Monday, July 21, 2014

Spiced Up Salad

How many of you are bored of your summer salads already?  Umm...ME!  During the summer my work schedule changes and forces me to pack a lunch instead of my usual perusing of my refrigerator around noon.  Of course I try to be as creative as possible, but there are only so many fruit, lettuce, veggie and protein combinations I can muster up at 8 o'clock in the morning.  

This delightfully fresh and fruity salad has an extra kick from our household favorite sauce, Sriracha.  Also, this salad can be made the night before.  Kale salads are often better the next day after they have really soaked up all the flavors from the dressing.  So let's stop the boredom and go out an get a fresh mango, follow my crazy easy instructions below on how to cut it and actually enjoy our lunches at work!

Mango and Kale Salad with 
Sriracha Lime Dressing

3 cups kale, chopped
1 cup cooked and cooled Israeli cous cous
1 mango, peeled and diced, see instructions below
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped (half large red bell pepper)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce 

Pinch of sugar

Make the dressing by placing the sesame oil, lime juice, Sriracha sauce, 1 tablespoon green onions and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl or salad bowl combine the kale, cous cous, mango, 3 tablespoons green onion and red bell pepper.  Pour the dressing over top and toss well to combine.  Makes 2-4 servings.

How to cut a mango:  Slice off the of the fruit on either side of the seed.  Then cut the flesh of the mango into a grid.  Flip the mango inside out and slice the flesh of the fruit off the skin.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Sipping Made Simple

While you can most often find me with a bottle of good wine I am definitely a lover of a simple yet strong, well made cocktail.  And when I say simple I really do mean no more than 4-5 ingredients; one kind of booze, fresh fruit, herb/citrus and a mixer such as soda water.  I don't know about you but I would much rather be spending more time on my patio sipping my cocktails than in my kitchen making them.  My #happyhour obsession I have going on in my Instagram is what inspired these cocktails below.  

As America's favorite holiday, July 4th, approaching this weekend I think we can all agree that simple and fresh cocktails will be the perfect companion to our backyard barbecues before we all head off to see the fireworks.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.  Cheers!

Pineapple Mint Mule

2/3 cups pineapple, cubed
8 mint leaves, slapped and torn in half
4 ounces vodka (I use Tito's Homemade Vodka)
Ginger beer (I use Reed's Ginger Beer)

In a cocktail shaker add the pineapple, mint leaves and vodka.  Muddle until the pineapple is broken up.  Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until chilled.  Pour the cocktail into two glasses and top with the ginger beer.  Add more ice if needed.  Makes 2 servings.

Boozy Blackberry Vanilla Milkshake

20 fresh blackberries, plus 2-4 for garnish
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 ounces vodka 
(I use Tito's Homemade Vodka)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour the milkshake into two glasses and garnish with fresh blackberries if desired.  Makes 2 servings.

Watermelon Coconut Lime Spritzer

1 cup watermelon, cubed
1 ounce lime juice
8 ounces coconut water
4 ounces vodka 
(I use Tito's Homemade Vodka)
soda water

2 lime wedges

Place the watermelon, lime juice, coconut water and vodka into a blender.  Blend until liquefied.   Fill two glasses with ice and pour cocktails in, divided evenly.  Top with soda water and a lime wedge.  Makes 2 servings.

Mango Mint Vodka Mojito

2/3 cups mango
2 ounce lime juice
10 mint leaves, slapped and torn in half
1-2 teaspoon agave nectar
4 ounces vodka 
(I use Tito's Homemade Vodka)
soda water

2 lime wedges

In a cocktail shaker add the mango, lime juice, mint leaves, agave nectar and vodka.  Muddle until the mango has broken up a bit.  Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until chilled.  Pour the cocktail, divided evenly into two glasses.  Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge.  Makes 2 servings.