spicy cilantro lime lemonade.

If you’re a cilantro hater, you may want to look away. I’m so sorry, but today’s recipe is decidedly cilantro-centric. This herbaceous lemonade is refreshing, citrusy and gives a little kick to the back of your throat. That’s pretty much all I want in a summer beverage, how about you?

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If you do not have a mortar and pestle, fret not! You can simply combine the sugar and the cilantro in a mixing bowl and stir with a spatula, occasionally pressing the mixture against the sides of the bowl to get a similar effect before adding to the pitcher.

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I was discussing this recipe with my co-worker who immediately said “that needs tequila!”. Ha… well, of course this lemonade is easily made boozy, and I agree that tequila would be divine. You could even make two batches for a summer party — one recipe to satisfy all! All the spice and cilantro lovers, that it is! ūüôā

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spicy cilantro lime lemonade.
adapted from Cooking Light.

ingredients
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and halved, thinly sliced
4 cups filtered water

directions
In a motar and pestle, add the 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and using the pestle, grind for a minute or two until the mixture starts to combine but the leaves are still roughly in tact.

In a pitcher, add the lemon juice, cilantro sugar and four cups of water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the sliced limes and jalape√Īo. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and then serve chilled.

Can be made up to one day in advance. Makes four servings.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

vegan chocolate mint milkshake.

I have a treat for us today! As you may know, I’m not a sweets person. Give me chips¬†over cake any day of the week. There are exceptions. Growing up, before I learned of my dairy allergy, I LOVED milkshakes. I have fond memories of my younger brother and I making milkshakes in my mom’s house with her blender that was from 1972. Vanilla low-fat ice cream¬†(hey, it was the 90s), skim milk, chocolate syrup… YUM. I’ve always been a super thick milkshake girl.

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The other day, I caught the milkshake craving. Since regular milk and ice cream haven’t graced my lips in over a decade, but I suddenly remembered that I had a vegan “ice cream” hanging out in my freezer from about a month ago when my friend brought it over. Any vegan and/or non-dairy frozen “ice cream” dessert will work for this, but the brand I used is here. I find that it has the best consistency; soy or coconut-based is fine. I used a 2:1 ratio of the frozen treat and cashew milk, a splash of vanilla extract, and a few springs of fresh mint, and gave it a whirl. The fresh mint is essential, as it provides such freshness. Don’t like mint? Try almond extract and a scoop of almond butter, or even peanut butter!

Even though non-dairy ice cream can be icy/not as lusciously creamy as traditional ice cream, adding in the nut milk yields an incredibly thick, creamy shake. Good news? One 8 ounce glass is under 200 calories! Now THAT is a dessert I can totally get behind.

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vegan chocolate mint shake.
a ‘PTL’ original.¬†

ingredients
1 pint of coconut or soy-based chocolate ice “cream”/frozen dessert
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 fresh mint leaves, plus 4 for garnish

directions
Add all ingredients except for reserved mint leaves to a high speed blender. Blend, starting on medium speed, increasing to high. Blend for 1 minute, adding up to 1/4 cup additional cashew milk if needed/desired.

Divide between four glasses. Garnish each with a mint leaf. Serve immediately.

 

 

bourbon apple cider + ginger cocktail.

Tis’ the season for all things apple. I was reading an article on Buzzfeed recently (my lunchtime mindless guilty pleasure reading¬†for sure),¬†I happened upon a quiz titled “are you more apple spice or pumpkin spice?”. Well, I don’t need a quiz to tell me that I am squarely in the apple spice camp.¬†Full disclosure: I one hundred percent took the quiz and was relieved when it confirmed that yes, I was in fact apple spice. Whew.¬†

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It’s not that I don’t love pumpkin flavored goodies. I do! My previous recipe can attest!¬†¬†It’s just, I love apple. All things. My very first scented candle obsession was with apple cinnamon. I like that tart/sweet combination, and the slightly spicy notes… just yum. So what does that have to do with cocktails? Well, not very much actually. As promised in the last¬†post, this cocktail is¬†the perfect¬†accompaniment.¬†This drink is simple, oh so perfect for fall, and strikes a great balance between sweet, spicy and bitter.

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Do you like bourbon? I never used to, but over the years I’ve developed quite the taste for it, especially from bourbon-based cocktails. This one is oddly refreshing, which is a word I usually reserve for warm weather recipes. We’re going to combine bourbon (I like Knob Creek for this) with gorgeous, cloudy apple cider, a twist of orange and topped with spicy ginger beer. Make sure to get good, strong ginger beer for this: I used Trader Joe’s triple ginger brew… it has quite the kick!

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Shake and pour over ice for a delicious cocktail that tastes just like the cool days of fall. The original recipe had a cinnamon and sugar rimmed glass, but I tried it with and without and found I liked it much better without.

These are great for a crowd… you could make a big batch of the bourbon/orange/cider mix, and then top with the ginger beer when ready to serve, to ensure the cocktail stays bubbly and festive. Enjoy you guys!

apple cider +ginger bourbon cocktail. 

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ingredients
4 ounces bourbon (I like Knob Creek or Buffalo Trace for this)
8 ounces cloudy apple cider
1 ounce fresh orange juice
4 ounces ginger beer

directions
Juice an orange. Add juice, apple cider, bourbon to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.

Strain into cocktail glasses filled with ice. Top evenly with ginger beer. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 very generous cocktails. Makes 4 regular sized cocktails.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible** 

kale + pineapple green smoothie (my favorite!).

I’ve been over indulging myself recently. On a recent trip to Boston, I lived on lobster, wine, lobster, bourbon, and lobster. And octopus. Which was AMAZING. I didn’t want to leave. Then when I got home, it was a dreary and rainy day, so I made one of my most favorite comfort foods, homemade marinara sauce and ate that with copious amounts of warm crusty bread. Delicious. Who needs pasta? Not this girl — I am content to dip my bread in red gravy that has simmered all afternoon.

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Despite all of that delicious and wonderful indulgence, I knew I needed to get back on track. My favorite way to do so also happens to be my go-to breakfast every day: my favorite green smoothie. Full of super healthy ingredients?¬†Check.¬†Vegan and gluten free?¬†Check.¬†Filling?¬†Check!¬†Now, I understand green smoothies aren’t for everyone, but I love the bright, intense green color of the finished smoothie. It’s vibrant and I feel great just looking at it! Luckily for me (and you!) it tastes as good as it looks!

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Now, I love love love fresh ginger, so I usually add in about an inch long piece. It does make the finished smoothie have a bit of a spicy bite to it, so scale back according to your preferences. Fresh ginger is so good for you, and has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. Combine that with the intensely hydrating cucumber, kale that is chock full of vitamin K, and pineapple is an incredible source of vitamin C and manganese, and this is as healthy as it is delicious!

green kale + pineapple smoothie. 

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ingredients
2 cups curly kale
1 frozen banana, sliced
3/4- 1 cup frozen pineapple
1/4 English cucumber, sliced
1/2-1 inch piece ginger
3-5 mint leaves (optional)
1/2 -1 cup water (I err on the side of 1/2 cup, as I like my smoothies thick)
1 tablespoon flax seeds

directions
Combine all ingredients into a high speed blender. Blend on low for 20-30 seconds, and then on high for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and well combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Makes one generous serving, or two regular sized servings.

**Please use all organic ingredients**

 

 

pineapple cucumber agua fresca.

It’s¬†the last day of July, and the hot and steamy weather seems to be here to stay.¬†Since (week)daytime drinking is most likely frowned upon where you live and work, how about a delicious and refreshing aqua fresca to cool you off?

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Aqua fresca is Spanish for¬†“fresh water”, meaning any water that is flavored with fruit, herbs and a simple syrup or other sweetener. This take on it should be incredibly tart due to the pineapple and lemon, but it is¬†tamed by the cooling vegetal taste of the cucumber, resulting in an incredibly mellow and soothing drink that will cool you off on days that are chokingly hot.

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Make sure to refrigerate this after straining, as the flavors are ideal served ice cold. It’s wonderful as is, but I think it’s even better topped¬†with sparkling water. To make this adult-friendly, try adding some light rum or tequila, garnished with some fresh pineapple. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. ūüôā

pineapple cucumber agua fresca.
from Family Table cookbook. 

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ingredients
2.5 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
2 cups fresh pineapple (frozen, thawed will also work)
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water, plus 2.5 tablespoons

directions
To make the simple syrup: combine the sugar and 5 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and cool.

Working in batches, puree the pineapple and cucumbers with 4 cups of cold water, the simple syrup, lemon juice, and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher or bowl and refrigerate.

This pairs nicely with rum or tequila. For a kid-friendly/non-alcoholic option, serve as is, or top with sparkling water.

Makes 3 cups. Keeps for 3-4 days in refrigerator.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**

blood orange margaritas.

It’s Tuesday, and it’s cocktail time! (?) When is it NOT cocktail time?? It’s citrus season, and although I love all citrus, blood oranges hold a special place in my heart.

This vibrant, deeply hued fruit has a very brief season, peaking in January. Whenever they are in season at my supermarket, I am certain to be scooping them all up and incorporating them into as many dishes as possible. And, of course, eating them straight up with a million napkins (they are juicy little suckers!). One of my favorite ways to serve them is in this fun twist on the classic drink, a margarita. I like my classic margaritas STRONG: a 3:1:1 ratio of tequila, triple sec and lime juice. The below recipe reads more as a 2:1 ratio between the tequila and the juices, and I reduced the amount of triple sec, as the blood orange juice is very sweet. Feel free to play with the ratios until you find your desired strength.

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Truly, I had an entirely different post planned to share with you, and was going to share these margaritas at a later date. After a particularly long and demanding Monday, I stopped off and ran some errands after work, despite the blowing, drifting, and aggressively falling snow. I didn’t finish making dinner until almost 9pm, and yet, when I took my first sip of this drink, the stress just *melted* away. So, I decided I NEEDED to share this recipe with you, STAT. I was so excited, that I snapped a few quick shots of the drink in my dark kitchen while cooking just so that I could share it with you as soon as possible. I struggle with patience. But, please! Try this.¬†It is a¬†delightfully in-season drink that is at once refreshing, thanks to to orange and lime, and festive, thanks to the tequila. Margaritas make Mondays infinitely better.

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blood orange margaritas. 

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ingredients

6 ounces silver tequila
2 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice (I got plenty from one orange)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce triple sec
ice

directions

Juice the blood orange and lime. Add juice, triple sec and tequila to a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake gently about 10 time. Strain and pour into rocks glasses over ice. Serves 2.

tropical papaya cabbage smoothie.

I am a smoothie NUT. I drink one practically every morning for breakfast, and am always amazed at their capability to keep me full and satiated for hours until lunchtime. They’ve also evolved in the few years that I’ve been drinking them. Like many, I would start with a full banana, yogurt, fruit and a teeny handful of baby spinach to “make it healthy”. Dependent upon the type of yogurt being used, um, hello sugar bomb! I’ve gradually gotten to the point where my smoothies are a mixture of vegetables, fruits, water, and a handful of chia or flax seeds, depending on what I have hanging around in the cabinets. Amazingly, this combo is still super filling and packed full of yummy flavors and vitamins! Last week I cut up and froze a papaya, and had forgotten about it until yesterday. I fully intended to mix it with some other fruits, celery and kale, but imagine my surprise when I opened the crisper and there was no kale (or spinach or any type of green!) to be found. Grocery list fail. I didn’t want an all fruit smoothie, so I instead decided to use up some red cabbage leftover from the week prior.

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Cabbage is super inexpensive and lasts a ridiculously long time, so it’s a great thing to have on hand. If the other leaves look not so fresh, simply peel them off and use the rest of the cabbage. It lends a pretty pink/purple color and is pretty neutral in flavor. Combined with a half of a banana, some pineapple, ginger and celery, and you’ve got a tropical smoothie that will keep you full until lunchtime.

Hopefully you can enjoy this on a beach somewhere, and not in the car on the way to work like me!

tropical papaya cabbage smoothie.

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ingredients
1/2 cup fresh or frozen papaya
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger (I leave the skin on, but you can remove for a less spicy flavor)
1/2 cup red cabbage
1 stalk celery
1/2 frozen banana
1 tsp. flax seeds
1 1/4 cup filtered water

directions

Slice frozen banana and add to blender with fruit, cabbage, celery, ginger and flax seeds. Top with filtered water and blend on high in a high speed blender for 1-2 minutes until all combined and smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to drink (up to 24 hours). Serves 1.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible.