Cocktails: The Pamplemousse

Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

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!

INGREDIENTS:

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

INSTRUCTIONS:

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.

Cheers!

Make Your Own Body Scrub

My skin gets so dry in the winter here in Minnesota. Not only is the weather frigid outside but the forced heating inside just parches my skin. It gets itchy and irritated. Body scrubs work great to help slough off the dead skin cells and add some moisture back, but they are really expensive. I am also really sensitive to scents and perfumes, so several years ago I started to make my own body scrubs. They could not be easier and when you make your own you can add any essential oils and scents that you want. You are also in control of the what’s in there, so can avoid a lot of chemicals and additives.

I like a sugar based scrub rather than salt, as it’s gentler on the skin. I also love using almond oil because I adore the scent. Below is my super simple recipe for body scrub. Make some for yourself, and use pretty jars and ribbons to make a really simple holiday gift for your friends and family.

SUGAR BODY SCRUB

1 cup granulated sugar (I like to use raw sugar because it’s a pretty color)

1/2 cup or so of the oil of your choice (I usually drizzle it in until I get the consistency I like)

A few drops of essential oil. With almond an orange oil would be lovely, but anything you  like will work

Use a fork to mix everything together and store in a glass jar

Use all over your body, being careful not to get on the bottoms of your feet if you’re in the shower.

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Friday Cocktails: The Pimm’s Cup

Pimms Cup
The Pimm’s Cup

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.

INGREDIENTS:

2 oranges, sliced into rounds 

2 lemons, sliced into rounds 

About six slices of cucumber

2 cups Pimm’s No. 1 

4 cups ginger ale 

6 to 8 large sprigs mint plus more for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

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.

 

Enjoy!

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Friday Night Cocktails: The Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca

agua fresca

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, it’s a new cocktail recipe! But first, if I asked you what the significance of Cinco de Mayo was, would you be able to answer? If you said “Mexican Independence Day” you’d be…not right. Mexican independence is actually celebrated Sept.16. Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces of Napoleon III on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. It has really become more of an American holiday excuse to drink margaritas.

Today I would like to introduce you to the Agua Fresca, which is a traditional Mexican drink that when translated means “fresh water”. Aguas Frescas are designed to beat the heat of summer and are refreshing and delicious. They are typically made of fresh fruit, water, and optional sugar. If you want to know more about aguas frescas, click here.

This delicious recipe would be perfect for a BBQ, and I guarantee the kids would love it. To make it “adult”, add a shot of vodka or gin to each serving.

Not for nothing, but watermelon is full of lycopene (actually it has the most lycopene per serving than any fruit or veggie) which is a powerful antioxidant. The lime juice has a good deal of vitamin c and mint is great for soothing the digestive system, which is perfect if you’ve overindulged at the BBQ. If you add just a bit of sugar it makes for a yummy treat that doesn’t include artificial colors, flavors or other additives.

This recipe, adapted from Epicurious, serves about 6.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup sugar

5 cups peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped watermelon (from about a 2 1/2-pound watermelon). Make it easy on yourself and buy pre-chopped watermelon if you desire.

1/4 cup fresh lime juice. I( also like prepared lime juice such as this one. I do this about 50% of the time)

Mint sprigs for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine mint leaves, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small pot. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Transfer mixture to a heatproof container and chill, uncovered, until cool, about 30 minutes.

Strain mint syrup into a blender; discard mint leaves. Add watermelon and lime juice and blend until very smooth. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain into a pitcher; discard solids. Add 2 cups water and stir well to combine. Serve with mint sprigs. If bubbles are desired, top off with a splash of soda water.

Aqua fresca can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for up to 1 day.

 

Enjoy!

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Photo credit: Pixabay

 

Maybe It’s Monday (Again) And We Need An Easy Dinner Idea: Fettuccine With Asparagus

This crazy family of mine. They want dinner. Every. Single. Day. Like I mentioned last week, we usually do #MeatlessMonday as a way to eat a little healthier and do something nice for the Earth.

Maybe today I’ll just post this super easy but elegant looking Fettucine With Asparagus recipe I found this weekend. This is what I plan on making tonight for my hungry family.

Maybe you’ll make it too, and come back to tell me how it was?

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Mocktails– Mango Mule

cocktailsmocktails

Have you heard the term “Drynuary”? It’s the thing of where you abstain from alcohol for the month of January as a way to reset. Some people do it every year. I can see the draw. Even if I don’t drink enough to feel like I need to take a break (as much as I love talking about cocktails and trying new recipes, it’s rare that I have more than one a night), there are a lot of nights when I have a glass of wine just because. So it’s a good way to be more intentional about your alcohol intake.

Anyway, as I was sipping on a margarita served straight up last night while out to dinner (yes, I see the irony), it occurred to me that starting a collection of non-alcoholic cocktails would be fun. After all, not everyone drinks alcohol. There are all sorts of reasons why someone wouldn’t, like being in recovery, being allergic, not liking the taste, religious reasons, health restrictions, etc.

Hey, and maybe even the kids will enjoy them!

So, here’s the first installment of Weekend Cocktails Mocktails!

This Mango Mule with cucumber looks so good I wonder if we won’t even miss the vodka (of course, I’m sure this recipe easily lends itself to a jigger of something like Prairie Organic for those days you aren’t abstaining). The mango puree will add a bit of i to the drink, which in the middle of winter is a good thing. And I really love the addition of cucumber in just about everything. 

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!  Happy New Year!

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HEALTHY NEW YEAR

NEW RECIPE! Kale Chips

LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW RECIPE! Kale Chips

kale-chips

Have I lost you already? Did you stop reading when you saw the word “kale”? Please stay with me, it’ll be worth your while.

If you are like me you love salty, crunchy snacks. Unfortunately most commercially made salty crunchy snacks aren’t so healthy. They usually have hydrogenated or other low quality oils, super processed flour or potatoes, and tons of sodium.

May I suggest making a batch of kale chips? They are salty. They are crunchy. There is that pleasing release of olive oil when you bite into them. And dangit, they are good for you too!

What I love about kale is that it’s low calorie, high in fiber, and has tons of antioxidants. It is high in iron (beating beef calorie for calorie) and Vitamin K, C, and A. It has magnesium (which you’ll remember is the “relaxing” mineral) and calcium. You really can’t say that about a bag of potato chips.

Every time I make this recipe for our neighbor gatherings, adults and kids gobble it up immediately. Just make sure you sip on your Aviation or Cucumber Sangria cocktail after you eat them to rid your teeth of any pesky green pieces.

Here’s how to make kale chips.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of kale, any type, washed and dried (make sure it’s really really dry. Try wrapping and blotting it with paper towels, or just spreading it out for a bit to air dry)
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Flake sea salt (or any salt you prefer)
  • Garlic powder (optional but super delicious)

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees
  • Separate the leaves from the ribs of the kale. The ribs are gross and you don’t want them.
  • Cut or tear the leaves into 1-2″ pieces
  • Spread leaves out on a rimmed baking sheet
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt.  Jiggle the baking sheet to coat the leaves with the good stuff.
  • Bake until crispy, being sure not to burn. This will take about 20 minutes. Make sure to stir the leaves around about halfway through.
  • Serve

Did you try this recipe? Please let me know what you think!

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