It’s Thyme for a Meyer Lemon Cucumber Cooler

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Last night, my friend Dia came over for dinner, and I was super excited to create a cocktail that would “wow” her.  Dia and I don’t share the same taste in cocktails.  While I opt for either vodka or tequila and my drinks typically have only 1 or 2 ingredients in them, Dia asks for a drink menu every time we go out, and always picks something recommended by the house.

One of her favorites in particular is a drink known as the cucumber cooler, so I decided to create a cucumber cooler of my own, while adding a little twist to it.

I’ve been working around the clock to create new recipes and Dia is one of my “go to” people because I can always trust her to be honest with me when it comes to food and when it comes to life.  This is only one of the many reasons, I consider her to be one of my closest friends.

Needless to say, this drink not only met Dia’s approval.. it exceeded it! It took a few tries to get it right, but when I finally did, we were both taken aback by the perfect balance of thyme & Meyer lemon mixed with english cucumber.  It was so refreshing with the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness.

Every summer at the Cape, Dia & I conjure up a fun and refreshing cocktail that we can take pool or oceanside! And I have a feeling.. this is going to be the one for summer 2015!

So, here you go.. Enjoy! And have several! 🙂

3 ounces silver tequila

1 ounce seltzer

1 teaspoon agave

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Meyer lemon (about 1 per drink)

English cucumber

Peel the thyme off of 2 sprigs and place it in a shaker.

Add 2 lemon slices, 5 slices of cucumber (diced), and a teaspoon of agave.

Then add ice to the shaker, along with the tequila, and seltzer.

Shake until the outside of the shaker is ice cold (usually about 50 to 60 shakes).

You want to make sure all of the ingredients and the natural oils from the thyme leaves are released into the drink.

Pour the drink over ice in an “on the rocks” glass (as I like to call it) and garnish it with a few sprigs of thyme, 2 lemon slices, and a slice of cucumber, and serve.

Trust me, this delicious drink, will make you want more!  🙂

Ice Pop turned Smoothie

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This is one of my favorite ice pop recipes.  I make it all summer long because it’s simply sweet & delicious.

I think I’ve mentioned, I’ve got summer on my mind.

Since ice pops aren’t ideal on a day like today, I decided to turn this into a yummy breakfast smoothie, but don’t be fooled aside from being sweet, this smoothie includes cabbage which offers great health benefits!

This recipe can be used either way, so here goes…

2 cups coconut cream (I prefer thick & rich)

4 cups frozen mixed berries

1/4 cup honey

1 banana

1/4 head of red cabbage

1 cup all natural cranberry juice

(If making a smoothie, you can top this with a dollop of coconut cream whipped with vanilla extract)

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached.

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Grilled Shrimp Gazpacho

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This might be premature, but like so many of you, I have summer on my mind as we count down the last few days of winter, and hope for a decent spring.

I don’t usually wish winter away.  After all, I’m a self proclaimed winter girl, as it is my favorite season, but after braving recent arctic temperatures, I’m ready for some fun in the sun!

Last summer, a friend of mine served up gazpacho at a BBQ she was hosting.  Until then, I don’t think I’d ever had gazpacho, but as she boasted about her mother in law’s recipe, I instantly fell in love with it.

Since then, I’ve been messing around with a few ideas here and there, and after taking a trip to the Farmer’s Market this weekend, I decided to pay gazpacho some serious attention.

The result, is a refreshing, slightly chunky, deliciously tasting, chilled bowl of magnificence.  If I do say so myself.. 😉

Go ahead, give it a try, but I must warn you.. it’s going to make you crave summer even more!

Ingredients

1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 large cloves of garlic or 4 small cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 red onion

1 large cucumber

1 zucchini

2 celery stalks

5 tomatoes on the vine

1/4 cup avocado oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons agave

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional & to your liking)

2 cups tomato juice

Cilantro leaves

Begin by grilling or sautéing the shrimp until opaque.

Mince the garlic and cut the onion into slices.

Dice the cucumber, zucchini, celery, and tomatoes.

Transfer all the garlic, all the onion, half the vegetables, and the avocado oil into the food processor or blender.

Splash in the apple cider vinegar, add the agave, salt, black pepper, and red pepper, and pour in the tomato juice.

Blend well until desired consistency is reached.

Pour the blended mixture into a large bowl and add in the other half of the vegetables, and stir together.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with grilled shrimp and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Enjoy! 🙂

Sausage & Goat Cheese Frittata

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Sunday’s were always a big breakfast/brunch day in our house growing up.  My dad was famous for having his biggest breakfast meal on Sunday’s.  To this day, he still makes the greatest Sunday breakfast I’ve ever seen or eaten.

I’ve never been much of a breakfast person, but because of him, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Frittata’s are one of my favorite things to make.  Mainly because you can use anything to create a fabulous frittata.  As long as you have eggs and few other ingredients on hand, you will be able to whip up something incredibly delicious.

I used to whip up frittata’s all the time, for my dad, at the shore.  I enjoy coming up with new ideas for them and find them fun to make.

Each Sunday, I’ll be posting a hearty breakfast or brunch meal in honor of my dad.  This one is my first and one of my favorites.  I really hope you enjoy it! 🙂

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Ingredients:

3 hot Italian sausage links

1/2 large sweet onion diced (or 1 small)

1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

3 ounces goat cheese

6 eggs

1/2 cup coconut cream (I prefer extra thick & rich)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350

Take the sausage out of the casing and drop it into a 10 inch cast iron skillet.  Turn the stove on to medium heat and begin breaking up the sausage with a fork.  Sauté the sausage until it begins to brown.

Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, tomatoes, and spinach, and give it a good toss.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut cream until both are blended and smooth.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet.

Level the frittata out so it is even in the skillet.  You can do this with the back of a spoon or spatula.

Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the frittata and let it cook over medium heat (do not touch it at this point) for about a minute.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.

Once the frittata is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes, so it’s firm when you cut it.

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Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

The Perfect Jalapeño Margarita

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For years I was in search of the perfect margarita.  I would make it a point to order one at every new place I went too, and I finally found one at a Mexican restaurant in West Orange, that is unfortunately, no longer in business.

In my opinion, the key to a perfect margarita is no sour mix and it should have a few simple ingredients such as tequila, triple sec, and fresh lime juice.

For a long time, I dabbled with various ingredients, and finally produced a margarita that is absolutely perfect! Assuming you can handle the heat! 🙂

I love Friday’s! And I’m a huge fan of happy hour! So, here’s the recipe that has many of my friends opting to come over to my house instead of going out!

For starters, you want to use an “on the rocks” glass as opposed to a traditional margarita glass.  Place the glass in the freezer, just long enough to chill it.

Add 2 ounces of silver tequila, 1 ounce triple sec (while triple sec is worth the weekend cheat, you can use 1 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice instead, if opting for the Paleo version), 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of agave to a shaker filled, a little less than halfway with ice.

Mince about 2 slices of a jalapeño (per drink) and add them with seeds to the shaker.  This is important because the jalapeño oils will be released into the drink once you shake it.

Shake until the outside of the shaker is ice cold.  I always opt for 50 shakes, I have no idea why, but every drink comes out perfectly chilled when I do.

Take the glass out of the freezer, rub a slice of lime over the rim, and dip the glass upside down in a plate of sea salt.

Add ice to the glass and pour the margarita into the glass.  Garnish with a slice of lime.

Trust me, it is to die for!

Enjoy! And have an awesome weekend! 🙂

Spicy Red Pepper Hummus

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One of the very first things that turned me on to learning more about Paleo, was a hummus dish I made from my very first cookbook.  The recipe called for zucchini instead of chick peas.

You can imagine how skeptical I was at first.. zucchini?? Seriously?? Well, apparently they were and it ended up being the BEST hummus, I ever tasted!!!

I took it to several parties and EVERYONE always asked for the recipe.  It got to a point where I was so tired of typing it, I kept it on my phone, so I could simply copy and paste it.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken that original recipe and put my own twist on it because most of the time, I can’t resist spicing things up.

I recently served this up at dinner party I hosted and to say that everyone went wild for it, would be an understatement.

So here goes..

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini (or 3 small)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

1/2 cup of tahini

6 garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha

2 roasted red bell peppers (I roast mine over an open flame, but you can roast them in the oven at 500 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet)

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1 tablespoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Olive oil for drizzling

2 tablespoon toasted pine nuts (place in a dry sauté pan over low heat, tossing often, for 5 to 10 minutes)

Place the zucchini, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, Sriracha, roasted red peppers, salt, and pepper in the food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until the mixture is coarsely pureed.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, and serve cold or at room temperature.

I served this with celery and the combination was delicious.

Enjoy! 🙂

 

NYC Paleo(ish) Picks

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Yesterday, my sister and I set out to spend the day together in NYC.  My sister has been on quite the city kick as of lately.. exploring new places, roaming around, and engaging in cross fit on fifth ave.

I’ve always loved the city and have spent a significant amount of time there for both work and fun.  I typically set out looking to visit all the hot spots from midtown to the upper west side, to the meat packing district (probably my favorite place) to Tribeca, but exploring Paleo places, was completely new to me.

We began the day at “Bar Bacon” and it did not disappoint.  First, I should probably mention that Bar Bacon offers both paleo and paleo-ish dishes.  Almost everything includes bacon.. how can you not love that!?! And the menu includes a wide range of choices from salads such as, tahini & bacon kale to a BLT cobb salad, for those less daring.

There is also a wide range of burgers to choose from and several sunny side up egg dishes, like the Shani’s BLT that is topped with one.

You can select something from the original menu or one of the daily specials.

Appetizers include “the taster” which I posted earlier.. it includes perfectly cooked bacon offered 3 ways, maple, applewood, and my personal favorite.. jalepeno!

Some other dishes that caught my eye were the bacon loves lobster roll, the lobster bacon mac & cheese, and the bar bacon BBQ pork sandwich that includes.. yes, bacon! And pineapple cole slaw.. YUM!

Lastly, the drink menu alone is worth the trip to Bar Bacon.  There’s the “bacon bloody” that includes a “secret” mix, plus, bacon and pickles, as well as “the sriracha” which is made with citron vodka, ginger beer, and includes a bacon, salt rim!

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Next stop, was Hu Kitchen (which I will probably continue to incorrectly pronounce as “who”).

Hu boasts.. “it’s time to get back to eating the way humans should before industry ruined food.”

This place blew me away.  It is hard core paleo and I can only equate it to a paleo meets starbucks, meets casual cafe.  Hu offers organic red & white wine only, and both are delicious.

There are a wide range of choices from desserts such as vanilla and chocolate chia seed pudding, to pre-packaged paleo cookies, to pure paleo hazelnut spread that you can purchase for take home.  There are all types of granola, paleo cakes, and graham cracker bites.

Then you have what I feel is the most cost effective choice and that is an entree that can be selected with one or two sides.  I chose the wild elk meatloaf with the rustic root whipped veggies.  It was delicious and they give you a generous helping (posted earlier).  They also offer rotisserie chicken, lasagna, roasted cauliflower, steamed broccoli, sweet potatoes, and chili.

While another section of Hu’s (Sis’ favorite) offers a wide range of cold food that can be eaten there or taken home for later such as, pork meatballs, stuffed squash and portobello mushrooms, and all sorts of seasonal vegetables, and lastly.. they have wings!!! Yes, wings! 🙂

If you’re looking to eat alone, work on your lap top, or grab a healthy casual bite, any day or time of the week.. I highly recommend Hu’s Kitchen.

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Last stop of the day was “Stumptown” for one of the best cups of coffee, I’ve ever had.  A little pricey, but totally worth it and I was thrilled to score, more rustic items for my household, like this super cool camping mug.

It seems they only have locations in Manhattan, LA, and Seattle and for those not so loyal to Starbucks, I say, give them a try, the coffee is worth every penny.

I take mine black and I can tell you, it’s smooo-th!!!

So enjoy! 🙂