang out a few pushups; ponder another glass of wine; flip; repeat. Don’t mess with it until you’re ready to commit!

On the topic of wine, check out this fancy bottle I got. The Burlington Wine Shop has become my new favorite destination. Not only do they have mini-tastings every Saturday (a perfect way for newbie wine-os to try out something besides, dare I say, Franzia and Barefoot*), but the wines range from 100% college affordable— $7.99 anyone?—to wealthy sugar-daddy style; Yeah, there is a $500+ mega bottle down there. Something tells me regular wine opener would not work. I really enjoyed this wine. It was initially $17.99 but on sale for $10.99. Even better, the store was having a FB 20% off promo. Not a bad steal, baby, not a bad steal!  I know nothing of this whole swirl, stir, and spit deal of wine connoisseurship, so in regular man speak I will say I could detect some coffee-esque undertones. Although I don’t encourage getting extremely plastered cooking, a few sips here and there really lightens the mood!

What I think I look like drinking wine in the kitchen

What it is actually like. Messy stove. Not enough counter space. Classy.

Okay, back to the meat:

As you can see, I like my steak a little bloody. Or, as my mom says, “I like my cow still mooing.” I used to be a well-done sort of girl, but I learned that the blood gives the beef a little bit of flavor. Go out and grab a meat thermometer if you want to ensure your steak is where you want it before slicing in.

Now, here’s where we get a tad bit healthier. We all know the term meat and potatoes, right? Well, it doesn’t mean you have to go all heavy cream and butter on your potatoes, which is totally fine for special occasions, but a little much on the regs. How about trying your hand at some baked yam fries? They are a great complex carb with minimal calories and lots of fiber. They are also full of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and many more (source)! Check out this rather hilarious how-to on how to make some stellar, baked yam fries.

Summer is upon us, so start practicing your skills so when you are out you can impress a few people!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Ps: If you don’t have backyard to grill in (or a grill, for that matter) check it this awesome grill pan I have! Bed Bath and Beyond carries it, so watch out for those 20% savings coupons they’re always mailing out.

* Guilty as charged!