2015: Our Best Year Yet!

With out going overboard on New Year resolutions I have a few things that I am committing myself to this year. It has been a crazy adventure since we got to Puerto Rico in 2012 and I have been giving myself a lot of “room” or leeway to not do things to my normal standards. For the last half of 2012, there were a lot of things happening and they all contributed to our lives being a little crazy:
Tavis changed jobs and it required 6 months of us living on the road and moving states every few months.
During that job training I was pregnant with our son, Aiden. He was born the last month of Tavis’s training and we moved states to the next training location when he was 3 days old.

Grandma’s Gingerbread Cookies

So this is Tavis writing… Normally my contribution to Leaving The Rut is editing some of Ashley’s pictures, taste testing, continually telling Ashey that she needs to get some “new content up” and generally being a supportive cheerleader :). Today however, I was compelled to sit down and actually make a physical contribution to “our” (mostly Ashley’s) growing blog… “Why?” you may ask, am I using my almost metaphysical powers of composition today? Especially for gingerbread cookies??? Well, simply stated… I got the look…
Ashley has had a lot of fun over the last year putting this blog together and the numbers are growing, I mean they are really growing…

Knife and Fork Chili Burgers

We left Puerto Rico two weeks ago and have been on the road since then. I spent four days in Washington, DC visiting with my sister and her family while Tavis was up there for business then we headed south to Florida and spent a week at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground with my other sister […]

Dark and Stormy at the Friday Afternoon Happy Hour

It was a Dark and Stormy night…. well not really but I always wanted to start a post like that. It is actually really sunny and bright out right now but I know this time of year the weather is much different for most of you so I thought I would share a new-to-me favorite […]

Caribbean Eggnog, aka Coquito at the Friday Afternoon Happy Hour!

It is hard to keep track of seasons when the high temperature in summer and winter only fluctuates 5 degrees… Summer high is 88-90ish and in winter the high is 83-85ish degrees. SO when I had the realization yesterday that Thanksgiving is in one week, I nearly had a heart attack!! I am not ready!!
Rather than panicking, I invited my friend Jenny over, and we mixed up a batch of Caribbean Eggnog, or better known here in Puerto Rico as coquito!! What better way to get in the Christmas spirit and get us ready for all the holiday craziness, than to mix up a yummy treat that is loaded with coconut, cinnamon and best of all… rum!!

Best Ever Game Day Chili

When I am in the mood for Chili, the last thing I want is a bland bowl of tomato and ground beef that someone decided to call Chili. I want slow simmered, layers of flavor, keeps you on your toes guessing what is in it until the last. delicious. bite. THAT is Chili! I have a recipe for you today that will set you well on your way to perfecting chili to exactly how you think it should be. This recipe has several “less-used” chili ingredients. They are not unheard-of but the are not usually commonplace in your grandmas chili recipe.

Parmesan Crusted Oven Baked Chicken aka “Frickin’ Chicken”

Soooo, if you were to ask anyone in my family if they like Parmesan Crusted Oven Baked Chicken you probably wouldn’t get a big reaction… that is not because they dislike this dish. On the contrary this is a family favorite in our house! The issue that you will run into is that everyone knows it by a different name. But, for the sake of this blog I figured that I would change the name to be a little more “user friendly”.
As a kid growing up, we would always come up with odd names for things, the more that my mom protested, the more my dad and us kids would use it! So at some point when I was about 10 years old, this dish got the name “Frickin Chicken”. My mom was not pleased but the more she frowned the more the name was cemented in and 25 years later everyone is still calling it that.

Dry Rub for Pork

Out of all the things that we cook on the Big Green Egg (BGE) there isn’t anything that Tavis gets more enjoyment out of than smoking a pork shoulder all. day. long.
He gets up much earlier than the usual to 6am makes sure the at the rub is perfectly applied. He painstakingly cleans out the old charcoal and makes sure that the place setter and other parts of the BGE are set up properly. He watches the temperature with the diligence of a nervous new parent who cannot leave the crib side as their baby sleeps, except he is usually sipping a beer as he watches the temperature… ok there were probably better analogies but lets move on.

Skinny Mai Tai – Friday Afternoon Happy Hour

We are back again for the Friday Afternoon Happy hour! I am currently in China, but I put together one of my favorite drinks last week to share with you all! If you want to follow along with us while we are in China, check us out on Instagram! If you google Mai Tai you […]

Pumpkin Pie Spice Puppy Chow

In the Fall spirit, I put together my own version of Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow to share with you guys today. I don’t normally experiment with recipes… I like things that I know work… but I tried this recipe out on a few friends and they loved it so I figured I would share it with you fine folks. Here is what you will need: 6 cups Chex Cereal… I think that the cinnamon version would be best but I used the plane stuff and it was great!!
1 Bag of white chocolate chips
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 box of powder sugar
2 Tbs pumpkin pie spice

Southern green beans with bacon honey dijon dressing

For as long as I can remember my mom has made green beans the same way. It was the way her daddy made then (my Grandaddy) and the way that she tough me to make them. steamed with a little onion and a chuck of fatback (bacon or ham will do in a pinch) last year she turned me on to this recipe and with a few tweaks it has become our go-to green bean recipe… and they are addictive!!
Start off with your bacon. Cut the bacon into approx 1 inch pieces and fry over medium heat. The small pieces make it easier to cook evenly. Does anyone else have a problem with the center of the slice of bacon cooking really quick and leaving you with raw spots on the ends? I don’t usually cook my bacon in a wok but I do for this recipe because you will keep adding things to your frying pan and the wok gives you enough room to stir and toss the green beans with plenty of room

Dry Rub for Chicken

We love to cook on our Big Green Egg (BGE) and use just about any excuse to bring it out. We have only smoked chicken a half dozen time and each time we do we ale ourselves why we don’t smoke chicken more often. It has always turned out AMAZING! Our favorite dry rub, that we have developed with a little trial and error, is great on smoked chicken or grilled chicken. I haven’t tried it out anywhere else but I’m sure it will work well with most way to cook chicken. If you want a rub for pork, check out our Pork Dry Rub that I will be sharing soon.

Caribbean Rum and Coke at the Friday Afternoon Happy Hour

I never had much of a taste for Rum and Cokes… I would only have them served up at concerts and club like bars. It left me thinking they had actually served rubbing alcohol or kerosene. So when Tavis and I were dating and we were over at his parents house for a long weekend, I cringed (not visibly, only on the inside) when his mom brought rum and cokes out to the pool. Trying to make a good impression with his folks, I vowed that no matter how it tasted, I would sip away without making any weird faces.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

The past 3 years have been busy! Moving internationally, new born child and all the business that comes with that. We love Thanksgiving and Christmas! Family, friends, celebrating our faith, and especially the FOOD!!! This year I have vowed to make the most of this holiday season. Since I feel like we have missed the past few years, I decided to make my own Pumpkin Pie Spice for all of the cooking that I have planned over the next few months. Here is what you will need if you want to join in and make your own:

Friday Afternoon Happy Hour!! Skinny Mojito

When you mix a drink there are two things that contribute to the calories in the drink; 1) the alcohol and 2) the mixers. Since you cannot eliminate the alcohol (well you could but that would be no fun…) you need to control the calories with the mixers that you use.

In this case we are going to eliminate the simple syrup to make our skinny version. It ads about 50 calories and we are going to use the diet-tonic to sweeten the drink. We will also be leaving out the club soda since the diet-tionic covers that as well.