Red-Hot Margarita for Valentine's Day

For the Red Hot Infusion:  ½ 7-ounce box Ferrara Red Hots 2 cups water 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican 1 teaspoon light brown sugar 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1 whole clove For the Limeade: ¾ cup (6 ounces) fresh lime juice ¼ cup (6 ounces) granulated sugar ¾ cup water To Finish and Garnish: 1 cup (8 ounces) El Tesoro blanco tequila ½ cup (4 ounces) Gran Torres orange liqueur ice cubes lime slices


To make the Red Hots infusion, in a small saucepan, combine the Red Hots, water, cinnamon, brown sugar, orange zest, and clove. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the Red Hots have dissolved. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

To make the limeade, in a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, granulated sugar, and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and refrigerate.

To finish the margaritas, in a pitcher, mix together 2 cups of the Red Hot infusion, 1 1/3 cups of the limeade, the tequila, and the orange liqueur. (You can mix up a batch of the margaritas up to 2 hours in advance and refrigerate.) Pour a generous ½ cup (4 ounces) of the mixture into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds, and then pour through the strainer spout into your favorite margarita or martini glass. Garnish with a few lime slices.

Tip: After a round of Red Hot Margaritas, switch to sparkling limeade, made by combining lime juice with sparkling water and sweetening with simple syrup.

Behold the beauty that is….my Vegan Mexican Lasagna <3

For the filling:
2 teaspoons olive oil
12 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce:
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water
¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least one hour in warm salty water
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Everything Else:

3¼ cups frozen corn (I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn)
1 12-ounce jar of your favorite salsa 
8 soft flour tortillas 
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced 
Juice from 1 lime
1 can of black beans (I used low sodium refried black beans)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees so that you can bake your lasagna to perfection once assembled. For the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

2. For the Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce, place the cashews and soaking water, nutritional yeast, chipotle pepper, cornstarch, lemon juice, onion powder, and garlic powder into a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. 

3. To assemble, pour one-third of the salsa into the bottom of a 10-inch round or 9 x 13-inch oven-safe dish. Top with a layer of overlapping tortillas, similar to layering lasagna noodles. Top with one-third of the Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce, then one-quarter of the remaining salsa, then the corn, then the mushroom filling, and another layer of overlapping tortillas. Repeat with another third of the Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce and more salsa, and top with more tortillas. Layer those pups till your heart desires. Bake it for 15 minutes and then top with diced avocado. Grab a bottle of your favorite red wine and TREAT YOSELF because you DESERVE IT! :) (currently obsessed with The Night Of, for anyone who’s wondering)