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Thursday, March 22, 2012

guest blogging with melapalooza

I am super excited today that I get to share a post from a dear friend I went to college with. This pretty mama is beyond ridiculously fun but she is also a total sweetheart. Melissa is kind enough to write for me today and share some fabulousness from her world. Below she shares a cocktail and a mouthwatering cooking recipes with all of us and what better time then right now when we are all basking in this amazing weather in the North East! Keep in mind Melissa lives in beautiful sunny Florida so this lucky lady has good weather 24/7  (grrrr) . "M" as we used to to call this super sweet friend has the most adorable family (see photo below) full time job and keeps her self in crazy good shape - this girl knows what she is doing and lives a wonderfully happy life doing her thang...Check out the fun recipes below & enjoy! - xo dns
Refreshing Spring, Refreshing Drink

The sun is shining, your spirit is lifted, and springtime is here!  You’re searching for something to drink that reflects your mood ~ fun, light and refreshing! I needed a last minute idea for my darling Mother’s birthday.  She decided, at the end of the prior day, to take her birthday off from work, so I thought, what better way to celebrate than with her two grand kids and daughter by the pool with brunch!  Here in Florida the weather is a little warmer than “Spring” weather but I came across the perfect Champagne Sangria recipe for the occasion.  It’s light and crisp, bright and delish! 

I found this on Food Network, compliments of Giada…..ahhhh I love that girl!  And you’ll love this drink!  Champagne is always fun!  Add in a little orange juice, simple syrup, lemon, lime, strawberries and mint and you’ll have the perfect blend of springtime dancing on your taste buds.  It will certainly mirror your bright mood.   

  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Prosecco or French Champagne, chilled
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups Mint Simple Syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 lemon, zested and thinly sliced (I personally skipped the “zesting”)
  • 1 lime, zested and thinly sliced (again, skipped the “zesting”)
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 5 fresh mint sprigs
  • Crushed ice
In a large pitcher, combine the Prosecco, orange juice, Mint Simple Syrup, lemon zest, and lime zest. Add the sliced strawberries, lemon slices, lime slices, and mint sprigs.
Fill glasses with crushed ice and pour the sangria over the top. Serve immediately.
Mint Simple Syrup:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and mint over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for 20 minutes. Strain before using.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

I paired this quenching drink with a roasted turkey sandwich (carving board thick sliced turkey – no messing around!) on garlic bread with fresh avocado, lettuce and provolone cheese – grilled on my Panini pan of course.

With us not quite being into bikini season yet, I threw a generous portion of pre-made shrimp scampi pasta on the side.  I’m not typically one for bagged pasta (definitely not healthy for you) but again, last minute, and about once a year I seem to think it’s a good idea.  Fresh ingredients are ALWAYS better and so very simple.  For a delish shrimp scampi recipe to use as a substitute keep reading...

This was passed to me by my cousin years ago when we first started playing around with our cooking skills in my bottom floor, basement apartment, just outside of Boston (really living the high life I know).  It’s easy, quick and you know what you’re putting into it – I would definitely recommend it over pre-made any day. 

  • 1  stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • 6 cloves – chopped garlic ( ½  for butter sauce ½ for pasta once cooked)
  • White wine
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • ½  lb. box of pasta (I typically use linguini and a healthier substitution would be the wheat pasta)
  • 1 lb. of shrimp
Consider a ½ lb of shrimp per person and ½ box of pasta (if making this for a side you can minimize the amounts). 

Prior to cooking:  peel (cutting tails off), devein and clean shrimp then store in the fridge in a zip lock bag or closed container until ready to use (no longer than a day – eeeewww stinky). 
In saucepan sauté garlic, butter, lemon juice, parsley, and oregano until garlic softens. 
Place shrimp in pan so that they are touching, and poor mix from saucepan over shrimp leaving about 3 tablespoons in saucepan (I would spoon it over the shrimp, don’t actually poor it). 
Take ½ cup of the bread crumbs and mix with the leftover ingredients.  Sprinkle over shrimp.  Drizzle wine over shrimp.
Cook shrimp for about 10 minutes @450 (you want them to be pink and “C”-shaped – NOT “O” shaped – “O” means over done!)

For Pasta:
After you’ve cooked the pasta and drained it, add remaining chopped garlic (about 3 cloves), a few tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter all into the pasta pan.  Sprinkle in some basil and toss with tongs.  Plate some pasta and spoon the shrimp over the top of the pasta.  Ready to serve!

*If you’re the “throw in a little of this and a little of that” type of chef, like myself – throw in some of your favorite veggies to brighten up the dish...Enjoy! XO M
Check out M & her adorable family!
(pains me to feature a Red Sox photo on here but since they are originally from New England I couldn't protest the cuteness of this photo)



  1. What a great meal. Looks delicious. Have a great weekend :)

    1. Thanks for reading it - I am so trying that sangria this weekend - have a great weekend as well!


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