We have a plethora of fresh dill from our CSA box (not to mention more that neighbors have given to us). I have previously frozen oregano and thyme with wonderful results, and I am so excited to have a freezer bag of dill to use when the cold months arrive.
Dill is one of my favorite herbs (maybe my absolute favorite herb) and can be used in so many dishes. I am a big fan of using dill on my roasted salmon and chicken dishes year round. Check out this salmon recipe and this roasted chicken recipe for some great ideas.
Wondering how to easily freeze your leftover dill? Simply rinse the bunch well, shake it out, and place on a cookie sheet. Flash freeze it, then transfer to a gallon ziplock baggie or other freezer safe container. When you want to use it later this year, simply snip off a piece and throw it in your dish. Easy!
It’s been a minute since I featured a cocktail recipe. I’m still trying new ones, though, so here today is one that I had recently I thought you all should know about.
But back up a second. You’ve heard me talk about our Crappy Dinner Parties, right? This past Sunday, one of our gang suggested having waffles. How fun is that?! So we divvied up the responsibilities while still trying to keep it crappy-adjacent. We had two waffle irons going, and on the side we had homemade whipped cream, berries, bacon, sausage and fruit salad. Nothing fancy (but as a side note: it was the most excited I’ve seen all of our kids get about CDP)
What *was* a little fancy was the cocktail the hosts Catherine and Mark made. I think we should be allowed to have a not-so-crappy Crappy Dinner once or twice a year, don’t you? Mark and Catherine thought it would be fun to have a brunch cocktail to accompany our brunch for dinner and it was delicious! And to think of it, Mark kept it crappy by spilling a bunch on the floor.
Featuring fresh grapefruit and lemon juices, it was the perfect cocktail to accompany our Crappy Brunch Party. Here it is!
1 ounce gin (preferably dry)
1/2 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice (I sometimes buy it pre-squeezed in bottles at Whole Foods)
1 large basil leaf or a sprig of thyme, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients except the garnish and shake well. Pour through a fine strainer over an ice sphere or straight up and garnish with the basil leaf or thyme sprig.
If you have read my blog you know how much I love a good fun cocktail. If you’re new to my blog, you might be thinking “But she’s a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant! How can she also promote drinking cocktails?”. Good question! My approach to wellness is to follow the 80/20 rule. That means 80% of the things I eat and drink promote health. The other 20% is devoted to pure enjoyment. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the things that fall in the 80%. For instance, I can’t tell you how much I love to bite into a caramelized balsamic glazed Brussels sprout. But the things in the 20%, such as cocktails and the occasional handful of peanut M&Ms fall solely into the treat category.
So, occasionally I will post a cocktail recipe for the weekend. I get a lot of enjoyment out of trying new cocktails. We frequent some restaurants nearby that have a strong cocktail game. It’s always a highlight for me to try them. For instance, the last time I went to one of my favorites, Lake & Irving in Uptown, Minneapolis, I tried something called “I Didn’t Say Banana” which featured house rum blend, coconut water, banana, lime, and Peychaud’s bitters. Delicious!
I’m not capable of making such a fantastic concoction so at home I tend to stick to my old favorites like the Aviation or a simple G+T. However, I think I could easily swing this Monster Mash Margarita. I love blood orange juice and I love a margarita, so I feel like I can’t really lose here. Since I have most of the ingredients it will be easy to whip up.
I think the first time I heard about a Pimm’s Cup was reading about the Royal Family in a magazine, probably featuring Prince William and Kate Middleton at Wimbledon. Ever since I found out about this refreshing and less boozy cocktail that is so popular in England, I’ve wanted to try one. Last weekend when I was shopping for a new bottle of bourbon for my husband for Father’s Day, I saw that the liquor store carried Pimm’s. At $18 a bottle, I figured I had nothing to lose and that I could check something off my bucket list.
Pimm’s Cup is made with Pimm’s No. 1, a concoction made out of “gin with herbal botanicals, caramelised orange and delicate spices”. Doesn’t it sound just delightful? It’s got an amber color that looks just beautiful in a glass.
Still, I was dubious. I sent my British friend Sally a text from the store that said “Is this gross?” and she immediately responded that it was delicious and then gave me some tips on how to make it authentic (“cucumber and mint a must, and orange slices rather than lemon or lime”). She also said that she likes hers with ginger ale rather than lemon lime soda. Done (except I also opted to use lemon slices too).
I stopped at the market for fresh oranges and cukes, and some Fever-Tree Ginger Ale. I like Fever Tree because it’s made with real ginger and doesn’t have artificial ingredients. The taste is more nuanced than other ginger ales, but any brand will do. I have fresh mint growing in my backyard and there are always lemons in my refrigerator. I eagerly set off for home so I could finally try the cocktail that has piqued my interest for so long.
I was very happy with the result, and can understand why it is so popular. It’s sweet without being cloying, and the delicate bubbles are refreshing. It’s also just a beautiful cocktail to look at. My husband took a sip and promptly said “will you make one for me?” He doesn’t generally like a sweeter cocktail, so I was surprised. I gladly poured him his own Pimm’s Cup and the rest is history.
This cocktail is perfect for your summer BBQ or other gathering, as it is refreshing and light on the booze. It’s celebratory but easy to make. And since it’s British, it feels super fancy.
2oranges, sliced into rounds
2lemons, sliced into rounds
About six slices of cucumber
2cupsPimm’s No. 1
6to 8 large sprigs mint plus more for garnish
In a pitcher, add a layer of orange slices, lemon slices, and cucumber slices. Repeat until gone. Pour in the Pimm’s and ginger ale, and mix with a long-handled spoon, making sure to muddle the fruit a bit to release the flavor. In each individual glass, place a sprig of mint and muddle with the end of a wooden spoon (more or less, depending on how much mint flavor you want). Add ice and fill with cocktail mixture, placing some of the fruit slices into each cup. Garnish with mint.
Do you ever wonder why I title these posts “Friday Cocktails” or “Weekend Cocktails”? It’s funny. Last night I was with a new friend and I mentioned that I really only have a cocktail on the weekends, almost never during the week. He said something to the effect of “I just thought you were this total party person who was having fabulous cocktails all the time”. Honestly that sounds like a dream, but the reason why I don’t is for a few reasons:
They are usually quite high in calories and sugar (unless you opt for the Dirty Martini or something like vodka and club soda).
If I drank them all the time they would be less special. it’s fun to wait all week for that tasty cocktail on Friday nights.
I’m a practicing Health & Wellness Consultant and if I’m going to talk the talk I also need to walk the walk.
So, I like to post new cocktail recipes on Friday or Saturday because that’s when you can usually find me enjoying one!
On that note, this Citrus Rum Punch is an absolutely fantastic new recipe you must try for your next BBQ or gathering. I made it twice last weekend for two different parties, it was that good. It’s adapted from a boozier and more intricate version from Bon Apetit but I fiddled with it to make it more accessible and much less boozy. Trust me, it still packs a wallop so take it easy. Luxardo is one of my favorite liqueurs and I always welcome a new way to use it. It’s a maraschino liqueur from Italy and it’s divine.
CITRUS RUM PUNCH
2 cups spiced rum
1 cup fresh grapefruit juice, strained (or just buy a high quality version from the store)
¾ cup fresh orange juice, strained (same as above. Co ops and Whole Foods sells freshly juiced OJ)
½ cup fresh lemon juice, strained
⅓ cup Luxardo maraschino liqueur
2 cans of all natural grapefruit soda (I bought mine at Whole Foods)
¼ cup simple syrup (easy to make. Click HERE for the recipe. Once I took it off the burner I added a piece of orange and grapefruit rind to infuse it)
1 grapefruit, sliced into rounds
2 blood orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
Combine rums, grapefruit juice, orange juice, lemon juice, liqueur and simple syrup in a large pitcher.
Add citrus slices and stir.
Just before serving, add the grapefruit soda and gently stir to combine.
Do Ahead: Punch can be mixed 3 hours ahead. Chill.
If a less sweet or less boozy version is desired, add a bit of club soda to each glass.
There are some things in this life that just make me so happy. An expertly made dirty martini is one of them.
For those who don’t know, a dirty martini is one in which olive brine has been added. It gives it a salty flavor that can’t be beat. My husband hates olives. which I find so hard to understand. He likes capers, so I feel like eventually, like maybe when he’s 50, he might suddenly realize he actually likes olives too? This is psychological thing that probably isn’t worth pursuing.
Some people shake their martinis, some stir them. Some (like me) order them “extra dirty” which means lots of olive brine. You can make them with gin or vodka (I prefer Tito’s vodka). At any rate, I don’t think I’ve met a dirty martini I didn’t like. They are very simple to make, but quite elegant. If you want to knock the socks off of someone, make them a martini. They will marvel at your sophistication.
Another thing about a simple martini is that it’s free of added sugars. A lot of cocktails have simple syrup or liqueurs which are so tasty and I love them, but they have lots of sugar. If you are trying to cut back on your sugar consumption (which, frankly, is a good idea for just about everyone), then a martini is a really good bet. If you hate olives, you can also just order a vodka or gin martini “with a twist” which means it comes with a twist of lemon rather than olives. You can also order them with onions! It’s like a snack in a glass.
Here’s your basic recipe. It’s already perfection so I don’t recommend messing with it.
I have done a pretty mediocre to poor job of posting actual health and wellness information recently, thanks to a busy summer and back to school madness. That’s ok, though. Hopefully the joy of trying new cocktails will blur this failure until I can get back on track.
Yesterday I was chatting with a fellow cocktail-lover who happens to be one of my favorite golf and paddle partners (Hi Ellen!) and I asked her what her favorite cocktail ingredients were. She answered “tequila and ginger”. Wow! What a fun combination. Tequila, with its smooth taste, and ginger with its spiciness. I guarantee you she isn’t messing around with subpar tequila, either. Only 100% agave tequila is the way to go for exceptional cocktails.
I couldn’t really remember a time I ever had a cocktail that included tequila and ginger. So, I told Ellen I would do some research and come up with a cocktail that she might like. In searching I found the Ginger Margarita, served up, which seems perfect. Just the other day I introduced Ellen to my favorite cocktail in the history of cocktails, the Aviation. I love it because it’s bright and smooth and slightly sweet, and because it’s served up (I sometimes get frustrated with rocks cocktails because I like to sip my drinks, and the ice tends to dilute the flavors too quickly for me). Ellen really enjoyed it which doesn’t surprise me because she has excellent taste.
The good news is that ginger is highly anti-inflammatory as well as excellent for the digestive system. And tequila has been thought to be better than other liquor for you because it’s lower in simple sugars. As always, moderation with alcohol is the key, regardless of what you are drinking!
So Ellen, this Ginger Margarita is for you. I think the baker in you will really enjoy making your own ginger simple syrup. Cheers!
Watermelon is in season right now, so I think it makes sense to try a cold, icy, refreshing cocktail made out of summer’s most famous fruit. Add the “wine of summer” (I literally just coined this term so I should probably TM it or something) and you have yourself a cocktail that will please just about everyone. Recently, on vacation with extended family, we made this recipe. It was really refreshing and perfect after a long day on the beach.
If you want some health reasons to drink this, just remember that watermelon is full of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. It also has a very high water content so it will help rehydrate you (just remember alcohol is dehydrating and toxic in large quantities so please don’t think you can go drinking a gallon of this or anything). Moderate wine drinkers (no more than two glasses a day) have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers according to this article. It also tells us we have lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, stroke, and brain decline. So, you know, enjoy this drink! I love that this recipe has no added sugar. Watermelon is sweet enough. And wine, while labels aren’t required to list added sugar , almost always has at least a little.
The thing about using wine in a cocktail recipe is that you can use a less expensive bottle and no one will be the wiser. So grab that $7 bottle of rosé from Trader Joe’s and let’s get started.
INGREDIENTS: (makes 2 cocktails)
4 cups frozen watermelon cubes
10 oz rosé
Juice of one lime
Cube the watermelon (or if you’re feeling really luxurious, buy it already cubed).
Spread the watermelon evenly on a jelly roll pan. Place in freezer for an hour or more, until solidly frozen.
Place the watermelon, rosé and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve with lime wedges and sprigs of mint.
Maybe when you saw the word “daiquiri” you were immediately envisioning those huge overly sweet frozen drinks you imbibed in your early 20’s (or now, I’m not judging).
The Classic Daiquiri is *not* that. Not even close. Invented in the late 1800’s in Cuba, the Daiquiri as it was imagined is fresh, light, and slightly sweet. It was also Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink. We know he loved his drinks, so I sort of trust his judgement on this one.
It’s got only three ingredients (quality matters, so choose well). The best part is that it’s super easy to make and even easier to drink. Perfect for a Friday night when you’ve had that kind of week. Maybe it’ll become your new favorite.
1 1/2 ounces light rum
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice (honestly, you could also try this if you’re feeling lazy)
1/4 ounce simple syrup or super fine sugar
Pour the rum, lime juice and sugar into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into your favorite cocktail glass. An antique champagne coupe would be fun!
It occurred to me that maybe some of you might think that I drink a lot of cocktails every week, seeing as I’m so enamored with trying new recipes. Truth be told, I drink maybe two a week, so I’m sorry to burst your bubble. I do have a small glass of red wine most nights. You know, for the resveratrol. I’m a very compliant patient, and since Mayo Clinic’s website says red wine is good for the heart (in small doses) then I feel like it’s my duty to oblige.
Anyway, it’s the weekend, and for me that usually means trying a new cocktail recipe (or at the very least an old favorite). This recipe for a twist on the classic margarita enticed me. It’s rhubarb season in Minnesota, so naturally a recipe for Rhubarbaritas seem like just the thing.
It’s supposed to hit 84 degrees here in the Twin Cities today. A cold summery beverage is maybe (definitely) in order. Cheers!