Your week is back in full swing and it is time to get down to business.

I like getting down to business … with pesto.

I would exfoliate with pesto.
I would use it as the air freshener in my car.
I would wear it. But since I can’t, yes, I decided to wear the colors of the Italian flag in my photo instead.
Gotta get in that mind set, ya know? Toss some Dean Martin on the iPod, pop open a bottle of vino, get after it.

Pesto is great. Basic. Versatile. INCREDIBLY Magic Bullet friendly. A great weeknight go to.

A nice spin on your traditional pesto – sundried tomato pesto.

Toss with over pasta, add it to a panini, use it as sauce on a pizza.

Below I have listed the recipe I use for my sundried tomato pesto, as well as some additional ideas listed below. Make extra, keep it in the fridge, have it on hand, and dive in.

SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO:
Magic Bullet Parts:
[1] Magic Bullet tall cup
[1] Magic Bullet short cup
[1] Magic Bullet cross blade
[1] Magic Bullet flat blade

Ingredients:
[3/4 lb.] penne pasta, cooked in lightly salted water
[1 cup] drained, oil packed sundried tomatoes
[3/4 cup] extra virgin olive oil
[3] garlic cloves
[2 ½ tablespoons] pignoli nuts, toasted [optional]
[1/2 cup] packed, fresh basil leaves
[1/2 cup] bulleted pecorino romano

Recipe:
– Add pasta to boiling, lightly salted water
– To short cup, add sundried tomatoes
– Pulse with flat blade until broken up, not pureed – set aside
– To tall cup add olive oil, garlic, pignoli nuts, basil, pecorino romano

TIP: Buy a wedge of good pecorino romano from the cheese section of your grocery store. Cut into 1” cubes and blend with cross blade until grated. Keep in fridge and use with shaker top!
– Blend until smooth
– Add pesto and sundried tomatoes to bowl with pasta and toss together
– Top with additional pecorino romano
– Breathe it. Live it. Love it. Eat it.

DIFFERENT SPINS ON THIS RECIPE:
This is great to make ahead, toss in the fridge and serve as a pasta salad.
Other nights I will toss it over some fresh tortellini, add some shrimp or some grilled, sliced chicken – fabulous.
Onto focaccia bread add grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, sundried tomato pesto – for panini amazingness.

Summer is ending and sadness is setting in. If you are like me, and some blended herbs, oil and cheese make you happy, then this should spice up your week.

And on that extremely chubby comment, I wish you all a very happy Tuesday.

Happy Blending my little chefs – from my big heart in Boston, to Yours.

Xox – your Kitchen Magician, Lauren.

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GREEK DRESSING [ from video ]

Magic Bullet parts:
[1] Magic Bullet tall cup
[1] Magic Bullet cross blade

Ingredients:
[1 cup] extra virgin olive oil
[1 cup] red wine vinegar
[3] cloves garlic – halved
[3] fresh basil leaves, torn
[2 teaspoons] fresh ground black pepper
[2 teaspoons] salt
[2 teaspoons] onion powder
[2 1/2 teaspoons] dried oregano
[2 teaspoons] Dijon mustard

Directions:
– Add all ingredients to tall cup
– Blend for about 15 seconds until smooth

GREEK BRUSCHETTA WITH HOMEADE PITA CHIPS [ from video ]

Magic Bullet parts:
[1] Magic Bullet short cup
[1] Magic Bullet cross blade

Ingredients:
[approx. 1/4 — ½ cup] GREEK DRESSING (recipe listed above)
[2] store bought pitas
[1/4 cup] extra virgin olive oil
[1 teaspoon] salt (to taste)
[1 teaspoon] black pepper (to taste)
[2] red peppers, finely chopped
[3/4 cup] pitted, kalamata olives
[3/4 cup] crumbled feta cheese

Directions:
PITA CHIPS
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– Line baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent chips from sticking
– Stack the pitas, and cut 4 times to make 8 slices per pita, shaped like pizza slices
– Cut each slice along fold again to give you 32 pita slices total
– Place slices onto parchment paper
– In small bowl add olive oil, salt, pepper [optional: garlic powder, roasted garlic]
– Brush each of the slices with the olive oil mixture
– Bake for 15 minutes, remove and set aside

While the PITA CHIPS are cooking — begin working on BRUSCHETTA topping:

– Add kalamata olives to short cup
– Pulse with cross blade until olives are broken down, NOT pureed
– Add olives, feta cheese and red peppers to bowl
o NOTE: This topping is also great with some chopped onion or diced cucumber
– Stir to combine
– Toss with GREEK DRESSING to coat — you do not want it drenched

– Put pita chips onto serving dish and spoon approximately one tablespoon of the filling onto each pita chip
o TIME SAVER: If you are running late, use the mixture as a dip instead and place the chips around it

**ADDITIONAL RECIPE: Save any extra bruschetta topping and add it to a piece of grilled chicken or fish

CHOPPED GREEK SALAD
Magic Bullet parts:
N/A

Ingredients:
[approx. 1/3 cup] GREEK DRESSING (recipe listed above)
[6 cups] chopped romaine lettuce (you could use iceberg, or hearts of romaine — I just prefer romaine)
[2] tomatoes, chopped
[1] cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
[1/2 cup] red onion, finely chopped
[1/2 cup] sliced, ripe black olives
[1/2 cup] crumbled, feta cheese

Directions:
– Add lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta cheese to a large bowl
– Toss with dressing
o NOTE: Great with GRILLED CHICK WITH A KICK (recipe listed below) chopped

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‘SHREEK’ it is so good PASTA SALAD — Shrimp. + Greek. Get it?
Magic Bullet parts:
[1] Magic Bullet short cup
[1] Magic Bullet cross blade

Ingredients:
[3/4 cup] GREEK DRESSING (recipe listed above)
[1 lb.] orzo pasta, cooked al dente [firm — do not overcook until it is mushy]
[1 lb.] shrimp, peeled and deveined and fully cooked
[1] cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
[2 cups] cherry tomatoes, halved
[1] red onion, chopped
[1] yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
[1] red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
[1 cup] pitted kalamata olives
[3 Tablespoons] toasted pignoli nuts [also labeled as ‘pine nuts’ — for when you are grocery shopping]

Directions:
– When orzo is finished cooking and drained, toss with a TINY bit of olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside
– Add kalamata olives to short cup
– Pulse with cross blade until olives are broken down, NOT pureed
– In a large bowl add shrimp, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, kalamata olives and GREEK DRESSING
– Toss to combine
– Add orzo and combine
– Top with toasted pignoli nuts

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GRILLED CHICK WITH A KICK
Magic Bullet parts:
N/A

Ingredients:
[1/2 cup] GREEK DRESSING (recipe listed above)
[4] boneless chicken breasts

Directions:
– Add chicken breasts and GREEK DRESSING to a large, zip locked baggie in the morning
– Place in refrigerator
– If someone is home mid day, turn bag onto it’s other side
– Place onto grill, and cook until white all the way through — pink should be gone when you cut into it
– Toss onto a salad, over rice, by itself — whatever floats your boat

Terrific Tuesdays

Tuesdays are always terrific – right?

And if you are lucky enough to live in the northeast like me, this rain and extreme humidity that has made for a fabulous, high-gloss complexion for the past two days has been a fantastic added bonus……………………

Now let’s be serious for a moment.

Is any recipe with the word ‘dip’ in it ever a bad?

In my opinion, no. Are dips always the most healthy things in the world? Again, that is a big fat no.

Below is a recipe for one of my ‘go-to’ dips when I have some of my more health conscious friends over – but there is NO sacrifice made in terms of taste, I promise you that.

BLACK BEAN DIP – Don’t sell yourself short, do it.

[1] Magic Bullet tall cup
[1] Magic Bullet cross blade

[1 can] rinsed, drained black beans
[1 Tablespoon] tomato paste
[1 Tablespoon] extra virgin olive oil
[2] cloves of garlic, chopped
[2 teaspoons] lime juice
[1/2 teaspoon] ground cumin
[1/2 teaspoon] salt (to taste)
[1/2 teaspoon] cayenne pepper (to taste)
[2] green onions, chopped
[2 Tablespoons] mild green chilies, chopped

– Add all ingredients to the tall cup
– Pulse until well blended and almost all beans are broken up
– Serve with your favorite corn chips, pita chips, or for those waist watching folks, a veggie platter
– If you have had a rough day, a beer is a fantastic addition

** ADDITIONAL RECIPE – Below I have listed a recipe for BLACK BEAN BURGERS – made with your BLACK BEAN DIP –
– Take your black bean dip and add to a bowl
– Add [1] egg,
– [1/2 cup] of seasoned bread crumbs
– [1/2] green pepper finely chopped
– [1/2] vidalia onion finely chopped
– Shape into patties
– Spray frying pan on medium heat with non-stick cooking spray
– Add patties and cook on both sides for about 4 minutes, or until cooked all the way through
– These are delicious. No bread needed delicious. I like to top them with a couple of slices of avocado, couple tablespoons of salsa, amazingness.

You have to try everything AT LEAST once.

It’s the words I live by. And you should too. So give it a shot, and enjoy.

Happy Blending kiddos –

Xo – Lauren

Thursday ….. oy is a toughie.

You are so close, yet so far.

The weekend itch is starting.

The AM shift at the coffee joint is getting testy.

Your kids may be approaching that ‘off the wall / I haven’t fed you candy today and don’t understand how you can be this hyper stage’.

You can FEEL that underlying excitement vibe all around… but you still have Friday to deal with.

On that note – let’s break it down.

A little background – I LIVE for embracing, entertaining and over feeding my loved ones.

And when time permits – and Thursday hits, the weekend planning is going full throttle.

This weekend I have volunteered to host my dear cousin and biggest Kitchen Magician Competition supporter, Danielle’s bachelorette party. Approximately nine lovely ladies in their mid-twenties will be shacking it up with me – and yes … it is time to get down.

Saturday is going to be a busy day around the city with many agenda items on the list – but once the late afternoon hits – we are hitting my roof deck, hitting the bullet, and taking a knee before my own little wolf pack heads out the town.

And what better way to unwind for a hot minute than diving face first into a CITRUS BERRY CHILLER

My favorite ingredient – limoncello. What I would do to bathe in limoncello.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with limoncello, it is an Italian liquor made with lemon, vodka, water and sugar, and then sits at room temperature – timing varies. Regardless, it is typically served chilled and is fabulous as an after dinner palate cleanser or sometimes used to spice up dessert recipes.

But for this weekend – and due to my fabulous cousin’s love for limoncello – we are using it to spice up our beverage.

Here we go –

*NOTE: For all beverage recipes, I will be including a ‘kid friendly’ variation as well. Yes, I love to go out and do event management for a living, but I was also an education major and certified to teach in the state of Massachusetts. The kiddos will never go by the way side J

CITRUS BERRY CHILLER

[1] serving

[1] Magic Bullet party mug

[1] Magic Bullet comfort lip ring

[1] Magic Bullet cross blade

[3/4 cup] frozen lemonade concentrate

[3/4 cup] unsweetened, frozen raspberries

[1/2 teaspoon] granulated sugar

[1/2 cup] chilled limoncello

*KID FRIENDLY: substitute limoncello with [1/2 cup] orange juice

–          Add all ingredients into the party mug

–          Blend for about 15 seconds

–          Screw on your comfort lip ring

–          Toss in a BIG FAT straw

–          E-N-J-O-Y

On that note – I hope you all have a safe and fantastic weekend! And use those bullets, baby.

Hugs & Happy Blending, from my heart to yours.

Xox –Lauren

Wishing you all a very Happy Hump Day and sending a HUGE hello straight from Boston – your Magic Bullet enthusiast and Kitchen Magician, Lauren. Buckle up – this kiddo is back.

Like the fabulous Miss Lizzie, you will be seeing some posts from me, along with some videos illustrating the wide range of capabilities the Magic Bullet Blender has to offer. I’ll be sharing with you some of my STAPLES. I’m talkin what I live and die by. And we are not playing around here – you will get a taste of everything – from weeknight shortcuts to weekend treats. Some for the kids –some for the adults. Regardless, they will ALL be recipes for success. I promise, I would never let you fail.

Keep an eye out for me, and do yourself a favor … let this Magic Bullet Magician into YOUR kitchen.

Hugs & Happy Blending, from my heart to yours.

Xox – Lauren