Saturday, September 7, 2013

Watermelon Lemonade Cocktail

As the summer fades to a close, this cocktail is the perfect celebration of everything you have enjoyed these last few months.  The sweet and nostalgic taste of the watermelon pairs perfectly with the tangy lemonade, add a splash of vodka and you have a perfect and easy cocktail to serve at your end of summer party (the "mocktail" version isn't half-bad either!).  The store-bought lemonade makes this cocktail even better because of how quickly you can throw it together.  Use whatever organic lemonade you prefer.  Also we had a yellow watermelon hence the color, I think if you used a traditional melon it would turn out more pink.  Cheers!

Makes 4 cocktails

1 mini-watermelon cut into 2 cups of watermelon cubes
2 cups of Newman's Own Lemonade
1 shot of vodka per drink

1. Combine watermelon chunks and lemonade in a blender and puree until smooth (about 1 minute).
2. Let sit on the counter for 2 minutes
3. Pour into chilled martini glasses and top with vodka if serving.  Enjoy immediately.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fava Bean Pesto

I realize this is a glamor shot of pesto in a tupperware but I ate my dinner too fast and couldn't get a decent picture of this amazing pesto.  This should be a good sign if you think about it, a pesto so delicious and versatile (hello turkey sandwich!) that I instantly forgot about you.  This could also be used as a dip for veggies, on pita bread sandwiches or tossed with pasta.  It's just simply that awesome.


1 lb fava beans
8 basil leaves
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt

1. To prepare the fava beans, you have to get the pods out of the larger bean.  Use a knife and carefully cut a slit in the larger bean and use your fingers to dig out the pods.  Think of it as a very large snap pea.
2. Heat a small pot of boiling water.  When boiling dump the fava beans into the water and cook five minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and let cool.
4. Now you have to remove the green fava from the outer white "shell".  Pinching one corning of the bean while squeezing from the other side seems to work best.  By the end of the pound, you will have found your method.
5. Combine all remaining ingredients with the fava beans in a small food puree system.  Blend until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Arugula with Strawberries, Basil and Goat Cheese

This salad is so perfectly balanced with sweet, salt and spice that it can stand alone as a main dish (at least for lunch).  Before all the strawberries and fresh basil are gone this summer, please promise yourself to make this at least once.  It can even be easily assembled at work if you want to bring it for a tasty and fresh lunch.

Ingredients (makes one salad)

2 handfuls arugula
5-6 strawberries, stems trimmed off
8 basil leaves
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Arrange arugula and basil leaves on a plate.
2. Top with trimmed strawberries
3. Combine goat cheese, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small tupperware or dish and stir to combine before dressing the salad.
4. Dress the salad and serve immediately!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Homemade Ginger Syrup + A Vodka Ginger cocktail

For a while now we have been making cocktails with ginger liqueur that retails for about $35 in our state.  Determined to find a better solution, I started making my own ginger simple syrup.  It still gives the same flavor as the liqueur but at a fraction of the cost.  It is non-alcoholic, so if you are having a party and there are little ones around, if you add it to club soda and add a splash of lemonade, you have yourself a handy mocktail.  We couldn't think of a name for this drink, if anyone  has a great idea, please let us know!

Ginger Syrup (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 cups chopped ginger (don't forget to peel it first)

1. Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan on the stove.  Stir together and heat over medium heat until the sugar is well combined into the water and it is at a nice simmer.
2. Turn off the heat and add the ginger pieces
3. After 30 minutes, strain the ginger out of the liquid mix and add the liquid to an airtight container (we used an old Bon Mamon jam jar).
4. This will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Vodka Ginger Cocktail

Ingredients (makes one drink)

2 oz vodka
1/2 oz ginger syrup
3/4 oz Lillet blanc

1. Combine all components in a a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake well for about 15 seconds.  Pour into a chilled martini glass.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Strawberry Lime Popsicles

I recently waxed poetic about my nutribullet blender and I'm happy to announce it can make things better than smoothies.  It can make popsicles!  Putting these together was a fun experiment.  The only thing stopping me from adding a splash of tequila to the mixture and calling them strawberry margarita pops is that we didn't have any left!  Enjoy the last full month of summer and make these for your friends.  Popsicle molds are worth the $5 Target investment (provided you don't buy other things) and will last more than a season.


2 cups chopped strawberries
3 limes (or 10 baby key limes)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Combine chopped strawberries and sugar in the base of the blender.
2. Juice the the limes and add the lime juice to the fruit.
3. Hit the puree button and let the blender work its magic for about 1 minute.
4. Put into popsicle molds and wait about 6 hours until the liquid is frozen
5. Dunk in tequila for an extra treat

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Apricot and Walnut Granola

This was supposed to be a granola bar but I don't think I put enough butter in this to help it stick together.  Instead I've made granola which is equally as delicious and potentially more versatile (we've already had it with yogurt for breakfast and with berries for dessert).  However you want to swap the nuts and dried fruit to suit your fancy, you really can't make any mistakes (except the butter issue).  Add a tablespoon of honey and I bet this would actually turn into beautiful granola bars, if anyone tries, please let me know!


2 cups instant cooking oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 cup wheat germ (substitute 1/4 cup flour in a pinch)
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chocolate chips (could be omitted but why spoil a good thing?)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine oats, coconut and walnuts in a bowl and mix.  Lay the mixture out on an un-greased cookie sheet and cook in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
3. Remove and let cool.
4. Meanwhile melt the butter, olive oil and brown sugar over medium heat.  When combined, turn off the heat.
5. Separate the egg, keep the yolk for another day.  Take the egg white and beat it vigorously for a minute.  Set aside.
6. Put cooled oatmeal mix in a large bowl.  Stir in wheat germ, apricots and chocolate chips.
7. Make a well in the center and add the liquids and the egg whites, stirring well to combine.
8. Place a large piece of parchment paper on your cookie sheet.
9. Use a spatula to spread the batter out over the parchment, you want it to be about 1/2 inch thick
10. Cook in the 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Let it cool completely before trying to crumble it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Croque Bolognese

When a dinner is truly so delicious that we are sorry it is over, David and I have a little saying "I could cry over this".  This croque bolognese is one of those meals.  When we traveled in Belgium a few years ago, I would have a croque bolognese every day for lunch.  I'm sure everyone thought I was crazy, but there is nothing better than spaghetti sauce smothered on grilled cheese.  If you try this and don't like it, we can't be friends anymore.  If you make this with a homemade spaghetti sauce you will not be disappointed.  I would like to note that we ate this so quickly we forgot to put parmesan cheese sprinkles on top, don't forget yours!

Ingredients for 4 croque bolognese

8 pieces of sourdough bread
4 slides Tillamook aged white cheddar cheese
olive oil

1. Heat spaghetti sauce in a small sauce pan on the stove.
2. Meanwhile, put cheese slices in between the bread (a la grilled cheese people).
3. Heat a few swirls of olive oil in a pan, turn the pan to make sure the oil covers the bottom of the pan.
4. Place sandwiches in the hot pan, cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown
5. Place sandwiches on plates and drown them in delicious bolognese (aka cover in spaghetti sauce).
6. Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.