Key West Part Three

More Key West! I promise, this is my final installment of the Key West saga. I am back home now, but I just had to share with your guys the rest so you would be able to have as much fun as I did if you ever get the opportunity to get down here.

Key West | Beautiful Disasters

We went to the iconic Sloppy Joe’s, which is also known as Hemingway‘s bar. Yes, it is where Hemingway used to hang out “back in the day”. My mom and I just went there for an appetizer at around lunch time one day (I think Wednesday) and ordered an appetizer that came with a few onion rings, a few conch fritters, some mozzarella sticks, and wings.

Key West | Beautiful Disasters

Nothing in the appetizer really did much for me. Fried food doesn’t usually lift my skirt, unless it’s something like fish and chips, but it was decent and we were mostly there for the historical reasons.

Hemingway's skis!

Hemingway’s skis!

Key West | Beautiful Disasters

It was still a cool experience and I really enjoyed the key limeade I had there!

Key West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful Disasters

One last thing I would like to share with you guys is Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe.

Me and Kermit!

It’s this cute little bakery/candy/key lime-everything shop on the corner by where our shuttle from the hotel would pick us up and drop us off. We went in DAILY! One of my favorite parts of this little shop is that the guy who owns it (Kermit) is there basically everyday!!

Key West | Beautiful Disasters

I love it when owners of small businesses take pride and put in that kind of effort into their business. His shop sells every key lime thing you could possibly think of. His products have been featured on TV, like on Food Network, and in many other notable media outlets. He sure has made quite a name for himself.

Key West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful Disasters

His pie is sold all around Key West in many restaurants, and his products are sold in many Key West shops. He REALLY has it figured out! He has samples all over his store where you can basically sample everything from lotion to barbecue sauce to truffles.

Key West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful Disasters

You can also buy his products on-line. I bought a shirt, his key lime juice, key lime jelly beans, and key lime hard candies.

Key West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful Disasters

I was absolutely shocked at how much I loved the key lime candies. I think I may be addicted!

Key West | Beautiful DisastersKey West | Beautiful Disasters

There certainly are a bunch of interesting things to see and experience on Key West. If you can ever make it down here, I totally recommend it with my whole heart. I love it here, and seriously, I have never eaten a bad meal here. Ever. How often can you say that?!?

Example of interesting things around Key West

Example of interesting things around Key West

Random Fact of the Day: In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II was named an ‘Honorary Harlem Globetrotter.'”

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches-SRC Post!

It’s that time again!

Time for a little bit of the Secret Recipe Club (SRC), if you aren’t familiar with the whole SRC family and concept, you can read and find out more about it over here. Long story short, it’s a super fun group of bloggers with a cool idea that helps us get to know more bloggers and expand each other’s blogs.

This month I was assigned to get to know Erin over at The Spiffy Cookie. I just can NOT get enough of the adorable name and the cute little cookies all over her blog!!! She is currently working towards her PhD in Biomedical Science (woooeeeeeee! That sounds super impressive!!!) and her favorite food group is dessert which is awesome because mine totally is too!! If your favorite food group is not dessert…then I don’t know how you like qualify for being human. Anyways, she also dislikes mushrooms. I am the SAME way. They are just freaky and are a fungus and just not meant to go in my mouth.

With a blog name like The Spiffy Cookie I felt slightly obligated to make a cookie recipe. And I was THISCLOSE to making her Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Cookies, but then I just could not tear myself away from her intriguing Root Beer Pulled Pork. It was a close race but I ended up going with the pork.

You should stop by her post and see her outrageous root beer bottle collection, it is MONSTROUS!!!

You should also make this pulled pork. It is super duper yummy, flavorful, easy, and tender. I put all the meat and root beer in the crock pot in the morning, had it on for 6 hours while I was at work, got home drained it and added the BBQ sauce and put it on the warm setting, worked out, then came home and ate myself a scrumptious pulled pork sandwich. This recipe is perfect for any busy person who wants a delicious, home cooked meal!! :)

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches

(from The Spiffy Cookie)

2lb. pork tenderloin (pork shoulder or butt can also be used)

12 oz. can of root beer

18 oz. bottle of barbecue sauce

8 hamburger buns or french bread

  1. Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker and pour the can of root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until pork shreds easily with a fork.
  2. After pork has cooked, drain and discard the root beer. Shred the pork (I used 2 forks to do this) and place it back in the slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce over the pork and stir to combine. Serve immediately or keep warm in slow cooker until ready to serve. Serve on hamburger buns or with french bread.



Random Fact of the Day: The State of Florida is bigger than England.

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Remember that BBQ chicken grilled cheese sandwich that I made before? I pretty much wanted to marry that baby. It was a miraculous creation, if I do say so myself.

Anyhow, I made almost the same thing except quesadilla style! I LOVE quesadillas, just about as much as I love grilled cheese. If you think about it, I guess quesadillas are pretty much the tortilla version of a grilled cheese. Enough of this thinking nonsense, though!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Let’s make quesadillas! Super, super easy! I love making quesadillas and this was super simple, pretty much the same steps to make the bbq grilled cheese sandwich, except with a tortilla.

Oh, and did you see that up there!?! A slideshow! I’m feeling pretty fancy and techie right now :D Those pictures basically show you the steps to making these quesadillas, but as usual, I will give you all the directions below!

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

(for one quesadilla, makes 3 small triangles-serves one!)

1/4 cup caramelized onions

1/2 cup chicken, cooked

1/4 cup BBQ sauce, separate

2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

2 Tablespoons bacon bits (optional)

butter or oil

tortilla

  1. In a small bowl, combine caramelized onions, cooked chicken, and 2 Tablespoons of BBQ sauce until thoroughly mixed and combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat pan with about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. When hot and butter is melted, place tortilla in pan. Flip tortilla every 30-45 seconds, until large bubbles start to form.
  3. Turn down the heat to low. Spread remaining BBQ sauce on tortilla in thin layer across entire tortilla. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over BBQ sauce. Drop caramelized onions and chicken on ONE HALF of the tortilla (this is important that you just put this on one half, or else you will have chicken and onions everywhere). Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and bacon bits (if using) over entire tortilla.
  4. With the heat on as low as possible, place a lid over on top for about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, or until mozzarella is melty.
  5. Fold the tortilla, flipping the side that doesn’t have chicken on it over the side that does have the chicken and onions on it. Place on a plate, cut into triangles, and ENJOY! :D
NOTES:
  • this recipe is super flexible, use your own judgement on the amounts of stuff you like on here. I’m not a huge BBQ sauce person so I like to go light on mine-do as YOU like!
  • this would be super awesome with black beans, too! (for some reason I feel like baked beans could be kind of good on here, too weird??)
Random Fact of the Day: With the invention of the light bulb, Americans averaged 1.5 hours less sleep per night.

BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese

I have to tell ya…I’m not a big fan of saucy stuff.

I don’t like pasta drowning in marinara. Fettucini with Alfredo sauce almost always makes me feel sick to my stomach. A piece of chicken smothered in BBQ sauce makes me want to cry. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that it makes me want to cry.

I can be a total drama queen when I want to. There was a particular time that I remember where I threw a pretty big fuss over a sandwich I got at a restaurant. This was a couple years ago…I’m actually kind of embarrassed to even think about this, but what the heck. I’ll tell you anyways.

So my parents and I went down to U of I to visit my sister for the day and we had a nice time as we always do. I love going down to the campus and feeling like I’m some big bad college kid. Anyways, we decided on going to the Barbecue joint that was in the area that was supposedly pretty good. The place had a very southern atmosphere and I really liked how it felt in there! It took me a bit to decide what I wanted to order and I finally picked the shredded BBQ chicken sandwich. We got to see them on the other side of the counter as they assembled our meals and I watched the girl pick out a nice fluffy bun, plop some chicken on top, and then it happened. I wanted to scream. My eyes literally started to water. I know, I’m weird. She took a big ‘ol ladle and poured barbecue sauce all over. Everywhere. I decided that I would just suck it up and take the sauce sandwich. I didn’t want to throw a fit. I’m a high schooler, I should be able to handle these things right?

Wrong.

I took a couple bites out of the sandwich when we sat down, but I just couldn’t do it. The bun was totally ruined (to me it was). It felt and tasted soggy from the monstrous amount of sauce. It felt like I was eating a sandwich of bread soaked in sauce with a teeny bit of chicken. Now, I told you I am definitely capable of being a drama queen. So my mom noticed I was having troubles getting myself to eat the sandwich. So we went up there, got another sandwich and this time I was SURE I ordered it with sauce on the side.

I don’t even know how I became like this. I mean when I was really little, I would take the bottle of Ranch dressing and just pour and pour and pour that stuff on my salads at dinner. It was usually Ranch soup with some lettuce. Thinking about it totally gives me the gags now, but back then it was just the norm for me. Funny how people’s palates change.

Anyways, I made this version of a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s kind of a hybrid of a grilled cheese and a panini. What’s going in here is some chicken that has been drizzled, yes just barely covered, with BBQ sauce. I still totally embrace BBQ sauce, but I’m more of a dipper than a smotherer. Then there’s some parmesan and mozzarella cheese, with a little bit of sautéed onion. It’s almost like my BBQ chicken pizza in sandwich form! This is probably my absolute favorite sandwich I have ever made. I can totally see myself making this on a weekly basis. It takes hardly any time to prepare and most of the ingredients are usually hanging around the house.

BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese

2 slices of bread (I used whole wheat)

about 1/4 cup chicken, cooked and cut into bite size pieces*

about 3 Tablespoons barbecue sauce

about 1/4 of an onion, sautéed*

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

about 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons butter or oil

1 Tablespoon of bacon bits, optional

  1. Place cooked, cut up chicken in a small bowl and combine with barbecue sauce and sautéed onion. Set aside.
  2. Heat up skillet (if you have a panini press I recommend using that because it will save you a little mess because the chicken pieces can make flipping the sandwich a bit of a challenge) on stove on about medium heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Place one piece of bread, buttered side down, on hot skillet. Turn heat down to low-medium. Place parmesan cheese on bread. Spoon chicken mixture on top of parmesan cheese. If you’re in a meaty kind of mood, throw in your bacon bits. Add mozzarella cheese. Top with final piece of bread, buttered side facing up and away from chicken and cheese. Turn the heat back up to about medium.
  3. About 2 minutes after the first piece of bread was laid down, or until the cheese starts melting a little bit, flip the sandwich over. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until desired doneness (<– apparently that IS a word). Keep flipping if you are not yet at your desired doneness. Enjoy!
* I cooked my chicken and sautéed the onions a day ahead to make preparation fast and easy.

Random Fact of the Day: Every cigarette smoked cuts at least five minutes of life on average, which is roughly the time it takes to smoke one cigarette.