Morning Pina Colada Smoothie

Pineapple and coconuts go together like peaches and cream. Easily one of my favorite flavor combinations. The frozen bananas add a beautiful creaminess to this delicious smoothie.

I haven’t seen or been on a beach in years, so if you’re like me, this smoothie will remind you of lounging on the beach, toes in the sand, waves crashing…even if it’s still snowing outside (geez, it’s April)! When was the last time you were on a beach?

3D69E899-4A9B-4C50-93A4-787CC73FB90D

Morning Pina Colada Smoothie
Serves 2
1 1/2 Cup frozen Pineapple, diced
1 small frozen Banana, sliced
1/2 Cup Coconut Cream (or use Coconut Milk if you want to keep the calories down – you will lose a little bit of that coconut intensity – still delicious, though!)
1/2 Cup Coconut Water
Shaved Unsweetened Coconut, to garnish
Hemp hearts, to garnish

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve in a bowl or a tall glass. Garnish with shaved Coconut and Hemp hearts.

Limoncello Iced Tea with Lemon Ice Cubes

Hot afternoons out on the patio are within reach, so it’s time to add some bright, happy cocktails back into your roster.  This refreshing cocktail would be great on a warm, Summer day served in a large pitcher to be shared amongst friends!

Limoncello Iced Tea with Lemon Ice Cubes
Serves 4
4 Tea Bags (I used Lemon Green Tea, but Regukar Orange Pekoe would work)
1L Water
2 Lemons (1 sliced, 1 for rinds)
3/4 Cup Limoncello
1/4 Cup Simple Syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup organic cane sugar, boiled and cooled) – Optional for additional sweetness

24F2CCDD-AA6D-45DC-989E-6E768E3BAB09

For the Iced Tea
In a large pot, bring 1L of water with 1/2 sliced lemon to a boil. In a large shatterproof container, add the tea bags and pour in the hot water. Let steep for at least 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, (if you’re going for additional sweetness, pour in simple syrup at this point) stir and set aside in fridge to cool.

For the Ice Cubes
Taking the rind from one lemon, add to an ice cube tray and freeze.

To prepare the drink, add the tray of the lemon ice cubes and the remainder of Lemon slices to a large pitcher. Add Limoncello. Pour in the Iced Tea and fill to the top. Stir with a wooden spoon. Serve in a large, tall glass with a lemon slice as garnish (make sure each glass gets plenty of ice). Enjoy!

E533DC78-E118-4FE1-8EA0-F1E26A3E9219

45 Minute Vegan Lox

It really is amazing the flavors that you can emulate using only plants. Most of the vegan lox recipes I’ve seen require you to marinate the carrots overnight (Which I am far too impatient for!). I’ve come up with this recipe so that you can have this dish on your table to devour in less than 45 minutes. The texture of the carrots and the flavor from the dulse makes it hard to believe that this meal is vegan. Try it and I can guarantee you that you will amaze your guests!

img_2712.jpg
45 Minute Vegan Lox

Serves 4
1 Bundle of Carrots
2 cups Water
2 tbsp Soy or Tamari
2 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 tbsp White Rice Vinegar
1 Large Handful of Dulse (or 3 Nori Sheets if you can’t find Dulse)
Bagels
Vegan Cream Cheese
Red Onions, finely sliced
Dill
Capers
Grapeseed oil for roasting

Preheat oven to 375. Place the (unskinned) carrots on a roasting tray, lightly cover carrots with grapeseed oil. Bake for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking. Make sure to keep checking your carrots – you want them cooked, but not mushy or too soft that you can’t slice them. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrots into thin slices and place in a container for marinating.

IMG_2711
For the marinade, boil the water, white rice vinegar and the dulse. Bring to a rolling boil and remove from heat. Add the soy sauce and liquid smoke. Strain the marinade in order to remove the seaweed. While mixture is still warm, pour over carrots. Place the carrots in the fridge to cool.

Garnish toasted bagels with cream cheese, vegan lox, sliced red onions, dill and capers. Serve and enjoy.

IMG_2715
Do try this one and please leave your comments – this recipe is a winner!

Quick & Easy Veggie Soup

Easy does it in this household. If I can cook it in one pot, believe me it’s part of my meal roster. Not only is this soup chalkful of amazing veggies that are excellent for you (as evidenced by the bright, green color!), but it is also creamy, SUPER healthy and filling. This recipe is a staple in my house and is also a huge hit with the kid – who is 19 months old and is super picky right now! A must try!

Easy Veggie Soup
Recipe yields 4-6 Servings
2 Leek, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium Butternut squash, diced
1/2 medium bunch of Kale, rinsed and torn
1/2 Large Cauliflower
1 carton Veggie Broth
Grapeseed oil for sauteeing
Herbes de Province (if you don’t have Herbes de Province, you can add in a bit of Italian herb mix which will work just as well)
Salt and Pepper to taste

IMG_2397

Add a dash of grapeseed oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add leek, constantly stirring until translucent (you want to avoid browning, as this will muck up the flavor of the soup). Add in your garlic and continue to simmer. Add in kale and stir until the kale has wilted (you have about 1/4 of the kale than you started with, right!?).  Add in the Hebes de province (or herbs/spices of your choice) to release some of the oils in the dried herbs before adding in the liquids.

IMG_2399

Pour in the veggie broth. Add the cauliflower and butternut squash. Cover and reduce to medium-low. Let the soup boil for about 15-20 minutes or until the butternut squash and cauliflower are fork tender.

Remove from heat and add to a blender (or use an immersion blender directly in your pot).  You’ll probably have to do this in batches, so have a container for the soup ready.  Blend until a smooth, creamy texture. Be careful when you blend hot soup – put the cover on your blender, remove the small cover and use a dishcloth to gently cover the opening.  You’ll want to allow for a bit of steam to escape as hot soups can turn into a very hot (and possibly dangerous!) disaster when blending if you’re not careful! Season with salt and pepper once blended and still hot.

Garnish with a dash of grapeseed oil , your favorite spices and enjoy!

This recipe can be easily frozen for several months and will keep for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container.

 

4 Rosés to Try this Summer

I’m a fan of rosé – Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall.  If you haven’t jumped on the wagon yet, it’s time you get on-board – rosé has come back in a big way.  Along with Chardonnay, Rosés have cleared their (undeserving) poor reputations and made a serious comeback over the past few years. I’m no Sommelier…but I know a good rosé when I taste one! Here’s a few you must try – ranging from extremely affordable to a great bottle to celebrate a special occasion (like the arrival of nice weather!)

wine1.gif
Simboli Pinot Grigio Rosé
This Pinot Grigio rosé is never leaving my roster. The price for the quality is unmatched. This wine is ever-so slightly sweet and very light with a fruity nose. For around $13, this one is a must-try.

wine2.gif
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses
The first thing you notice about this wine is how simply beautiful the bottle is. This wine is slightly dry with obvious hints of rose petals but still on the fruity side. This rosé would pair nicely with some BBQ veggies and hummus. About $18.

wine3.gif
Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel 2016
This is hands down my favorite rosé (fun fact: also Kelly Ripa’s favorite rosé). It is extremely easy to drink, with a floral and fruity scent. It is very, very refreshing and on the more dry side. Pair with anything. Or on it’s own. Whatever, just try this one if you haven’t already (it might be hard to get your hands on these days). About $27

wine4.gif
La Crema Pinot Noir Rosé Monterey 2016
La Crema is known for excellent wines, and like their namesake, they are truly smooth. This rosé is a Pinot Noir so its a bit darker and has a fruity, almost grapefruit aroma. It’s definitely the most vibrant of the bunch, with its undertones of fresh berries. This would pair nicely with an full evening meal as the sun sets on a warm, summer night. About $30

frose-frozen-rosePicture and Frozé recipe from Bon Appetit

Bonus: for those Ultra hot Summer nights, grab your favorite and make a Frosé!  It’s exactly what it sounds like – a Frozen Rosé – almost like a granita…only boozier!

Santé!

 

Fruit Ceviche: Olé!

The weather has been nothing short of crazy this Winter. From bone chilling cold, to mild through to snowmaggeddon, its been a wild ride and we only have a few weeks to go! What better way to forget about the frightful weather and welcome Spring than to have some margaritas paired with a delightful fruit ceviche. Invite a few friends over for a fun afternoon, crank up the heat a few degrees, put on some Summer tunes and enjoy this fun dish!

Fruit Ceviche
Serves 4
2 Ripe Mango
4 green or golden Kiwi
1 medium Honeydew Melon
2 Ripe Avocado
1/2 Red Onion
Juice of 2 Limes
1/2 Bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Season with Red Pepper Flakes

This recipe is super simple! Simply dice up your fruit and avocado into small cubes. To prevent your avocado from browning, quickly toss in a few squeezes of lime juice.

Finely slice your onions and dice (small enough so you don’t get a huge onion chunk, but large enough so it isn’t minced).

image2

Add all fruit into a large bowl. Add lime juice, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Mix well so that the lime juice is well-incorporated. Be delicate as you mix – you want the avocado to maintain its shape and not turn the ceviche into a guacamole. Can be kept in the fridge for 2 days but best served room-temperature.

Easter Cocktail: Blackberry Gin with Rosemary

What better way to celebrate Easter with your family and friends than with a refreshing, pastel-colored beverage?  The blackberries release a slight hint of sweetness and the rosemary brings out the juniper in the Gin. This cocktail is not only super easy but looks beautiful when served on a white tray to enhance the light purple color. Give it a try – you’ll only need a small bottle of gin for 6-8 drinks (depending on how strong you like them)!

image1
image7
Easter Blackberry Gin with Rosemary
1 372 ml bottle of Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
1 bottle Soda Water (I used Perrier)
1 Pint of Blackberries
1 Pack of Rosemary
Cheese Cloth
Mason Jar
Ice to serve
Optional: Simple syrup

Wash half a pint of blackberries and place into a piece of cheese cloth. Tie the loose ends into a knot. Place into your mason jar. Add two small sprigs of Rosemary. Pour in the bottle of Gin. Gently (do not pulverize!) squeeze down some of the blackberries with the end of a wooden spoon to release some of the blackberry juice. Cover, and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours (if you can leave it for 48-72, that would be even better!)

Once your Gin has sat for a few days, it’ll turn into a beautiful purple color.  Fill your tumblers halfway with ice.  Add a few blackberries.  Pour a shot (or two – depending on the size of your glass) into your tumblers.  Fill the remainder of the glass with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Serve to guests to drink right away!

image3

If you prefer your drinks on the sweeter side, you can always add a little bit of simple syrup before you add in the Soda water. I wouldn’t reccomend substituting the Soda for 7Up or Sprite, though – it will take away from the delicate blackberry and rosemary flavors.

image5
Cheers!