A Squared

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Grilled Shrimp with Southwestern Corn Salad

Fall may be here, but if you're still soaking up the last few drops of summer then this recipe is for you-- it's the perfect way to enjoy the flavors of summer produce and the grill in one easy delicious meal!

I find that people fall into one of two camps when it comes to the end of summer: Either you can't wait for the start of crisp sweater weather and the end of sticky 90 degree days or you're mourning the end of beach days and the return of hats and scarves. I am most certainly in that former group. I LOVE fall and can't get enough of wearing layers, crunching leaves, and pumpkin-flavored everything. That said, we have been experiencing a bit of an Indian Summer these days and while I'm not loving the lingering heat, I am enjoying the warm nights that are perfect for dinner on the grill. And this recipe in particular fits the bill-- not only is it super fast and easy, but it has all of the light and fresh flavors of summertime.

Because corn is in season for such a seemingly short amount of time, I love to cook with it as often as possible during the summer-- especially on the grill. Grilled corn right off the cob is the base of this delicious southwestern-inspired salad, filled with sweet tomatoes, bright red onion, creamy avocado, and slightly spicy poblano that has a great smoky flavor from its own time on the grill. It's all topped by the easiest quick marinade for prepared shrimp: A combo of lime juice, Old Bay, and Adobe & Sazon seasonings lend bright full flavor to the shrimp. And they only take a few minutes to grill so dinner is done in a flash. Want dinner even faster? The Whole Foods fish counter was running a great deal the day I was there buying shrimp for this dish-- the shrimp was already peeled, deveined, with tails removed on prepared wooden skewers. Just marinate, grill, and enjoy!


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Adobe & Sazon seasoning
  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and silk removed
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper

In a large glass bowl, whisk together olive oil, 1/2 of the lime juice, Old Bay, Adobe & Sazo, and black pepper, to taste. Add in the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the grill to medium heat.  Cut the poblano pepper in half and remove the membranes and seeds from the inside.  Spray the corn and pepper halves evenly with olive oil or cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the corn and pepper until softened and grill marks appear, turning to make sure they grill evenly.  Remove from heat and allow the vegetables to cool enough to handle.  Cut the corn off the cobs and discard cobs.  Chop the peppers into 1/2 inch pieces.

Add the cut corn and chopped poblano to a large bowl. Next, add the tomatoes, avocado, and red onion. Pour remaining half of lime juice over the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine the ingredients.

Increase the grill heat to high. Thread shrimp on to prepared skewers and grill for roughly 2 minutes per side, until shrimp is pink and curled. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, pull shrimp off the skewers and if they still have tails, remove them.

Serve warm shrimp with the corn salad and enjoy.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Black Cherry Lambrusco Floats

Fall may (unofficially) be here, but it's still warm in Chicago so let's savor the last of the summer weather before it starts snowing, shall we?

And what better way to beat (and even enjoy) the heat than with a frosty cocktail? I'm partnering with Lindy's Homemade Italian Ice today to bring you an easy recipe for an adults-only float! When I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to make a cocktail using Lindy's Italian Ice, I started throwing out a few ingredient ideas like prosecco or limoncello and he immediately said "lambrusco!" Alex isn't much of a wine drinker, but he does love Lambrusco, a northern Italian red wine that is unique in that it's sparkling and served chilled. And once he mentioned it, it seemed like the perfect wine to pair with Italian ice for a boozy float!

Lindy's Italian Ice is available in 11 different flavors so it was tough to choose which variety to use in this drink, but I ultimately selected black cherry because I thought it's deep flavor would pair really nicely with the flavor of red wine. The recipe is about as simple as that: add of scoop of black cherry Italian ice to a large wine glass along with a few frozen cherries and orange slices and then float it with a healthy amount of Lambrusco and a splash each of club soda and orange juice. The orange juice adds a bright citrus note to the richness of the cherry and red wine flavors. And the sparkling wine and bubbly club soda fizz up around the Italian ice, slowly melting it into the rest of the drink as you sip... like you'd want from any good float!

These floats are the perfect cocktails to enjoy while we transition from summer to fall: frosty to keep you cool on these last few hot days, but with the rich flavors of red wine, black cherry, and orange, which feel fall weather-appropriate. As the weather gets cooler, you could even throw in a cinnamon stick or two and turn these into holiday-ready floats. So, grab a box of Lindy's and a bottle of Lambrusco and toast to the remainder of summer!

Ingredients for every 1 drink:

  • 3 oz. Lindy's Italian Ice - Black Cherry flavor (3 oz. = half of one individual cup)
  • 5 frozen (pitted) cherries
  • 4 1/4-inch quartered orange slices, divided
  • 1 Tbs. orange juice
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • 6 oz. Lambrusco

Remove one Lindy's Italian Ice cup from the freezer and gently squeeze the Italian ice out of the cup onto a cutting board. Slice the Italian ice in half and place one half in a large wine glass.

Add cherries and 3 of the orange slices to the glass. Top with orange juice, club soda and Lambrusco. Garnish with remaining orange slice and serve.

Editor's Note: Complimentary products were provided in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Celebrate National Breakfast Month with Nellie's & BELTs with Sriracha Mayo

It's National Breakfast Month! And what better way to celebrate than with me, Nellie's Free Range Eggs, a delicious breakfast sandwich recipe, oh... and a giveaway?

I'm sharing a recipe today that's perfect for breakfast (because it's National Breakfast Month), but that is hearty enough that it could easily be served for lunch or dinner too! This breakfast-y take on a classic BLT gets a little extra flavor from a few simple additions: a crusty ciabatta roll, a zesty homemade sriracha mayo and a sunnyside up Nellie's egg, of course!

Eggs are the perfect starting point for any delicious breakfast dish: a good source of protein, a versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet or savory dishes, and satisfying enough to create a hearty dish with or without the addition of meat. And if you're going to cook with eggs, make sure they are  Nellie's Certified Humane Free Range Eggs!  Nellie's Eggs are Certified Humane(R), free of antibiotics, contain no added hormones, and are produced by hens that are never caged and have access to the outdoors.

Nellie's is also a big supporter of small local and family farms, which will make you feel even better about celebrating the most important meal of the day during National Breakfast Month with them!

Now, back to these sandwiches... I LOVE a BLT! Crisp lettuce, salty bacon, and sweet and juicy tomatoes is such a simple and delicious combination of ingredients. I love adding a little zip to my BLT sandwiches and usually add a little Dijon mustard, but I created an easy sriracha mayo for these sandwiches that is spicy and tangy and adds an amazing layer of additional flavor to this sandwich. And a simple sunnyside up egg (with a runny yolk) really rounds out these BELTs and turns them into a tasty and substantial sandwich you can eat at any meal. And you may think that an egg is an egg is an egg, but look at the gorgeous color on these yolks! Nellie's eggs are the real deal and you can taste and see the difference.

Want to try Nellie's Eggs for yourself? Now is your chance! I'm giving away 2 coupons for free cartons of Nellie's Certified Humane Free Range Eggs today, so be sure to use the widget below to enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • 3 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice 
  • 2 ciabatta or other sandwich rolls of your choice, sliced in half 
  • 2 Tbs. butter, divided
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and grease drained off
  • 2 Nellie's Certified Free Range Eggs
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 6-8 butter lettuce leaves
In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sriracha, and lemon juice until fully combined. Cover and chill.

Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium high heat. Spread 1 Tbs. butter over the cut sides (inside) of each roll. Place on the prepared griddle or pan surface, cut side down. Remove after 3-5 minutes, once lightly toasted and golden brown.

Heat remaining butter in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. Crack the egg directly into the pan and cook until the egg whites are set, 3-4 minutes. 

Spread the sriracha mayonnaise evenly over the toasted sides of the rolls. On the bottom half of each roll, layer lettuce leaves, bacon tomato slices, and one egg.

Serve immediately.

Editor's Note: Complimentary products were provided to me in order to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed herein, as always, are my own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Stock the Perfect Diaper Caddy with Huggies Little Snugglers Plus at Costco

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SuperAbsorbent #CollectiveBias

It's sort of surreal to look back and think about how much my life has changed in the past 12 months. I've spent the last year in full mommy mode: first, in my very first pregnancy and for the last few months, as a new mommy to baby Hannah. And being both pregnant and a mom for the first time, I've basically become a sponge soaking up all of the knowledge and tips from the more experienced moms around me. Among all of those tips, a few have proven to be most valuable: Use high quality diapers-- because blow outs and leaks are pretty much the worst things ever-- and get a Costco membership-- because babies are expensive.

Hannah's first Costco trip! And for the first time, we visited the diaper section and it was all about her.
I joined Costco when I was pregnant so we could have the house stocked with food, toiletries, and household items for when baby arrived and now I can now officially declare myself a convert. As any infant mommy knows we go through a LOT of diapers and thankfully, Costco (and only Costco!) carries Huggies Little Snugglers Plus diapers. That means I can stock up on quality diapers at a great price. And diapers with 12 hours of Leak Lock® protection, that are super absorbent, keep my baby's skin clean and dry, and that include a wetness indicator (my husband's diaper changing requirement) are definitely the kind I want to have stocked in my baby's nursery!

We headed over to Costco recently to buy Hannah some size 2 Huggies Little Snugglers Plus diapers (how is she a size 2 already!?) and were so excited to find that Costco is offering them at a great price! Currently at Costco and Costco.com, you can find the following amazing deals on Huggies diapers:

  • Little Snugglers Plus (Sizes 1 & 2) – $37.49, $31.49 after $6 discount and Free shipping (this offer valid 9/1 to 9/25)
  • Little Movers Plus (Size 3, 4, 5, & 6) – $42.99, $36.99 after $6 discount and Free shipping (this offer valid 9/1 –to 9/25)
  • Starting in August Little Snugglers Plus will also be available in size Newborn starting - $29.99 available in select warehouses and online at Costco.com

As I mentioned earlier I've been taking in all the parenting tips I can as I navigate new mommyhood. However, in my short 4 months of being a parent myself I've come up with a few of my own tips too. And one of those tips is to have a stocked diaper caddy at the ready. We have only just started using Hannah's room regularly in the past few weeks. Prior to that, she spent all of her waking and sleeping hours in our bedroom or the living room. In the interest of time and my sanity, it didn't make sense to run back and forth to her room every time she needed a diaper change, a change of clothes, or a clean pacifier-- especially in the wee hours of the morning. So I stocked the perfect diaper caddy that could conveniently follow us from the living room during the day to our bedroom at night with everything we needed to take care of Hannah. And it was a lifesaver!

So if you're a mommy-to-be, take it from a new mom who has been there, done that and get yourself a diaper caddy and get it stocked and ready for your return home. It's a little thing that will make your life feel a whole lot easier. And if you're shopping for a mommy-to-be, consider gifting her a stocked diaper caddy. She'll be so thankful!

How to Stock the Perfect Diaper Caddy:

  1. Plenty of Huggies Little Snugglers Plus Diapers - Especially with a newborn, you'll go through tons of diapers everyday, so stock half the caddy with Huggies Little Snugglers Plus diapers and you'll be in great shape for a diaper change no matter where you are.
  2. Huggies Wipes - Every good diaper change needs a good wipe! Include a package of Huggies wipes too.
  3. Diaper Cream - Another diapering essential. I recommend having a diaper cream and/or ointment at the ready in your caddy and another at your nursery changing table too.
  4. Changing Pad - A portable changing pad that folds or rolls up small allows you to change a diaper anywhere-- on the couch, on your bed, etc. without worrying about making a mess underneath baby.
  5. Lotion – Newborn baby skin goes through some weird stages and extreme dryness is definitely one of them. I always have baby lotion and a super moisturizing ointment at the ready so that I can moisturize Hannah’s skin. And post-diaper change while you’ve already wrestled your baby out of her pajamas is the perfect time for that.
  6. Socks – Especially when Hannah was very little, I was always concerned she was too cold. Her bare feet always seemed freezing! Have an extra pair of socks in the caddy for when things get chilly—or for when your baby inevitably kicks one or both of her socks off and you can’t locate them.
  7. Burp Cloth – You never want to find yourself with an infant that’s just eaten and no burp cloth. That is almost always when you’ll find yourself with spit up down the front (or back) of your shirt. Always be prepared with a spare burp cloth!
  8. Change of Clothes – Babies are messy and it’s not uncommon that they’ll end up needing at least one change of clothes throughout the day. Keep a spare onesie in the caddy so that you’ve got it at the ready when a mess strikes!
  9. Hand Sanitizer – Hand sanitizer is a quick and easy way to clean your hands after a diaper change or even to quickly rid your hands of germs before handling your little one. They put everything in their mouths-- including your hands—so make sure they’re clean!
  10. Small Toy – Having a small toy within arm’s reach (like this little ring of links) is a great way to keep a baby distracted while you deal with a diaper change!
  11. Washcloth – I like having a baby washcloth nearby for so many reasons. It’s a gentle way to wipe up a messy face or hands. It’s also helpful if you’re in the midst of treating cradle cap (which we are just getting over) so that you can moisten baby’s head before moisturizing and then clean her up afterward.
  12. Gas Drops – Hannah is generally a really happy baby. However, gas pain makes her absolutely miserable—and it usually strikes in the middle of the night. Gas drops are sometimes the only thing that will calm her, so we always make sure they are at the ready.
  13. Nasal Aspirator – A baby with a stuffy nose is usually an unhappy baby. They don’t love having their noses cleaned out either, but a nasal aspirator is a necessary evil—especially when you’re trying to feed or put your stuffed up baby to sleep.
  14. Pacifier – My pacifiers seem to vanish into thin air. They’re either in some pacifier blackhole somewhere or in my dog’s belly… I’m hoping for the former! So, I like to make sure there’s always one stashed in the caddy for when a cranky baby needs soothing.
  15. Bib – You may have noticed the theme here that babies are messy. At about 3-4 months (where we currently are), they begin to drool nonstop. Be prepared with a cotton bib for baby to roll around in, which will spare her outfit from getting totally soaked!
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