friyay happy hour: spicy citrus slinger

these days, time for my good friends who don't live down the street is pretty much limited to occasional facetimes and phone calls. and while those important times connecting verbally are great, there is no substitute for girl time. i love my husband, but he is just no substitute for my besties. 

but, i'm about to fill up girl time tank. i'm headed out of town this weekend to ojai with some of my best gals for some much needed recharging. so i'm going to keep this friyay happy hour short and sweet. and spicy. 

spicy citrus slinger 
serves: 1 cocktail 
prep time: 3 minutes 
active time: 1 minute 
total time: 4 minutes 
ingredients: 2 oz vodka. 2 oz orange juice. 1 oz lime juice. 1 oz st. germain. .5 oz simple syrup. 6 jalapeno slices with minimal seeds. shaker. 1 cup ice. 
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fill the shaker with all the liquid and add 4 of the jalapeno slices. shake well to combine. 
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fill your serving glass with the remaining ice. pour the shaker contents over ice. 
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garnish with the remaining jalapeno slices and serve. 
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xo, a

spicy citrus slinger
serves: 1 cocktail
prep time: 3 minutes
active time: 1 minute
total time: 4 minutes
ingredients: 2 oz vodka. 2 oz orange juice. 1 oz lime juice. 1 oz st. germain. .5 oz simple syrup. 6 jalapeno slices with minimal seeds. shaker. 1 cup ice.
tart by filling your shaker with half the ice. fill the shaker with all the liquid and add 4 of the jalapeno slices. shake well to combine. fill your serving glass with the remaining ice. pour the shaker contents over ice. garnish with the remaining jalapeno slices and serve. 

easy sunday sauce

even though a may look it, i am NOT italian. but i've always felt a little bit like i was. with my olive skin, fiery personality and strong affinity for fresh pastas and garlic, i've always connected with the italian culture and people. so much so, that i married an italian guy. 

i must have been italian in another life because as soon as i started to learn to cook, i was drawn to italian cooking. and when wes and i went to visit my brother who played water polo in rome for a year, i never felt more at home. so it is no surprise that homemade pastas and sauces have become my specialties. 

now that the weather is cooling and swim lessons are slowing, i THOUGHT i would have a bit more time on my hands. WRONG. things seem to be crazier than ever for both me and wes. so i've taken to making easy staples that we can keep in the fridge and pull out at the drop of the hat. 

this sauce is perfect because it is low maintenance to make, can easily be tweaked with a few of your favorite ingredients and can be stored for a week in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer. since wes likes a little extra animal protein, you could quickly cook up so ground beef or turkey and then add your stored sauce to make a delicious meat sauce. i like a sauce full of delicious mushrooms. so i saute them up, add the sauce and voila. sauce perfection. OR, you can just serve this sauce up as is with your favorite homemade or store bought pasta. i served mine up with my favorite trader joes lobster ravioli because at the moment, ain't nobody in this house got time for that! 

easy sunday sauce 
serves: 4 cups 
prep time: 10 minutes 
active time: 40 minutes 
total time: 50 minutes 
ingredients: 1 brown onion, diced. 5 garlic cloves, minced. 2 tbs olive oil. 2 cups dry red wine (you can read all about how to choose the right wine HERE). 3 tbs tomato paste. .25 cup chopped fresh basil. 3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped. 1 tbs dried italian spice blend (great to keep on hand). 4 cups (3 15 oz cans) tomato sauce. 1 cup of water. 3 tbs sugar. 1 tbs kosher salt. .5 tbs fresh ground black pepper. 
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in a large heavy pot over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onions and garlic. season with three pinches of your salt and 1 of your pepper. cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. about 5-7 minutes. 
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turn up the heat to medium high and pour in half the red wine, your dried herbs and two more pinches of salt and one more of pepper. stirring as the wine cooks down, scraping up any brown bits created by the cooking onions. cook the wine down until it almost completely evaporated, 3-5 minutes. 
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add in the tomato paste and give it a good stir till the paste is completely combined. 
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add in your your fresh herbs and a couple more pinches of salt and one of pepper. stir well to combine. 
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pour in the tomato sauce and the water. 
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add in the remaining wine, the sugar and the remaining salt and pepper and give everything a good stir. 
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bring your sauce to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium. let it cook down until the sauce has reduced and thickened so that you can see the sauce line on your pot has gone down about an inch. about 20-30 minutes. make sure to taste the sauce to make sure all the alcohol has cooked out. trust me, it will taste a bit boozy if it hasn't. 
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then serve with your favorite pasta or store in the fridge or freezer till you are ready to use. 
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xo, a

easy sunday sauce
serves: 4 cups
prep time: 10 minutes
active time: 40 minutes
total time: 50 minutes
ingredients: 1 brown onion, diced. 5 garlic cloves, minced. 2 tbs olive oil. 2 cups dry red wine (you can read all about how to choose the right wine HERE). 3 tbs tomato paste. .25 cup chopped fresh basil. 3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped. 1 tbs dried italian spice blend (great to keep on hand). 4 cups (3 15 oz cans) tomato sauce. 1 cup of water. 3 tbs sugar. 1 tbs kosher salt. .5 tbs fresh ground black pepper.
in a large heavy pot over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onions and garlic. season with three pinches of your salt and 1 of your pepper. cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. about 5-7 minutes. turn up the heat to medium high and pour in half the red wine, your dried herbs and two more pinches of salt and one more of pepper. stirring as the wine cooks down, scraping up any brown bits created by the cooking onions. cook the wine down until it almost completely evaporated, 3-5 minutes. add in the tomato paste and give it a good stir till the paste is completely combined. add in your your fresh herbs and a couple more pinches of salt and one of pepper. stir well to combine. pour in the tomato sauce and the water. add in the remaining wine, the sugar and the remaining salt and pepper and give everything a good stir. bring your sauce to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium. let it cook down until the sauce has reduced and thickened so that you can see the sauce line on your pot has gone down about an inch. about 20-30 minutes. make sure to taste the sauce to make sure all the alcohol has cooked out. trust me, it will taste a bit boozy if it hasn't. then serve with your favorite pasta or store in the fridge or freezer till you are ready to use.