Thursday, October 31, 2013

Smokey Pumpkin Chili

Happy Halloween!!!

Whether you're watching your little ones march in a Halloween Parade, sprinting around the house to prepare for trick-or-treating, or hosting a Hocus Pocus watch party for your girls, this promises to be a busy night!

So, before the inevitable sugar rush has you and yours running amok (amok amuk amuck!), fill your bellies with this delicious (and easy and fast) protein-packed but still Halloween-appropriate meal. One pot and done. Before the little devils and spidermen and princesses start knocking at your door.

Smokey Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin seed garnish optional.


3 lbs ground beef
2 yellow onions, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 can pumpkin purée
Sauce from 1 can Chilpotle Peppers in Adobo (save the peppers for your pork)
2 cups beef stock
5 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 big pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper


In a large pot, warm olive oil over medium heat then add diced onion and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Once the onion becomes translucent add the ground beef. Stir continuously until the meat is browned. Pour in stock, adobo sauce and seasonings and stir to combine (don't forget to add salt and pepper at this step!). Let simmer of medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Add pumpkin and continue simmering for another 15 minutes. Re-season with salt, pepper, and chili powder (if necessary). Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Banana Pepper Pulled Beef

You can tell by now that I love my Crock-Pot. It makes preparing a week of meals in one afternoon so much simpler by freeing up my oven for other work. And on top of that, the food is delicious after cooking for hours in flavorful juice. So I always have a Crock-Pot recipe (or two) in mind, when I start meal planning for the week.

This recipe was inspired by an episode of Diners Drive-ins and Dives where they visited a restaurant that made italian beef sandwiches. I realized while watching the show that I haven't been to a deli in forever. Makes sense, but it's also sad. I used to love a roast beef (or turkey or tuna salad) sandwich piled high with deli sliced banana peppers.

So, I decided to take a page from my own recipe book and modify my popular Pepperoncini Pulled Pork to replicate the delicious deli flavors I've missed for so long. Unlike my pulled pork, I decided to keep the banana peppers out of the Crock-Pot to preserve their texture and bright flavor. I'm glad I did! I think you will be too.

Banana Pepper Pulled Beef

Pretty, right?


3 lbs beef roast
6 cloves garlic, diced
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 16 oz jar deli sliced banana peppers
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper


Add onion, garlic, and seasonings to your Crock-Pot. Place beef roast on top of the onions. Pour in beef stock and juice from the jar of banana peppers (reserve the peppers for later). Set on high and cook until beef pulls apart with a fork. About 5 hours. Turn off heat and let cool enough so that you don't scald yourself in the next steps.

Remove roast and onions from the Crock-Pot. Set aside. Pour juice into a medium skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces by half. While the sauce reduces, return the cooked roast and onions to the Crock-Pot bowl. Shred the roast using two forks. Add the sliced banana peppers. Pour the reduced sauce over the meat and peppers and combine well. Makes 8 servings.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

BLT Soup

Back in the old days, tomato soup was my go-to midnight snack. CaveBoy would doctor up a can of condensed soup with Emeril's Essence, and we'd share the bowl while we watched Futurama. It was warm and comforting and it put me right to sleep (just like my new go-to midnight snack).

Now that I know what high fructose corn syrup and wheat flour do to my body (and it ain't good!) I avoid condensed soup at all cost. Including missing out on the delicious, creamy, tomatoey, goodness of a steaming bowl of tomato soup. Until now.

I served this BLT Soup with baked chicken thighs for dinner last week. And it was just what the doctor ordered. The days are getting shorter, and it's pitch dark and chilly when I finally get home from work. After spending all day in a basement cubicle, missing the afternoon sun can feel like an added insult. But this warm, inviting bowl of soup washed all of those thoughts away, and set me on the right track for a relaxing evening.

BLT Soup

Classy. Right?


3 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 12 oz package thick-cut bacon, diced (look here for Whole30 Approved bacon)*
6 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 head romaine lettuce (just kidding - I only used lettuce for garnish)
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine (or replace with chicken stock for Whole30 option)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper


In a large pot cook diced bacon until fat is rendered out and bacon is fully cooked. Remove cooked bacon and set aside. Pour off 1/2 of the bacon grease and discard (or save in the refrigerator for breakfast). Re-heat remaining bacon grease over medium heat. Add onion and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion begins to brown. Add garlic and cook unit the veggies begin to caramelize. Pour in white wine (or chicken stock) and deglaze the pan. 

Add diced tomato, chicken stock, basil, red pepper, and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat so you don't scald yourself while you blend the soup. Remove bay leaf and discard. Blend the soup until it is creamy using your immersion blender. Re-season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cooked bacon. Makes 8 servings.

*Note: For my vegan friends (and YES! I have some of those, so don't judge...) you can replace the bacon with 2 tablespoons olive oil. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is a staple in many cultures. It is added to Vietnamese iced coffee and is a key ingredient in Mexican flan and other desserts. It was one of the tres leches in CaveBoy and my wedding cake. And it is an absolute necessity for pumpkin pie. Trust me.

I tried to avoid it when I first started eliminating refined sugar from our diet. But I just couldn't get the filling to come out right. It was too loose and nowhere near creamy enough. So I started making my own. First by further reducing evaporated milk, sweetened with a few tablespoons of sugar. Then when we cut sugar out altogether, I replaced it with reduced apple cider.

This past spring we cut out dairy. So when pumpkin pie season opened, I had to re-vamp my recipe again. And here it is: the new Silly Little CaveGirl standard. This Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk is perfectly paleo and relies only on fruit juice for its sweetness. It tastes delicious on its own and bakes up beautifully in a pumpkin pie (recipe coming soon).


Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk


1 can coconut milk
2 cups apple cider (or Simply Apple if cider is out of season)


Add coconut milk to a small pan over medium heat. Whisk together if the solids have separated. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until the coconut milk reduces to 1 cup.

While the coconut milk is reducing, pour apple cider into a large sauce pan (the more heated surface area you have in your pan, the faster this process will go). Boil cider over medium high heat until it becomes a syrup. You will know you're close when the whole surface starts to foam up. When that happens, lift the pan of the heat to judge the consistency. 

Once you have a cider-syrup, pour the condensed coconut milk into the cider pan and whisk until fully combined. Makes 1 cup.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Roast Chicken and Gravy

Warning: You have to start this recipe a day ahead!

I'm picky about roast chicken. I like my white meat to be just as juicy as my dark meat. I want the skin crispy and well seasoned. And I don't want the cooking to take all day. For the most part that means I buy my chickens already-cooked from the Peruvian restaurant down the hill (not a bad option). But I don't always crave the Peruvian flavor (it's OK to be shocked!) and there is carrageenan in grocery store rotisserie chicken (no bueno). That left me with no other option than to roast my own chickens.

To satisfy my roast-chicken-requirements without rigging a make-shift rotisserie in my oven, I applied the same technique CaveBoy and I use for our Thanksgiving turkey: Brine + Spatchcock.

We developed this technique after minutes of intensive research through a holiday issue of Martha Stewart Living. She recommended a brine for one of her roast turkey recipes and later in the issue she included step-by-step instructions for removing the backbone and flattening a turkey to reduce cooking time. We combined to two to great success and will never cook a turkey another way (ok maybe if we had a frier we'd try that. But that's it!).

So, knowing how delicious and amazing brined + spatchcocked poultry can be, I pulled together the necessary ingredients for my roast chicken. And I wasn't disappointed. The skin was crispy. The meat was juicy. And the spatchcocking process allowed me to use the removed chicken parts to create a delicious gravy. After the preparations and overnight part were done, I was able to pull the meal together pretty quickly. I'd recommend this one equally for cook-ahead CaveGirls (like me) and work-night paleo chefs.  

Roast Chicken and Gravy
To round out the meal, I made Bacon Braised Greens and
simply-baked acorn squash. It was magical.

For the chicken:


2 whole roasting chickens
4 bay leaves
1 head garlic, cloves smashed
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup pepper corns
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons rubbed sage
2 tablespoons dried tarragon
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried rosemarie, crushed
2 tablespoons grass fed butter (for roasting)
1 teaspoon dill seed


Remove the gizzard pouch from each chicken and set aside for the gravy. With a pair of kitchen scissors, spatchcock each chicken (aka remove the backbone so that the chicken can be flattened for cooking). Place the chickens in a large container (we use clean, unscented trash bags - because we're classy like that). Add all the ingredients to make the brine (everything on the list besides the butter). Add enough water so that the chickens are covered. Seal tightly and refrigerate overnight.

When you're about ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator, carefully remove the chickens from the brine, and arrange them on a baking sheet (you might need to use two baking sheets depending on your chickens). Press firmly on the breast bones to fully flatten the birds. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the butter into little chunks and arrange on the top of the chickens. Place in oven and roast at 450 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. About 45 to 55 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

For the gravy:


Gizzards from two chickens
Backbones from two chickens
6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 stalks celery, cut in half
1/2 yellow onion, cut into 4 pieces
1/3 cup potato starch (to thicken the gravy at the end)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons herbs de provence
Salt and pepper
Poultry seasoning


Place all ingredients (except potato starch) in your Crock-Pot. Fill with water. Set on high until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and let cook overnight. In the morning, remove from heat and let cool. Remove bones and strain liquid. Set aside until you are ready to make the gravy.

Pour eight cups of chicken stock into a large stock pot (store any remaining stock in freezer bags for future use). Bring to a boil. If you have the desire, and the timing is right, pour the pan drippings from the roasted chicken into the gravy pot. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together potato starch and 1 cup of cold water. Slowly pour potato starch slurry into boiling stock and whisk continuously (to avoid lumps). Return liquid to a boil. It should become a thickened gravy. Re-season with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste. Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pumpkin Bread

It's October.

That can only mean one thing.

It's time for pumpkin-flavored things! All the many delicious pumpkin breads and pies and drinks and smoothies and soups and stews and side dishes. Yum. Yum. Yum. It's a little-known fact that the 10th month of the year was named October because it is the primary month of pumpkin-picking season, and the capital "O" looks exactly like a pumpkin (I totally made that up).

We are a family of pumpkin super-fans. CaveBoy would eat pumpkin pie every single night if we had it in the house. He's been known to claim an entire pumpkin pie for himself on Thanksgiving morning (and hold us to that claim). And my sister and I spent our childhood fighting over my aunt's pumpkin bread.

Even though we now follow an anti-inflammation eating plan, our tastes haven't changed. We still love pumpkin-flavored things. So I've been working hard to develop paleo versions of our favorite recipes. Many of you might think, "oh, it's the holidays! It's just one time a year! Consider it a cheat and eat the real thing!" And you'd have a point... Except... I can't... I'm straight-up allergic to wheat. Too much sugar makes me feel awful. And I don't tolerate even the tiniest bit of dairy (yep. I know. I'm a mess.).

The good part about all that is I'm super-motivated to develop delicious, health-promoting versions of my favorite treats. And it means that you can take advantage of these recipes, to nourish yourself and enjoy the season, without declaring every day a cheat day.

This recipe took me four tries before I was happy. The first version was based on the batter for my Banana Cream Cake. The banana version was so amazing I figured it would be easy to make it into a pumpkin bread. Unfortunately, the bread turned out super dense (whereas the banana cake was light and airy). It tasted amazing. But it wasn't quite worthy of comparison with my aunt's traditional recipe.

Then I found a recipe for Naturally Red Velvet Cupcakes. These little babies look so delicious I just know they will be one of my go-to birthday treats. I also was attracted to the "velvety" texture for my pumpkin bread. So, I took note of the wet-to-dry ratios and started working on a pumpkin version.

While I stuck pretty true to her recipe (besides my addition of all the right seasonings), I did reduce the sweetener quite a bit. I find that most paleo treat recipes are overloaded with honey or maple syrup (at what point are they no longer paleo?), and they leave a funny taste in my mouth. I prefer to taste the pumpkin and the spices instead of just sweet. If you have more of a sweet tooth than I do, you might want to double the maple syrup (or try it my way first and see why I like it so much...).

Pumpkin Bread

So delicious, you won't want to share.


3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1/2 cup tapioca flour (starch)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup grass fed butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional, but recommended)
2 tablespoons orange juice (or apple cider)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients (coconut flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt). Make sure spices and baking powder are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and maple syrup. Add eggs, orange juice, vanilla, and pumpkin. Whisk to combine.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Whisk to fully combine.

Grease two small loaf pans with coconut oil spray. Pour in batter and smooth into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are brown, the center is firm, and the pumpkin bread passes the toothpick test. About 35 to 45 minutes.

You also could use this same recipe to make 12 pumpkin muffins. Just reduce the baking time to 30 to 35 minutes.

How pretty are these?

Monday, October 7, 2013

BBQ Beef Casserole

It's time for another casserole remix!

This BBQ Beef Casserole is a paleo-upgraded version of a BBQ-beef-with-tater-tots casserole recipe that my sister-in-law shared with CaveBoy back in the poor old days. It's super-economical and comforting after a hard day at work. So much so that CaveBoy overused the recipe when he was a bachelor and swore off of the concept entirely when we moved into our shared Cave.

Now (six years later) he's interested in the idea again. He even weighed in on my debate over topping the casserole with sweet potato rounds or sweet potato mash (because sweet po-tater tots are full of vegetable oil, sugar, and corn starch - ugh). Sweet potato rounds won out. And I'm happy with the result. It's a nice change of texture compared to my other starch-topped paleo casseroles and a little bit more interesting on the plate.

But the real question is: what does my sister-in-law think? This is a riff on her recommendation, after all. I know she's a Silly Little CaveGirl reader (hey girl!) and has tried some of my recipes in the past. I'll let you know if she sends any comments, and if this recipe passes the nephew-test. Fingers crossed!

BBQ Beef Casserole

I was a little too vigorous when I tossed the rounds with butter - and they disintegrated.

For the sauce*:


4 cups beef stock
4 cloves garlic, diced
4 dates, pitted and diced
2 jalapeños, finely diced
1 can tomato paste
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1/3 cup BBQ dry rub (I like Pork Barrel BBQ - I got it at Costco)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper


In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and cook until it just starts to brown. Pour in beef stock and vinegar. Add dates and bbq seasoning and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer 20 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Continue simmering until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

For the casserole:


3 lbs ground beef
8 small sweet potatoes (or 4 large)
2 yellow onions, diced
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons BBQ dry rub
1 tablespoon olive oil
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until potato is soft to the touch. About 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to touch. Once cool, cut sweet potato into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place rounds in a large bowl and toss with melted butter. 

While the sweet potatoes cook, add olive oil and diced onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Once the onions start to warm through, add the ground beef. Cook over medium heat until beef is browned. Add BBQ dry rub and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Pour browned beef into a medium baking dish. Pour homemade BBQ sauce over meat and spread into an even layer. Arrange buttered sweet potato rounds in a single layer over the BBQ beef. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Place casserole in oven and bake at 400 degrees until sweet potatoes begin to brown. About 15 minutes. 

*Note: You could modify the sauce recipe to suit your taste - omitting the jalapeño for example. Or, to make the casserole recipe even easier, you could use your favorite bottled paleo BBQ sauce (so many options!).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Banana Cream Cake

This amazingly-delicious paleo Banana Cream Cake recipe was inspired by my own fancy-cooking-tool ignorance (and lack of reading comprehension).

This Summer on our family beach vacation, my mom brought along a Pampered Chef catalog to fish for Christmas present ideas. When we were children, my sister and I didn't write letters to Santa. Instead we circled our greatest desires in the advertisements we found stuffed into post-Thanksgiving newspapers. We would each pick our own marker color, or jot an initial next to our circles, so that Santa wouldn't get confused. Most of the time it worked. And our circled toys magically appeared under the Christmas tree each year.

We've carried on the same tradition now that we're older. Granted, we spend much less time perusing the Toys R Us catalog than we did in the old days. But still. Circles turn into Christmas presents. So, when I saw the Pampered Chef catalog in my mother's room at the beach, I knew exactly what to do.

To my surprise, Santa shipped my Christmas presents 3 months early (lucky me!), and because I'm a total grown up and live 1000 miles away, my mom can't make me set them aside until Christmas comes around (that used to be the rule - presents that come in the mail early go under the tree). So, for the past week-or-so I've been playing in the kitchen with all my new toys.

When I opened up the packages, I also realized that I have a lot to learn in the fancy-cooking-tool department. One of the boxes contained two torte pans. This is exactly what I ordered, but not at all what I expected. I thought (and this is where reading comprehension becomes important) I would be getting tart pans.

In my defense, they don't look all that dissimilar in the pictures. I did think it was a little weird that the torte pans came as a set of two. But I just figured Pampered Chef was being generous. Turns out, the pans are not the same. A tart pan is for making shallow pies and quiche (that's what I wanted to make). A torte pan is for making filled cakes (I had no idea I wanted to make that).

The torte pan shape turns the cake into a crust.
I know! This is some strange new magic...

I'm not one to be intimidated by a cooking implement (or anything else for that matter). So, it took about 15 seconds to come up with a use-case for my new pans. I'd been playing with a banana bread recipe (based on a plantain cake recipe I found online) and I'd been plotting a new banana pudding recipe for CaveBoy (Christmas is coming sooner than you think). I'd imagined that once I got the banana pudding down, I would convert it into a Banana Cream CavePie (based on the wild success of my other two CavePies). But then, when these magical torte pans arrived, the Banana Cream Cake was born.

I tested the recipe out on the CrossFit Beauties during Girls Night In. Rachel said she liked it even more than the Key Lime CavePie (if you can believe that's possible).

Banana Cream Cake

And don't worry. The banana cake is sturdy enough to stand up to the pudding.
It won't become a soggy mess if you chill it over night.

For the cake:


4 eggs, separated
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In your stand mixer, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip on high until it forms stiff peaks.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk and coconut oil. Add vanilla extract and mashed banana, and continue whisking until fully combined.

In a small bowl (relax! your dish washer isn't broken), combine coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Make sure cinnamon and baking soda are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. 

Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Whisk to fully combine.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Using a spatula, add banana-coconut flour mixture to the egg whites one scoop at a time. Fold gently to combine. Then add another scoop of banana-coconut mixture. Repeat until the batter is fully combined. 

Grease a torte pan* with coconut oil spray. Pour in batter and smooth into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are brown, the center is firm, and the banana cake passes the toothpick test. About 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, invert cake onto a large plate or serving dish.

For the filling:


5 eggs
1 1/2 large bananas, sliced
1/2 large banana, mashed
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup spiced rum (or pineapple juice)
1 tablespoon raw honey (omit if using pineapple juice)


In a small bowl, whisk together rum and mashed banana until it becomes a delicious banana slurry (you'll want to drink it. don't.).

In an un-heated medium sauce pan whisk together eggs, coconut oil, honey, and rum-banana mixture. Once fully combined, place over medium heat and whisk continuously until the filling begins to thicken. Lift from heat and continue whisking until the filling is thick (about the consistency of home-made pudding). Transfer into a medium bowl. Refrigerate for 45 to 60 minutes.

Spoon the filling onto the banana cake and smooth the surface. Arranged sliced banana on top. Serve immediately or refrigerate (so the pudding doesn't run). Serves 8 to 10.

*Note: If you don't have a torte pan, get one, they're fun! Or, you can use a 9x9 baking dish and make Banana Cream Bars.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

CaveLife: Girls Night In (and Skinnygirl Cocktail Review)

I almost couldn't write this post. I wanted to write it, believe me. But I had the kind of day that left me feeling like I'd finished 16 rounds of the Sucker Punch Drill. And I refuse to add to the negativity on the internet. I don't use this forum to complain. I named this blog Silly Little CaveGirl for a reason. I want this space to promote happiness, health and well-being in all forms. But because life isn't always peachy, I'm not always in the right frame-of-mind to uphold the Silly Little CaveGirl moniker.

I was worried when I hit my blogger's block that I was entering into another decidedly un-silly period. But then while I was surfing the internets, whiling away my evening - feeling sorry for myself, I stumbled upon To say this site is an oasis in the worldwidedesert is an understatement. I feel uplifted. I feel important and beautiful and useful. And now I can happily tell you about the amazing evening I shared with three CrossFit Beauties and three bottles of Skinnygirl ready to serve cocktails (and you only had to suffer two slightly-off-topic paragraphs to get to the good stuff - let's all thank Hannah together).

Girls Night In (and Skinnygirl Cocktail Review)

I hadn't had the girls (or anybody really) over to the Cave since Tiff's Birthday and I was feeling the itch. I like to spend time outside the gym with the CrossFit Beauties. They're amazing people, great cooks, and always up for anything. Who wouldn't want to hang out with a crew like that? With our Whole30 coming to a close, this past weekend presented the perfect opportunity for a Girls Night In. We had our health to celebrate!

I'd also been rolling a party idea around in my head for a while. I'm a Bethenny Frankel fan from way back (OK not all the way back to The Apprentice: Martha Stewart - but that's because I'm not much into contest shows. Back to RHNY Season 1 and the on-screen invention of the Skinnygirl Margarita). So I've kept close tabs on all the new Skinnygirl Cocktail flavors that have been bottled and distributed in recent months.

But, up until this weekend, I hadn't tasted any except the Original Margarita. I'm just one CaveGirl. And I don't really drink that much. What if I bought one and didn't like it? I'd have 75% of a bottle to waste (and nobody wants a partial bottle of an unloved pre-made cocktail in their stocking - I checked). So, my brilliant party idea was to divide and conquer the new flavors. Between the 4 of us, I knew we could consume the better-part of three bottles in an evening.

We chose: Original, White Peach, and Cosmo
I'll get to our review, but first we need to talk about the rest of the party and the food (the most important part).

When I sent out the invite, I made sure to let the Beauties know that this party was casual. Yoga pants casual. I wanted to catch up, hang out, watch a girl movie, and relax. I asked the girls to bring a few snacks, and I chilled the Skinnygirl. I also pulled together a few treats (I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to test new recipes).

Our snacks.
The Beauties brought plantain chips, guacamole, fruit, and veggies. I made a newly-invented paleo snack (recipes coming soon): shredded chicken jalapeño poppers with avocado ranch dip. And because the Whole30 protocol doesn't allow any paleo baking, I made a super-special paleo treat: banana cream cake. 

When the girls arrived, we poured the drinks and made ourselves comfortable around the dining table. We laughed and talked and caught up, and we started the Skinnygirl taste test. I then offered my movie choice for the evening: Sarah Jessica Parker's smash hit Girls Just Want to Have Fun (yes, I own it on DVD, as every good 80s girl should...). Rachel was excited, and Tiff was curious. Unlike Rachel and I - who saw this movie (and all the other amazing 80s dance movies) as children - Tiff was born 4 years after Girls Just Want to Have Fun debuted

Despite her youth, Tiff has a deep love for everything awesome. So I knew she'd enjoy the spectacle. I also thought this would be a good educational experience for her. How can she truly enjoy 90s, 00s, and future dance movies if she's never seen the dance movie that set the template for all future dance movies? I was performing a public service, really. 

We started the movie (it was as entertaining as always) and continued the Skinnygirl taste test. When all was said and done, Tiff loved the movie, and we ranked the Skinnygirl flavors. First, as expected, was Original Margarita. It was stronger than the girls anticipated, in a good way. I think they expected a watered-down, overly-sweetened wine cooler-like drink. But the Original Margarita is none of those things. It was refreshing and full of tequila (just like our homemade versions). I recommend a squeeze of orange, but it's just as good straight from the bottle.

Second on our list was the Cosmo. Not everyone tried this one (something about a bad experience with vodka-cranberry back in college...) but those that did enjoyed the flavor. And Linda even ranked it #1 on her list. The Cosmo was tart and strong (just like a good Cosmo should be) and ideal for our SJP-themed evening.

Last of the three was the White Peach Margarita. It wasn't a bad cocktail, but one of them had to be last. It was a little sweeter than I like my drinks to be (I'm a tequila shot girl, after all). I'm sure there is a market for the White Peach Margarita, but it won't make a re-appearance in my Cave. Especially if there is Original Margarita available.

And there you have it. What Skinnygirl flavors have you tried? What did you think?