Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: LOW CARB BRUNCH


I only make breakfast on the weekends because there is just no time during the week as a working, single mom. So when I do make it, I like to make something special! One Sunday morning I made cream cheese pancakes with whipped cream on top, bacon and scrambled eggs. My daughter did a happy dance when she saw the plate:) Here are the details: 

 

PALEO BACON

I saw this Paleo Bacon at Whole Foods and despite the high price ($9.99) I decided to buy it and give it a try. It has no added sugar or nitrates and humanely raised pigs. I baked it at 425 for about 20 minutes until crispy because there is nothing I hate more than floppy bacon! 

The bacon tasted great! Would I be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test?! No. But I always try to buy the best possible ingredients and respect what I put in my body so I will definitely buy it again. 

This bacon only has a few ingredients: pork, sea salt, and spices (black pepper, fenugreek, nutmeg, white pepper, mace and allspice) and is free of allergens. A lot of people don't realize that most bacon is cured in sugar, which is why this bacon is ideal for my low carb lifestyle. 

 

SCRAMBLED EGGS

I need to get cute skillets to match my pots! 

I love scrambled eggs, I make them a few different ways but this is my favorite right now. This is enough for 2 people and I usually have a little left over which I will reheat into a breakfast on the go or something. Some people seem to be super weirded out by reheated scrambled eggs, but I'm not! 

  • 6 cage-free brown eggs from Whole Foods
  • Pink Himalayan Salt and pepper
  • 2 TBSP of organic HWC
  • TBSP or so of parsley 

I whisked it all together, put a big tab of Kerrygold grass fed butter (I always use salted) in the skillet and then poured in the egg mixture. I cook them over medium and stir the eggs quite a bit. Then when the eggs are almost done I mix in a little more dairy goodness:) 

  • 2 big spoonfuls of sour cream
  • 1/2 a cup or so of shredded cheese

Then I turn the heat to low and mix them up and let the eggs a little longer. I prefer doing it this way versus adding the cheese and sour cream earlier in the cooking process. Then I add a little more Pink salt and pepper at the end and garnish with a little more parsley. One thing I learned from a year or so of Blue Apron is that Garnish makes everything look professional:) 

 

CREAM CHEESE PANCAKES

Cream cheese pancakes seem to be a staple in the Keto world! This is only the 2nd time I have made them, but one thing I learned from my first attempt is to make the cream cheese pancakes smaller than you would typically make a normal pancake. It makes them much easier to flip. I based my recipe off of this one I found Googling and you can find it on myKeto Pinterest PageI halved the recipe since there are only 2 of us and it made 6 small pancakes. 

I used a food processor, you could use a blender if you have a good one but I do not. My mini food processor was the first size for the 1/2 batch. 

 

Mix it all together until smooth. Heat skillet on medium, add a TBSP of butter into the pan and pour pancakes that are about 1/3 of a cup. Cook until top is bubbled and looks well cooked and then flip. The second side barely takes any time at all to cook. That's it! 

Then I topped them with whipped cream instead of syrup! 

AND HERE ARE THE RESULTS!


Comment

Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: LOW CARB SKILLET PIZZA


Recipes do not get easier than skillet pizza! I eat a Ketogenic Diet, which means I eat a high fat low carb diet. My goal every day is less than 20g of Net Carbs which results in 5% carbs, 20% protein and 75% fat. I've been eating this way for the last 6 months and I feel great. 

Obviously traditional pizza is not an option for me, so I experiment with various crusts made from cauliflower, cheese and more but sometimes I like to just make a super fast and super delicious Skillet Pizza! It takes less than 5 minutes! 

SWIRL KITCHEN: LOW CARB SKILLET PIZZA via Swirl Nation Blog

DIRECTIONS

  • Place skillet over medium heat
  • Fill bottom of the skillet with shredded mozzarella and then I placed shaved parmesan on top of that (that part is optional but really adds to the flavor!)
  • Let the cheese melt
  • Then add the toppings QUICKLY because this does cook super fast
  • I added a few chunks of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning on them, pepperoni and sliced olives
  • Cook until edges are brown like the photo shows and then you are done! 

Mine wouldn't just slide off the pan so I took a knife and just lifted under the edges until it loosened it up and then it slid onto my plate. After letting it cool for a couple minutes I sliced it up! Delicious! I did not miss the crust at all and couldn't finish it. 

SWIRL KITCHEN: LOW CARB SKILLET PIZZA via Swirl Nation Blog

Comment

Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: BACON DEVILED EGGS ARE THE BEST DEVILED EGGS


This week I am sharing a different low carb recipe every day! I love to cook and get creative with food, so I hope you enjoy the recipes and let me know if you try any of them! First up is Deviled Eggs! I LOVE deviled eggs. Like LOVE! So I make them a lot. My all-time favorite is BLT Deviled Eggs. I've been making them forever and they are always a crowd pleaser.

 

BLT DEVILED EGGS

  • Cut eggs in half (obviously)
  • Place yolks into a bowl and mash them together (I use a fork)
  • Then I place a mixture of mayo and sour cream with the egg yolks. 2 parts mayo, 1 part sour cream. I think this is a key part and what makes my eggs different than most people's, the sour cream is delish! 
  • Once it is mixed smooth I add pepper and ground Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Place the mixture in a ziploc bag, cut a small corner and fill the eggs

Then the toppings are bacon, sliced tomatoes, basil and paprika

  • Break up crispy bacon into small pieces
  • Cut up tomatoes into small slices, it is important that you only use the tomato skin- the insides of the tomato will make your eggs weird and mushy
  • Cut small pieces of fresh basil 
  • Finally top with a small amount of paprika

AMAZING! 

SWIRL KITCHEN: BACON DEVILED EGGS ARE THE BEST DEVILED EGGS via Swirl Nation Blog

If you don't have basil or tomatoes handy you can of course just make them with bacon and paprika and they will still be amazing! 

SWIRL KITCHEN: BACON DEVILED EGGS ARE THE BEST DEVILED EGGS via Swirl Nation Blog

Comment

Comment

YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL


YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL via Swirl Nation Blog

I discovered Elizabeth Israel because of this Buzzfeed article which was about how some loser was shaming her online for looking drastically different when she was wearing makeup vs bare faced.

Elizabeth told Buzzfeed

“I love wearing makeup because in my eyes it’s art, yes, it boosts my confidence, yes, I feel more lively wearing it, but no, I don’t rely on it or love myself any less without it.”
YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL via Swirl Nation Blog

Her girlfriend then went on social media with this kick ass response: 

YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL via Swirl Nation Blog

Elizabeth does makeup tutorials that are pretty impressive. She definitely completely transforms her face and has some great tips. I would categorize her makeup style as "Kardashian like". Much heavier than I would typically wear, but then again I basically only wear eyeliner and mascara unless I'm going out.

Here are some of her videos, watch and learn! 

 

EVERYDAY EYE MAKEUP 

 

MY CURRENT EYEBROW ROUTINE


Comment

Comment

YOU TUBE CHANNEL: THE REAL


YouTube is one of my favorite ways to not only listen to music and watch videos, but gives my ears what my daytime life cannot afford me since I’m working and that’s The Real. The Real is a diverse group of daytime talk show hosts that is akin to The View or even The Talk except more appealing, fun, and honest.

YOU TUBE CHANNEL THE REAL via Swirl Nation Blog

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate what The View and The Talk have done for it’s worldwide audiences, but The Real is the first daytime talk show I can relate to as a millennial. The group of women is comprised of all ethnic backgrounds with comic Loni Love (Black), singer/actress Adrienne Bailon (Hispanic), Fashion Expert Jeannie Mai (Vietnamese/Chinese) and biracial actress Tamara Mowry-Housley. It’s important to get a group of women with varied careers, personalities, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds so the conversations are fresh, entertaining and educational.

The subject matter they discuss covers everything from trending topics, politics, fashion, interviews with celebrities, and candid opinions that are reflective of not only their beliefs, but where they come from in their respective industries and lives. I do not get the opportunity to tune into the TV when they are on live so YouTube allows me to see clips and highlights from the show throughout my day. It is not only a nice refresher for what can be a long day in the office, but also the co-hosts are very charismatic which keeps me engaged instead of bored.

On the YouTube channel you will a lot of content that ranges from games they played, interviews, key topics and focused discussions on daily news to what is going on in pop culture. It does not feel rehearsed or that I’m watching a conversation that I in no way can understand or relate to, it is in fact just the opposite. As an audience member I feel like I’m participating in conversations that I am invested in and have either had in real life or am grappling with in my personal life. Check out The Real, these ladies are bringing fresh, fun voices to television and I’m so happy they are getting the Emmy nominations they deserve along with recognition on multiple networks and media platforms.

Check out some of my favorite moments on The Real:


Comment

Comment

YOU TUBE CHANNEL: IT'S AKILAH, OBVIOUSLY


I first discovered Akilah when I was writing my cultural appropriation post.  She made a hilarious parody poking fun at such things like thinking it is ok to fetishize adopting a baby from another culture than your own…  She had me at “OMG, I want to adopt a white baby!”  I occasionally go down the rabbit hole of what is her YouTube Channel, oddly called SmoothieFreak.

A little about Akilah, from her website:

Hello there! Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you know that I’m Akilah…obviously. I’m a comedian (stand up, sketch, improv, writer, YouTuber, etc.,) originally from Cincinnati (who dey?!) who is now hanging out in Brooklyn, NY.  I write for FusionHelloGigglesFemsplain, and Refinery29, and I am a sketch and improv person trained at Upright Citizens Brigade. I take lots of photos and make lots of YouTube videos, and generally have too widespread of an interest pool to be one of those niche blogs. Here you will find posts about hair, pop culture, race, comedy, being a 20-something lady, fashion, makeup, being good at things, being terrible at things, moving to NYC and pretty much any topic in-between.
 

Below are some of my favorite videos.  Enjoy!

The video that started it all:

White Party

 

Some other favorites:

Meet Your First Black Girlfriend

Every Natural Hair Video Ever

How Black People Feel About Haunted Houses


Comment

1 Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: EATALY, CHICAGO


EATALY: 43 EAST OHIO ST, CHICAGO, 60611

Living in Chicago has afforded me the chance to be completely exposed to all different types of foods from all over the world. Whether I want to eat in Greektown, grab a coffee in Wicker Park, dine on deep dish in South Loop, or head over to the luxuries of River North I am surrounded by different eateries. I will say I have not explored the city half as much as I would like to be completely settled on a favorite place, but instead think of where I suggest most for my friends to eat and dine.

When I started working at Eataly as a fine dining hostess I had very rough idea of what Italian food was and that Olive Garden was pretty much the peak of that. Don’t get me wrong after reading this post because I love Olive Garden and would still dine there in a heartbeat because, breadsticks/salad- YES. Eataly, takes Italian to a whole other level by brining the traditional, cultural flavors of Italy to America.  The two-story facility here in Chicago provides a variety of different restaurants, a deli, pastry shop, wine retailer, cheese shop, bakery, gelato bar and so much more inside.

So why Eataly? It revolutionizes the idea of Italian food by bringing you imported Italian products and serving up menu’s that are specific to the Italian culture. You will not find Chicken Alfredo, breadsticks, or salad to accompany your plates of food. Instead you can get fresh meat/cheese boards, olive oil and hand cut bread, hand-rolled pasta and in house fresh mozzarella. Eataly is an experience, and while it sounds like I’m marketing for it, I promise you I advocate that facility alone is an experience worth having. It pushes customers outside of their comfort zones by giving you taste/flavors that are specific to this culture instead of an Americanized version of them. As of now there are two current Eataly facilities in the United States (NYC/Chicago) with current plans to open an L.A./Vegas/DC/Philadelphia in the impending future.


1 Comment

Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: HAPA CUPCAKES, FULLERTON


HAPA CUPCAKES: 105 W. AMERIEGE AVENUE, FULLERTON, CA 92832

The following post has been a while in the making. First I tweeted (maybe more than once). Then I found them on Instagram, so of course, I had to follow them… And like all their photo’s in the process. I admit it, I kinda stalked the ladies of Hapa Cupcakes, but guess what? It worked. Not only did they partake in Hapa Hour, but they also invited me to their bakery when I was in town a couple of months back. This does not mean you should go out and stalk someone until you get the results you want….

Sadly, I did not get to meet Hanayo Martin and Akemi Lee. However, their employees were expecting me and they let me pick out 4 different cupcakes and a mini cake to take home! So sweet of them!

This mini carrot cake was so cute I didn’t want to cut it…

This mini carrot cake was so cute I didn’t want to cut it…

I love carrot cake. I think people underestimate it. I had such a difficult time picking out my cupcakes.

I love carrot cake. I think people underestimate it. I had such a difficult time picking out my cupcakes.

I finally ended up with: Whiskey Oreo cookie, Kahlua Mocha, Strawberry Champagne with Chocolate Frosting, and Strawberry Cheesecake.  Hapa Cupcakes are known for their liquor infused creations. The Whiskey Oreo Cookie Cupcake was great. The Strawberry Cheesecake was great too!  My Mom and Grandmama loved the Kahlua Mocha one the best. I, however, loved the Strawberry and Champagne Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting.

I have to say these were some of the best cupcakes I have had, and I’m a cupcake snob from living in NYC. The cakes were perfectly moist and those frostings! Oh man, wish Hapa Cupcakes could ship me a tub of that! It’s easy to see how they were on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

If you live anywhere near Hapa Cupcakes in Fullerton, California, you must go. Sorry NYC, there isn’t one here. Maybe if I bug Akemi and Hanayo enough they will open one out here.

For more info on Hapa Cupcakes please visit their website.


 

 

Comment

Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: EL CHALAN AND CHI.CHE, MIAMI


I moved to Texas from Miami three years ago and I have yet to find a good Peruvian restaurant.  For this reason, I always look forward to my yearly trips to Miami.  I love seeing my family and enjoying the home-cooked Peruvian classics my father-in-law lovingly prepares for us.  Ceviche mixto, lomo saltado, his special quinoa with chicken and Peruvian aji amarillo.  I also enjoy eating out at Peruvian restaurants.  My two favorites: El Chalan and CVI.CHE 105.  El Chalan is like a mom-and-pop local eatery where Peruvian food is served comfort-food style.  CVI.CHE 105 is your bourgeois, but not-too-pricey, restaurant serving the cuisine in a fancy-foodie style.

 

El Chalan Restaurant: 7971 Bird Road #17, Miami FL 33155

The description on Google explains it all: “Humble strip-mall outfit with an array of down-home Peruvian fare such as ceviche & lomo saltado.”  But don’t let that description deter you from trying it.  Walking in, you will notice pictures of Macchu Picchu and Peruvian gauchos on the wall.  A soccer game or Peruvian tourist videos will be playing on the TV.  You will most likely not hear any English being spoken (there are English-speaking servers, but maybe take this opportunity to practice your Spanish).  There is nothing fancy about this restaurant.  My favorite dish to order at this restaurant is Chupe de Camarones, or seafood soup.  It is absolutely delicious.  It isn’t light like a lot of seafood soups.  It is hearty and spicy with the right balance of seafood, vegetables, and rice.  I also like Tallarin Verdes, Lomo Saltado (of course), and Tallarin Saltado de Mariscos.  Yum Yum!  The restaurant only has a Facebook page and it hasn’t been updated in 9 months, but an abbreviated menu is available on Google.

 

CVI.CHE 105: 105 NE 3rd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132

For a little fancier atmosphere with equally good food, try CVI.CHE 105.  So I just went to the website and my mouth just watered – oh, Pavlov…  So what to try?  EVERYTHING.  When we had visitors to Miami, we always took them here.  The drinks are delicious (Pisco Sours and Mojitos).  They have an assortment of Peruvian Ceviches and Tiraditos – they were voted best ceviche in Miami four years in a row.  The Causas are delicious, they even have one, Causa Montada con Pulpito al Olivo, that combines Cause with one of my favorite Peruvian dishes of octopus smothered in a creamy black olive sauce.  There is a section of the menu called “Peruvian Classics”.  This is where you find the Lomo Saltado, Aji de Gallina, along with dishes like Risotto Fillet which has filet mignon and shrimp on a bed of parmesan and mushroom risotto. I just drooled on my keyboard.  My favorite desserts here are Suspiro Limena and Mousse de Lucuma.  Suspiro means “sigh” in Spanish, and the dessert is totally a light lemon-y flavor with a creamy merengue on top.  Lucuma…  so lucuma is a fruit found in the amazon that tastes like nutty pecan and sweet potato mixed together.  The mousse is rich and every bit worth the calories.  CVI.CHE 105 does have a website.   Make a reservation before you visit.  I just learned via the website, there is a South Beach location too.


Comment

Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: ALOHA CAFE, DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES


ALOHA CAFE: 410 E 2ND STREET, LOS ANGELES CA, 90012

I love this place, they are super nice and it is in Little Tokyo not too far from where I work. I can't eat most of the things on the menu, because I eat a Ketogenic diet which means no rice, carbs blah blah blah... but I can make it work. It is Hawaiian Plate Lunch, you get a meat, 2 scoops of white rice and a scoop of mac salad. I used to get this before I was Keto and now I still go and get Kalbi chicken with no rice, no mac salad. Instead they give me a side salad which is sometimes mixed with their cabbage salad. Delicious and a huge portion, sometimes I can eat it all but usually it is 2 meals for me. They also have bacon because they have breakfast so one day I also got a side of bacon (not pictured). 

You can get whole menu HERE and take a look at all of the yumminess on their Instagram page

Comment

Comment

SWIRL BEAUTY: COLOUR POP BOLD LIP


ColourPop (Are&Be)

ColourPop (Are&Be)

So let me say first and foremost I have been a minimalist with make-up my whole life. I am not the person looking up pallets, studying tutorials, and spending a boatload on make-up. There is nothing wrong with it nor am I shading any women that do it, I applaud you, admire you, and give you praise. You have something I do not. Patience and Willpower. Personally, I started out being more of an eye make up only person and this past year started playing more with my cheeks and lips thanks to ColourPop which is based out of Los Angeles.

Colour Pop (Mess Around)

Colour Pop (Mess Around)

I discovered them when Karruche Tran released a line of shadows, matte lips, lip pencils, and cheek highlighter as part of her partnership with ColourPop that they do with celebrities. What attracted me to the line was that it was fairly inexpensive and Tran had a skin tone similar to mine so I had an idea of what her make-up could look like on me. This is extremely vital visually because I was ordering online through a company I had never heard of in my life and couldn’t exactly try on samples.  Needless to say I became hooked and have ordered several different ultra-matte lipsticks, ultra-satin lips, and other various make-up they have since they keep a rotation of new items in steady supply.

The only make up tip I have for you is that I’ve continuously experimented since my ColourPop revitalization and that is a bold lip is all you need. I think no matter the shade a bright, dark, or neutral lip can really add an extra pop of color to your face and overall look. Sure you can dress it up with some good eye shadow and bronzer which I do from time to time, but I love the fullness that adding color gives to my lips. I feel fierce, strong, and that I look like a badass which can help my mood especially when I’m headed to work. I do recommend using the lip pencil if one is suggested or provided with your token lip color because it helps define and outline the shape of your lips. Here’s to full lips and big smiles for the summe

ColourPop (Lyin King)

ColourPop (Lyin King)


Comment

Comment

SWIRL BEAUTY: ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS BROW WIZ


Yup just call me "Becky with the good brows." - my bowl cut/bob hybrid on the other hand...

Yup just call me "Becky with the good brows." - my bowl cut/bob hybrid on the other hand...

Who doesn't love a good, strong brow?!

I was pretty lucky to be born with "good brows". Because of that I have pretty much left them alone for the majority of my life. I've never had them waxed, colored, or shaped in anyway. The extent of my brow maintenance has been plucking a stray here and there. 

But probably about a year ago I was roaming Sephora (I do that a lot more these days because they opened one down the street!) and tried on the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil. I had to admit it added a little extra emphasis to my face with very little effort, so I was sold. 

Au Natural - No Brow Wiz

Au Natural - No Brow Wiz

I've been buying it ever since. I get the Caramel color, but there are 9 colors to choose from so everyone should be able to find a match. The Brow Wiz pencil is very thin, she also has thicker ones but I want a natural look so this is perfect. I just fill in areas that aren't as thick, I don't do the eyebrow stencils or anything like that. 

 

 

With Anastasia Brow Wiz!

SWIRL BEAUTY: ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS BROW WIZ by Jen Fisch via Swirl Nation Blog

As you can see it just adds a lot more definition to the brows and makes your makeup overall feel more "complete". I also like the contrast since my eyebrows are so much darker than my hair. 

The pen itself is two-sided, as you can see in the photo to the right. One side is the thin pen and the other is a brush. It wipes off easily if you mess up and the brush tames your brows nicely. I would recommend cleaning the brush every once and awhile because I feel like it gets full of makeup pretty quick. 

For $21, it is a worthwhile investment! Get those brows on fleek honey!

My daughter has the brows too, no Brow Wiz requires

My daughter has the brows too, no Brow Wiz requires


Comment

Comment

SWIRL COCKTAILS: TI PUNCH


Ti Punch is French for small punch, cute? Non? As dainty as the name sounds, Ti Punch is the exact opposite. This drink will put hair on your chest. It is the national drink of Guadeloupe.

Made with white distilled rum called Rhum Agricole, it is at its lowest 45% proof. It is made from fresh sugarcane juice instead of molasses, which is why it is clear.

To make Ti Punch just add a couple of teaspoons of raw sugar, a squeezed lime wedge, and a couple of shots of Rhum Agricole. Mix together and voila Ti Punch. It’s strong and oh so good.

Ti Punch is served all over the French Caribbean. In Guadeloupe, we had our first taste of this drink at L’amer in Basse Terre, on the La Rue de la Vague Bleue.

At 3.50 euro each, it’s a total bargain. Especially since they leave you the bottle – I could easily become an alcoholic on this island. I highly recommend getting tea punch at L’amer. You can sit, drink and enjoy the sunset overlooking this gorgeous bay. Life really doesn’t get better than that!


 

 

Comment

Comment

SWIRL COCKTAILS: CUCUMBER DRINKS!


I remember the cucumber cocktail I had, it was a skinny cucumber mojito. I was so surprised because I had never thought of mixing that combination, but it was super refreshing! So I took a look on Pinterest and gathered a few of the Cucumber cocktail recipes that looked the yummiest! I would definitely recommend trying some (all?) of these this summer. If you are lazy like me you will find a place to buy some cucumber juice or agua fresca, but if you have a juicer then go at it! 

You can find all of the recipes and more on my Let's Drink Pinterest Board, or click on each of the photos below! 

 

1. CUCUMBER LIME MARGARITA // TASTESLOVELY.COM

 

2. JAPAPENO CUCUMBER MOSCOW MULES // DADWITHPAN.COM

 

3. SPICY CUCUMBER MARGARITA // GIMMESOMEOVEN.COM

 

4. SPARKLING CUCUMBER WATERMELON SANGRIA // HOWSWEETEATS.COM

 

5. THE CUKE // ONETWOSIMPLECOOKING.COM


Comment

Comment

SWIRL COCKTAILS: THE OLD FASHIONED


So when I walk into a bar, or better yet, mix my own drink at home, my one and only goal is to have myself a drink that makes me feel like Don Draper in the first couple seasons of “Mad Men.” Back when he was cool, in control and stylish, unlike his sloppier self later in the series.

Yes, this Don Draper. Peggy Olson’s looking pretty slick, too, I have to admit.

Yes, this Don Draper. Peggy Olson’s looking pretty slick, too, I have to admit.

Before you get on my case for making Don Draper’s drink of choice my drink of choice, I know, a privileged white man from the 60s isn’t the best cocktail (or life) role model for a young Hapa girl. Especially one whose drinking genetics definitely leave her with that certain “glow” after a cocktail or two… But, you’ve got to admit that he’s got his classic cool down pat and who can blame a girl for wanting to exude some of that?

 

I could tell you the recipes to some of my go to drinks at the moment, but they tend to be only a one or two ingredient kind of deal: whiskey on the rocks, whiskey and soda, whiskey. They’re pretty self explanatory.

 

Instead, I’ll turn my attention to the Old Fashioned--don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a history lesson. An Old Fashioned is something you’ve probably seen on a number of cocktail menus, or at least a variation of it, and let me tell you--it is tasty… As long as you like your whiskey. From what I gather, this drink has been around since the 1800s and for good reason. It’s a little sweet, a little citrus-y, and it’s not something your bartender can just water down, since it’s almost all parts booze.

 

So mix you and your friends up a couple, slick your hair back, and do your best Don Draper imitation. Winner gets to mix the second round.

What you need:

-Pick a good rye or bourbon whiskey (I personally enjoy Bulleit Rye, since it’s a little more budget friendly, but still makes you feel a little like a bootlegger.)

-1 sugar cube or ½ a tablespoon of loose sugar

-Angostura bitters

-Ice cube(s) if you’ve got the nice big block cubes that could easily break a window if thrown, just use one, but you may need a few if you’re using regular ice tray-sized cubes

-Splash of water

-Orange peel and a lighter (If you’re an Old Fashioned snob, you won’t add the orange or the cherry, but if you like a little fruit action, go for it.)

-Maraschino cherry (Read above.)

 

How to make it:

  1. Put the sugar cube or ½ tablespoon of sugar in your glass and splash 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters onto the sugar.

  2. Add no more than a splash of water to it.

  3. If you’re adding a maraschino cherry, drop it in now.

  4. Muddle everything together using a muddler (If you’re fancy) or a spoon (If you’re like me).

  5. Add the ice cube(s).

  6. Pour in 2 oz. of whiskey.

  7. Now here’s where you get really swanky: Take your orange peel and a lighter, singe the orange peel just a little, twist the orange peel directly over your drink so the zest/orange oil will hit the surface of the Old Fashioned and then plink the same orange peel into the Old Fashioned.

  8. Cheers! (Or if you’re drinking alone… Well. We don’t judge here.)

 

Until next time!


 

 

 

Comment

Comment

SWIRL COCKTAILS: VODKA + CLUB SODA + BAI


I eat a Ketogenic diet, which means I don't do sugar and eat under 20g of carbs per day. So I have to keep it simple with alcohol. My go-to drinks are red wine or vodka sodas with lime. 

Recently I heard about Bai Antioxidant drink which is very low in carbs so I decided to pick up the blueberry flavor and add a splash to my vodka soda. Super yummy! The entire bottle of Bai has 1 net carb, but I used less that 1oz in my drink so I'll consider it zero sugar. Yum! 

SWIRL COCKTAILS: VODKA + CLUB SODA + BAI via Swirl Nation Blog

They have a lot of other flavors so this makes a fun easy way to add a little flavor to my summer drinks. I also might try making popsicles with them! 

Add fresh fruit and either mint or basil would take the drink to another level of yumminess and freshness! 


Comment

Comment

SWIRL DESTINATIONS: GUADELOUPE

Guadeloupe in 3 Days


I recently got back from a mini vacation to Guadeloupe. Sorry, not sorry! This beautiful island is located in the Caribbean and part of the French Antilles.

It’s stunning. Oh and French is the national language. Je parle francais… un peu.

There are two parts to the main island, Basse Terre and Grande Terre. We stayed in Basse Terre which is considered the more rugged part of the main island – we didn’t have time to visit both sides. We were literally only there for 3 full days, but when you find round trip airfare for under $200 you get it and go!

How do you make the most out of a mini vacation? By renting a car. Luckily at 15 – 25 dollars a day it won’t break your bank. Staying at an Air BnB spot in Deshaies we were only a short car ride away from what is known as one of the most beautiful beaches Guadeloupe has to offer – Grande Anse.

Here is my day by day breakdown on what we did and where we ate! A more detailed description will follow in the coming weeks.

Day 1 – We arrived around 8:30pm and by the time we dropped our bags off at the Air BnB spot most of the restaurants were closed on the Rue de la Vague Bleue. However, Le Madras was open!

Day 2 – We spent the morning at Grand Anse Beach. Lunch at Les Delices d’Adrianna Bokits and Bar au Jus. After lunch we headed to Cascade aux Ecrevisses in Parc du National Guadeloupe. That evening we went back to Rue de la Vague Bleue and had drinks while the sun set at L’Amer. Dinner was at La Savane – number 3 on Trip Advisor.

Day 3 – We drove about 2 hours to get to Les Chutes des Carbet. Christopher Columbus noted these waterfalls in his log in 1493. They are so tall that they are visible from the sea! Gorgeous amazing waterfalls! The Deuxium (second) Chute is 2200 feet in elevation and it’s 360 feet tall. The Premier (first) Chute is 3000 feet in elevation and 410 feet tall. It’s quite the hike and you gain about 1000 feet, which is roughly equivalent to 8 miles round trip, to see the first waterfall, but it is so worth it! The water was a bit too cold for me to go swimming. After our hike, we thought we’d check out Les Bain Jaunes on the slope of La Soufriere (the volcano). Les Bain Jaunes is a hot spring. Sadly, it isn’t very hot. Think tepid water. Ew. Felt like sticking my feet it pee… French pee. You’re allowed to go swimming, but you do so at your own risk. If you get water up your nose you might just get your very own brain eating parasite! Yay! That evening we went to dinner in Rue de la Vague Bleue dining at Mahina, a pizza joint. A favorite of the locals.

Day 4 – On our last full day in Guadeloupe we decided to eat petit dejeuner (breakfast) at Patisserie: Le Fourril de la Cote in Rue de la Vague Bleu. We spent the rest of our day at Grande Anse Beach. We ate lunch at Delices De Marco, and got homemade sorbet right on the beach! We loved L’Amer and Mahina so much we went back one final time for drinks and dinner.

That was our trip in a nutshell. Would I go back to Guadeloupe? In a heartbeat. The locals are friendly French speaking people. The food is wonderful and the scenery is out of a movie.

The only thing I would change is where we spent our night’s aka slept. The room had no screens and the fan barely worked. Did I mention there is a shit load of mosquitoes? Let’s just say I feel like I have chicken pox all over again. Also, our host Magali advertises on Air BnB that she has free wifi. She had none. Yeah… Not cool yo. The one redeeming thing about the Air BnB was Magali has a cat.

I’m a crazy cat lady so being woken up by a screaming kitty at 4am, that got into our room, was endearing to me. However, I’m betting most people would probably have thrown the cat off the balcony.

All in all, I loved our mini vacation and I can’t wait to go back and see the rest of Guadeloupe. 


Comment

Comment

SWIRL DESTINATION: NEW ORLEANS


The wonderfully made, Cajun cookin’, Bourbon bouncing city of New Orleans

SWIRL DESTINATION NEW ORLEANS via Swirl Nation Blog
SWIRL DESTINATION NEW ORLEANS via Swirl Nation Blog

So I could probably write pages about how much I love and appreciate New Orleans, but there just isn’t time in the day to do so. I love New Orleans so much I am scheduled for my fourth visit there this August and have told my mother I’m almost sure I want to get married there (she’s not really loving this idea, but she’ll come around).

It’s the number one place I recommend to people to visit and if they have gotten the pleasure of seeing it then I relish swapping stories over the magic of this city. I always wish I could have visited NOLA (yes I’m a tourist who will scream this on my venture there, while I’m there, and when I reference it in conversation) before Hurricane Katrina mulled it over and made it what we know today. Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the city was so massive it’s still in recovery long after the financiers and media have taken the city and its refugees out of the spotlight. You can see the water line on many of the buildings and even neighborhoods that never fully were rebuilt and instead had to pick up and go elsewhere. I wish I could have seen pre-Katrina because if it was anything more marvelous than the New Orleans I’ve come to enjoy for vacation these past few years, then it was pretty spectacular.

SWIRL DESTINATION NEW ORLEANS via Swirl Nation Blog

Each visit to New Orleans has been different ranging from my company to the occasion so needless to say each visit has been different. You might think that with so many visits things could be boring or dull, but in actuality it’s just the opposite. For example: my first visit there was for my sorority conference and I was there for 4nights/5days (my longest trip yet) and I remember just being in awe of the city. We did a two-hour double decker bus tour, danced in Louis Armstrong Park, learned that no one wears heels on Bourbon Street, discovered the magic of Hand Grenades and the importance of drinking water in a city whose humidity makes you want to walk around stark naked.

My second trip was much shorter and it was rainy. Rainy, wet, and humid is just torture, but we went on a swamp tour. I HELD A BABY ALLIGATOR. I stayed with 2 friends and a guy in a small hotel courtesy of Groupon and learned despite my reservations that no 3 people in a bed doesn’t work. The last time I was in NOLA to celebrate my 25th birthday which was very memorable and special since I put five of my best friends together. The shenanigans of Bourbon Street, The Coven House (American Horror Story), Air BnB, Absinthe, and new restaurants made it such a crazy experience. No matter how many times I go fun, food, and booze are pretty much the staples of the trip while I bask in the ambience of the city.

SWIRL DESTINATION NEW ORLEANS via Swirl Nation Blog

New Orleans is so beautiful from the decadent buildings that are painted like cream puffs to seafood so good you don’t care that you will inevitably bloat from the salt intake the next morning. The French Market that is bustling and busy with every tourist trinket you can think of but boast amazing little sit down eateries with locals and conversation you just can’t beat. Even though I’ve been so many times there’s about a billion things I have not done yet like: Go on a plantation tour, visit a museum, see the Uptown neighborhood, go to an authentic crawfish boil (these are seasonal), and the list goes on and on. New Orleans is music, culture and life that goes far beyond the party and peril of the infamous Bourbon Street. If you want to be immersed in a city that is going to welcome you with open arms to all things N’awlins, then this is the place to go.

SWIRL DESTINATION NEW ORLEANS via Swirl Nation Blog

Comment

Comment

SWIRL DESTINATION: SANTORINI, GREECE


I’ve had the same dream destination for awhile now. The perfect images of the white houses on cliffs overlooking the ocean, electric blue roofs and doors, and pops of fuchsia bougainvillea… Santorini, Greece is definitely in my future travel plans.

The only snag in my plan is that I feel like I can't go to Greece until I go with someone I am in love with. It just seems like the most romantic place on earth. So as soon as that happens I will hop a plane to this amazing place and who knows, maybe I'll never come back! 

Breathtaking isn't it? 


Comment

Comment

SWIRL KITCHEN: EASY PULLED PORK TACOS


Easy Pulled Pork Tacos:

Beautiful image via Pinterest

Beautiful image via Pinterest

  • White corn tortillas (fresher, the better)
  • Trader Joe's Pulled Pork (cooked according to package directions)
  • Freshly chopped Cilantro
  • Pico de gallo or Mango Salsa

Assemble. Add queso fresco and/or avocado as a tasty garnish.

Done!

Beautiful image via Pinterest

Beautiful image via Pinterest


Comment