The Mother of All Bloody Marys–A Del’s Bloody

This is the Helen of Troy of Bloody Marys.

The holy grail of bloodies.  The Bloody Mary that I compare all other bloodies to.  This Bloody Mary is from the La Crosse bar Del’s.  I have searched in vain for a comparable bloody in the Twin Cities.  And there is no substitute.  Made with classic tomato juice, a heavy pour of vodka, and spiked with couple shakes from a pepper shaker mixture of 23 spices, it’s smooth and gritty at the same time.  And Del’s does not skimp on the toppings.  Dressed with a large dill pickle, an olive, a pickled brussel sprout, and huge chunk of pepper jack cheese along with any beer on tap (go for the Pearl Street Downtown Brown-another La Crosse classic), this Bloody Mary really is a meal in a glass.

Del’s easily wins as my favorite bar in La Crosse, and whenever I am in town, the visit isn’t complete without a trip for a Del’s bloody.  Still, I miss my Tuesday afternoons spent sipping bloodies and pbrs with Leslie. Gah. Growing up is tough!

And if it is not obvious enough already–Del’s wins 5 out of 5 stars.  Maybe 6.

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Black Bean Burgers with Guacamole

Grilling season is upon us! After a not-so-brutal winter, I miss the summer cookouts.  As much as I love a good hamburger, red meat is not the healthiest of options.  This black bean alternative is a great substitute and tastes better than a beef burger.  Top it off with guacamole, this burger is an instant summer classic.  This comes in at only 5 Weight Watcher’s Plus Points compared to the 8 Weight Watcher’s Plus Points for a 98% lean beef burger (patties only. buns are extra points).  I paired this meal with my sesame garlic green beans.

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Peppermint Surprise

Peppermint Patties are my kryptonite.  I can never eat just one.  Or even two.  I pretty much can eat an entire bag in one sitting and feel hardly any shame.  And at one Weight Watcher’s Plus Point per patty, my 26 points per day can get depleted quickly.  Still, I allow myself to indulge an a couple every once in a while–especially when finals come around.  So when I found this cookie recipe, I had to try it out.  It combines my peppermint patty love with my chocolate love.  Can’t ask for much more!  I made these for the students in the class I TA for, and I am very proud to say I didn’t eat a single cookie.  My willpower is strengthening thanks to my good friend Krystal who tries to keep my sweet tooth in check (an almost impossible task).  These cookies do take a bit longer to make than most, but they are definitely worth the extra effort.

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Chocolate Covered S’mores

I have been meaning to bake more, but I have zero faith in my will power.  Last week I bought frosted animal crackers and ate half of the box in under a half hour.  My sweet tooth is out of control.  So I just have to remove all sweets from my temptations all together and not bake.  But, I have had some requests for some sweet recipes.  I work as a teaching assistant to a criminal law professor at school, and we had a practice exam coming up.  It was the perfect time to try out some new dessert recipes without devouring the entire batch myself.

Matt really took the lead in baking this.  He wanted something fun and easy (and that included marshmallows).  This recipe was just that–and it allowed him to throw chocolate at me so it was a win-win for him.  He was pretty proud of his results.

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Ceviche Fresco Cocktail

In college, I worked at Manny’s, an upscale Mexican restaurant.  The food is amazing there!  I’ve worked at a lot of restaurants (waitress from the age of 14), and Manny’s was my favorite–from the excellent food, clean kitchen, and use of fresh ingredients to the most amazing people to work with–I definitely miss working there when the long hours of law school start to wear on me.

One of the best appetizers on the menu is the ceviche.   Always fresh, it compliments a Perfecta Margarita wonderfully.  The anniversary of the opening of the Eau Claire location of Manny’s is this Friday.  So it seemed fitting to try out my own ceviche recipe.  Since I’m working on a budget, I didn’t use scallops or red snapper like Manny’s ceviche, but it is a good substitute to hold me over til I make my way back to La Crosse and can enjoy the original.  Serve with chips, over lettuce or on a tostada.  This is only 5 Weight Watcher Plus Points for a little less than a cup.

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Better Than Take-Out Orange Chicken

Growing up in a small town means no Chinese food restaurant.  So the first thing I did when I got my driver’s license was drive to the near-by town with my best friend to go to the Chinese buffet.  It was the ultimate sign of freedom.  (although we somehow managed to get lost driving home from Marshfield.  To this day, I have no idea how we did that).

Now that I live in the “big city” getting Chinese food is less of a special event, but it still tastes just as delicious.  Unfortunately, the deep fried dishes and heavy sauces take a toll on the waistband.  This healthy version of Orange Chicken doesn’t sacrifice any of the taste and cuts down the calories.  Instead of deep frying the chicken, the chicken is sauteed.  Plus, the sauce is full of fresh ingredients and low-sodium soy sauce.  Place this chicken and sauce over rice, and it makes a great meal.  Matt and I aren’t big fans of rice so we opted out of the rice.  Without rice, this meal is 5 Weight Watchers Plus Points.

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Bang Bang Shrimp

Since I am in the middle of p90x, our kitchen hasn’t fried anything in a long time.  And for Matt, that was a huge change.  Before he moved to the cities, his nights were spent making homemade chicken wings and fries at least 5 nights a week with his roommates.  He was the fry king.  And while the food was tasty, it definitely wasn’t healthy.  After 6 months of marriage and my healthier choices of meals, Matt has lost 10 pounds (and he never works out! Only a guy…).  But, after finding this recipe, I knew I had to make this for him–if not only for old time sake.

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Nicole’s Easter Chicks

Hi Everyone!  I am Nicole, Lindsay’s sister-in-law, and this is my first guest post for Cremona’s Kitchen.  Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. What’s better than chocolate, dying eggs and spending time with family? This Easter, however, I decided to bring something home to share with everyone. And I must say, this fun twist on traditional deviled eggs is quite adorable.

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