Category Archives: Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Rosemary Arnold Palmer

July 14, 2017

Rosemary Arnold Palmer Mocktail

Do these Summer days have you wanting refreshing chilled drinks ALL THE TIME? It’s all I want. I could definitely skip a meal and just replace it with a ice cold mocktail. This yummy Rosemary Arnold Palmer is a fun twist on a classic. You know I’m a fan of herby beverages and this one is perfectly earthy and refreshing.

Head over to Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice for the full recipe and there’s even a spiked version. If you don’t have access to Natalie’s awesome Lemonade Tea, this drink can easily be made with equal parts lemonade, ice tea and a splash of rosemary simple syrup (see recipe below) in a glass filled with ice. And be sure to garnish the glass with a cute straw, a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Rosemary Arnold Palmer Mocktail

Rosemary Simple Syrup

  • 2 tbsp. of finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Allow the syrup to cool. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Place the syrup in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

If you like the earthy rosemary flavor in this drink, you might also like this Pineapple Rosemary Spritzer.

Rosemary Arnold Palmer Mocktail

Food & Drink

Orange Mango Mock-Mimosa Jello Shots

July 7, 2017

Orange Mango Mock-Mimosa Jello Shots

The weekend is almost here and that means – BRUNCH! Why not change things up and try a non-traditional mimosa with these Orange Mango Mock-Mimosa Jello Shots. They are both fun to make and also eat!  All the fun of a Mimosa but in a jiggly, bite-sized form.

Orange Mango Mock-Mimosa Jello Shots

These can be made with either Champagne or Ginger Ale, for a family-friendly version. But, you can check out the spiked version HERE.

Orange Mango Mock-Mimosa Jello Shots

Pour 1/2 cup of Natalie’s Orange Mango Juice into a bowl. Sprinkle 2 packets of the gelatin over the juice.
Allow the gelatin to sit for at least 2 mins. In a small pot, bring the remaining 1 1/2 cups juice to a bowl. Add the boiling juice to the juice and gelatin mixture. Stir until the gelatin dissolves completely. Pour into a 8×8 inch pan. Place in the fridge on an even surface. Allow the gelatin to set completely before making the next layer.

Repeat the same directions for the champagne or ginger ale as you did for the Orange Mango Juice. Pour that champagne gelatin over the orange mango layer. refrigerate until set.

Slice the gelatin into 1 inch squares. Top with a few edible flowers for garnish. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Orange Mango Mock-Mimosa Jello Shots Orange Mango Mock-Mimosa Jello Shots

Food & Drink

Kiwi Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

June 30, 2017

Happy Popsicle Week! I’m usually last to all these fun themed holidays, but this time I had a yummy popsicle recipe ready to share, so instead of waiting till next week, I decided I’d be like the cool kids and hop on that hashtag bandwagon. These Kiwi Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles are the EASIEST thing to make. And really they are not packed with sugary syrup, they are mostly just fresh fruit. So, I don’t feel bad at all that my kids powered through a batch of these in less then 3 days.

Check out the full recipe HERE, on Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company’s website.

Kiwi Strawberry Lemonade Popsicle

I mentioned a couple days ago that we are taking a family vacation to Maui this week. Well, we are here and it really is paradise. We arrived at about midnight last night and I slept like baby. Sleeping in Maui by the ocean is probably the closest thing to my childhood. The breeze, a noisy ceiling fan, the chirping birds and the sudden rain storms all lull my to sleep and remind me of growing up in Papua New Guinea. The island girl is happy.

We’ve already been in the ocean three times today, hit the pool a couple of times and eaten everything Lilikoi (passionfruit) flavored. Don’t worry, all this pristine beauty is balance with a trip to Urgent Care this morning because both Olivia and Dylan have ear infections. After flying yesterday, they both were in a lot of pain. So, nothing like starting a vacay with a trip to the doctors and some antibiotics.

Kiwi Strawberry Lemonade Popsicle

I also wanted to stop by and let you know that I was really going to try hard to take sometime off of the blog this month just to have some quality time with my family. I’ve been going pretty hard lately and we just need to be a family without me sitting in front of my laptop all the time. So, I hope you’ll stick around even though posts might not be coming too often this month. I’ll be back with fresh new content very soon. I’m so grateful for this community and the opportunities it brings me. Thank you for following along here friends. I wouldn’t have a blog with out you.

Kiwi Strawberry Lemonade Popsicle Kiwi Strawberry Lemonade Popsicle

Food & Drink

Blood Orange Mai Tai Mocktail

June 27, 2017

I haven’t mentioned this here yet, but I just might be headed to Maui on Thursday. I know, AMAZING! Don’t hate me, but I’d understand if you did feel a little jealous. I’d be jealous of myself. So, needless to say, I’m feeling all the tropical vibes these days. And I don’t think you get more Hawaiian then a Mai Tai.

Blood Orange Mai Tai Mocktail I had to do a little research on this drink and like most cocktails, there are a lot of different versions. But, I kept coming across orgeat (or almond syrup) as an ingredient. Some versions used cream of coconut, but I feel like coconut belongs to the Pina Colada. And you know what, the orgeat is delicious in this drink. This one was a huge hit with my kids.

Blood Orange Mai Tai Mocktail

Blood Orange Mai Tai Mocktail

In a shaker, add the Blood Orange Juice, orgeat, lime juice and ice. Shake and then pour into a glass. This is quite a sweet drink, so be generous with the ice. As you sip, the ice will melt a bit and mellow the drink a bit. Garnish with a straw, a slice of blood orange and an orchid for a tropical vibe.

Blood Orange Mai Tai Mocktail Blood Orange Mai Tai Mocktail

Adding a fresh orchid and serving these in fun Tiki glasses adds to the Aloha spirit of this drink. I found these glass at World market but, I also found this set of 4 on amazon.

For an adult version of this recipe, click HERE.

Food & Drink

Lemon Lavender Sorbet

June 16, 2017

Lemon Lavender Sorbet

Before I get to this super yummy and also very pretty Lemon Lavender Sorbet, I thought I should be honest about life lately. Oh boy, what a week! All the plans I had, kind of got thrown for a loop. That’s life right? Lately I feel like life it’s all up hill climbing, a little down hill or even a stroll through a meadow would be nice. The last 2 days have been filled with the worst kind of plumbing issues. Like ones that smell awful and cost thousands of dollars to repair. But, today we are heading to the mountains for a little backpacking trip. As much as I’m not in the mood to pack and prepare for camping now, I’m sure I’ll be glad to get away and enjoy some beautiful scenery and long hikes.

Lemon Lavender SorbetLemon Lavender Sorbet

We are definitely in the 100s for temps now. We have been spoiled the last week with out of the ordinary cooler weather. But, now that Summer is officially here, I’ll be using my ice cream maker a lot more.

 

Lemon Lavender SorbetWe love a anything lemon, so this Lemon Lavender Sorbet will be on repeat this Summer. Refreshing and unique, I can’t get enough of this recipe. I think it’s a winner. Head over to Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company for the full recipe.

Lemon Lavender Sorbet

Food & Drink

Faux Gourmet Donuts

June 2, 2017

Happy National Donut Day!

Ok, I think this might be the best idea I’ve had in quite a while. You guys, I’m a huge fan of a gourmet donut. You know what I’m referring to – the $3-4 donut with unusual flavor combinations. Well, my town does not have a fancy donut joint. And while I do like making donuts from scratch, they can be very time consuming and messy. So, I’ve come up with a fun way to have that over-priced, trendy donut fad in your life without frying or spending a lot of money. Let me introduce you to Faux Gourmet Donuts!

Faux Gourmet Donuts - give grocery store donuts a makeover with 3 yummy flavor combinations. Faux Gourmet Donuts - give grocery store donuts a makeover with 3 yummy flavor combinations.

I’m taking grocery store donuts (ya the ones that cost $5.99 for a whole dozen) and I’m giving them a gourmet makeover. I already shared the Boysenberry Rose Donuts in Wednesday’s post. But, I’ve have two more winning flavor combinations for you.  Matcha Green Tea with Coconut and Lemon Lavender are two new favorites in our house. I topped regular cake donuts with the Boysenberry and Matcha icings and glazed yeast donuts with the Lemon Lavender. Oh my, these are so good. And I totally had my family fooled.

Lemon Lavender Icing

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. dried lavender
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

In a small microwave save bowl, combine the lemon juice and lavender. Microwave on high for 45 secs. Allow to cool completely. Strain off the lavender flowers. Add the powdered sugar and zest to the lemon juice. Whisk together until smooth. Dip the donuts in the glaze and top with a sprinkling of zest and a few lavender flowers.

Matcha Green Tea Frosting

In a small bowl whisk the green tea powder and cream together. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. This should be a very think frosting. Dip old fashioned or cake donuts in the frosting and top with a sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes.

Faux Gourmet Donuts - give grocery store donuts a makeover with 3 yummy flavor combinations.

Aren’t you glad we made it to Friday? Be sure to celebrate with a donut or 2. And if you really want to try taking on homemade donuts, these Lemon Old Fashioned Donuts a good place to start.

Entertain / Food & Drink

Brunch Block Party

May 31, 2017

Brunch Block PartyBrunch Block Party

During Southern Californian Summers, we often try to do all our outdoor activities early in the day before it really heats up. So, to kick off the Summer I’m all hosting a Brunch Block Party. Move over BBQ get-together in the heat of the day, I think getting an early start is a great idea. Plus, who doesn’t love brunch food? It’s the best of breakfast and lunch. Here’s the menu I put together, I kept it simple and seasonal. I’ve teamed up with Pier 1 Imports to throw this fun Brunch Block Party. There’s a little for everyone. Keep reading, I’m sharing all the recipes.

Brunch Menu

  • Grapefruit Sage Mock-Mimosa
  • Mint Mojito Iced Coffee
  • Faux Gourmet Donuts
  • Pineapple and Cinnamon Yogurt Dip
  • Nectarine + Macadamia Nut Salad
  • Green Chili Corn Bread Waffles
  • Cheese Board + Fresh Cherries

Brunch Block PartyBrunch Block Party

Our house has a fantastic, huge front porch. Lately, we have been spending a lot of time out there. It’s very shaded and really has so much space for entertaining. I recently re-painted a vintage sofa my mother-in-law gave me. I replaced the cushions with some white and grey pillows from Pier 1 and it’s like a brand new piece of furniture. I also added two slings, which my kids are loving, but they also provide 2 more places for folks to sit. This porch is the perfect spot for a neighborhood block party brunch. With lots of shaded area and plenty of room to spill over onto the front yard, it’s a great space for hosting a crowd. Plus, the best part of outdoor entertaining, is that all the mess stays outside!

Brunch Block PartyBrunch Block PartyBrunch Block Party

I picked up a few outdoor entertaining essentials from Pier 1 Imports to make out front porch feel I little more like another room in our house. I few great pillows, a pretty lantern, some really cool melamine serving dishing and a touch of peach with some fun linens, and now it’s our favorite room in the house.

  1. Cheese Board
  2. Long Serving Tray
  3. Bowls with Ice Filled Bottoms
  4. Grey Lantern with Rope Detail
  5. Peach Window Pain Napkin
  6. Peach Coasters
  7. Large Round Serving Tray
  8. Grey and Jute Outdoor Pillow

I love wood grain and marble, it’s such a pretty combination. But, who wants to be hauling heaving dishes and trays in and out of the house. I love these melamine serving pieces from Pier 1. They are modern, minimal and just plain good looking dishes AND they are totally unbreakable. Probably my favorite new outdoor entertaining item is the grey wood grain serving bowls. Not only are they pretty, but you can fill the bottoms on the bowls with ice and they keep your food chilled. How cool is that?

Brunch Block PartyBrunch Block PartyBlock Party Brunch

Ok, let’s start with the drinks, because I’m pretty sure a party is only as good as the drinks that are served. Since it’s brunch, coffee and mimosas are a must. I love a twist on something traditional, so I came up with a fun Grapefruit Sage Mock-Mimosa and too keep everyone cool, Mint Mojito Iced Coffee.

Grapefruit Sage Mock-Mimosa

  • 6 cups Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 liter Ginger Ale
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  • ice
  • grapefruit slices and sage leave for garnish

Start by making the sage simple syrup. In a small pot, place the water, sugar and sage. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. I like to leave the mint leaves in the syrup as long as possible. When you are ready to serve the drinks, stain off the sage with a fine metal sieve. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

In a large pitcher, combine 6 cups grapefruit juice, the sage simple syrup and the ginger ale. Stir and serve poured over ice. Garnish glasses with a fresh sage leaf floating on top and a slice of grapefruit on the rim on the glass.

And if you want to make it an adult version, champaign can easily replace the ginger ale.

Block Party Brunch

A party isn’t a party without some sweet treats. So I created some faux gourmet donuts. Ya, I’m making this a thing. Bakersfield is a great place to live, but we do NOT have a fancy donut shop. You know what I’m talking about – the $3 donuts that come in fun flavor combinations with pretty icing. So, I decided I’d make my own. I bought a dozen plain buttermilk cake donuts at my local grocery store. Then I mixed about 1/4 cup boysenberry syrup with 1 cup of powdered sugar. I microwaved it on high for 30 secs. stirred it again and then dipped the donuts in the frosting and sprinkled some dried rose petals. Ta-da – instant gourmet donuts.

But hey, if you have a fun donut shop, pick up a dozen, and serve them at your brunch. I guarantee your guests will be pleased and it will save you sometime.

To balance out the donut situation, a yummy green salad is always a good idea. I mentioned it earlier, but these grey wood grain melamine bowls are pretty darn cool (literally). You can fill the bottom part of this bowl with ice and not worry about your salad getting warm or wilted outside in the heat.

White Nectarine and Macadamia Nut Salad

  • 3 white nectarines
  • 1/2 cup whole macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 oz. log of herbed goat cheese
  • a bag of mixed spring greens
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/3 cup oil oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by making the balsamic salad dressing. In a large mason jar, add the lemon juice, zest, vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously to mix. Store in the fridge in an air tight container. Allow the dressing to come to room temperature before serving, if the olive oil is too cold it will become a solid.

Toast the macadamia nuts in a dry frying pan until they are golden brown. Toss the spring greens, sliced nectarines, macadamia nuts and cherry tomatoes. Dot the salad with small spoonfulls of  the goat cheese. I chose to serve this dressing on the side and allow guests to put as much or as little as they wanted.

Brunch Block Party

Brunch Blog Party

This easy recipe is my take on a brunch dish I had the last time I was in Maui. Fresh, ripe pineapple wedges were served with a yummy sweet cinnamon yogurt dip. When I saw delicious ripe pineapples on sale at the grocery store, I knew this recipe needed to be on the menu. And the mini version of the iced melamine bowl was perfect for keeping this yogurt dip icy cold.

Pineapple Spears and Cinnamon Yogurt Dip

  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 cups vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Cut pineapple into long spears or wedges for dipping. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar and cinnamon. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Green Chili Cornbread Waffles

This final recipe is one that I’ve wanted to share here for quite awhile. I love the idea of a savory waffle. There is no need to turn on the oven and heat up the house with this recipe. Did you know that you can cook corn bread in a waffle iron? Well, you can and it sure does make cute bite sized corn bread.

Green Chili Cornbread Waffles

  • 1 can of chopped green chilis
  • 2/3 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • chopped chives or green onions
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cojita cheese

Start by cutting the bacon in 1/2 inch pieces. Fry until crisp, drain on a paper towel. In bowl, mix together the green chilis, corn, Jiffy Mix, eggs and milk. When the waffle iron is hot, spray with nonstick spray and cook the waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions. Top the warm waffles with chives, bacon and cojita cheese.

Brunch Block Party

Aren’t you ready for some fun Summer entertaining? Head to you local Pier 1 or shop online for all your outdoor entertaining essentials.

Brunch Block PartyBrunch Block Party - Pink Grapefruit Sage Mock-Mimosas and Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

This post is sponsored by Pier 1 Imports, thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

 

 

 

 

Food & Drink

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

May 26, 2017

A friend recently described Philz Coffee Mint Mojito Iced Coffee to me and I immediately went home and made my own version. I already had mint simple syrup in my fridge, so a couple of shots of espresso and a dash of cream later, I was enjoying the best iced coffee I’ve ever had.

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 shots of espresso or strong cold brew
  • crushed ice
  • half and half
  • fresh mint for garnish

Start by making the mint simple syrup. In a small pot, place the water, sugar and mint. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. I like to leave the mint leaves in the syrup as long as possible. When you are ready to serve the drinks, stain off the mint leaves with a fine metal sieve. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

In a glass filled with ice, pour two shots of espresso or a generous amount of your favorite cold brew (I like this kit). Depending on how sweet you like your coffee, add 1-2 oz. of mint simple syrup. Then finally top the glass off with half and half. Stir and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

I’m telling you, this might sound kind of weird, but it’s sooooo good. It’s sweet and refreshing and there is not a more perfect pick-me-up for a warm afternoon. This will be my Summer go-to coffee of choice. And now I need to get to Philz and try the real deal.

Mint Mojito Iced CoffeeMint Mojito Iced Coffee

Food & Drink

Cherry Limeade

May 22, 2017

It’s Monday, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a Mocktail to get through it.

Cherry Limeade recipe - a healthier take on a drive-thru classic.

This weekend we hit 100 F. The heat makes me crave trip to Sonic for a huge Cherry or Strawberry Limeade. So, this year I’ve come up with a healthier version of one of my favorite hot weather drinks. Without all the sugar and artificial colors and flavors, I feel I lot better about serving this Cherry Limeade recipe to me kids and guests.

I’m actually not a huge fan of cherry flavor, but real, fresh cherries – YES, I love those!  My fridge is always stocked with an assortment of La Criox, so as long as I can find fresh cherries this Summer, this drink will definitely be served often.

Cherry Limeade recipe - a healthier take on a drive-thru classic.

Cherry Limeade

  • 2 cups of fresh cherries pitted
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • La Croix Cerise Limon or sparkling water

Start by making the cherry syrup. In a small pot bring the cherries, honey and lime juice to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and pour the cherry mixture into a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse on high to make a puree. There will still be some little bits and chunks of cherry, but you kind of want folks to know that this was made from real cherries.  All the cherry syrup to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

In a glass filled with ice, pour about 2-3 tbsp. of the cherry syrup (depending on how sweet you want the drink) then fill the glass with La Croix Cerise Limon or you favorite sparkling water. Stir and garnish with a wedge of lime and a fresh cherry on a pick.

Cherry Limeade recipe - a healthier take on a drive-thru classic. Cherry Limeade recipe - a healthier take on a drive-thru classic. Cherry Limeade recipe - a healthier take on a drive-thru classic. Cherry Limeade recipe - a healthier take on a drive-thru classic.

I hope you have a fabulous Monday friends.

Cherry Limeade recipe - a healthier take on a drive-thru classic.

Find / Food & Drink

How to Make French Press Coffee

May 17, 2017

There is a lot of debate on how the perfect cup of coffee is made. But, in my opinion french press might be the most accessible “good” cup of coffee out there. A french press is one of the least expensive coffee makers out there and I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a bad cup of coffee poured from one. So, here’s my “how to make french press coffee” guide.

There are a lot of instructions out there of how to use a french press properly. A lot of those guides require a timer and a scale. My process is a lot less technical and and a little more approachable. Like with any cooking or baking I do, a little experimenting is always apart of the process.

I’ve put together a little guide of all the things that you might need to make a great cup of coffee with a french press. Now, you definitely don’t NEED all of these items, but a lot of them are very helpful. The only item on guide that you have to, have to have is a french press. We can find substitutes for al the other items.

  1. Start by grinding your coffee. I always start with whole beans. I feel like the flavor of coffee immediately starts to change once the beans are ground. You coffee will taste so much better if you grind your beans right before you brew them. A coffee grinder is one of the first appliances I bought. I think I was in college and they usually cost around or less then $20 for a great basic grinder.
  2. Measure your coffee. This really comes down to personal preference. But, 1 tbsp. of fresh ground coffee to each cup of water is a good starting place. I LOVE strong coffee so I tend to add a couple more tablespoons of coffee to my french press.
  3. Put water on to boil. You definitely don’t need a fancy electric kettle, but they do make the job a little more hands off. Water can be boiled in a simple pot. Experts say that the water should be a very specific temperature for brewing coffee. My simple trick to knowing when the water is ready is to watch the water and just before it hits a rolling boil, that’s when you use the water. If it does hit a rolling boil, just let it sit a few minutes before adding it to the coffee.
  4. Add the water. Pour about 1 cup of water over the ground coffee. Allow it to sit for about 30 seconds and then stir it. Then add the remaining water. The brew time can vary. But 4 mins. is perfect brewing time as far as I’m concerned. Then press the plunger down.
  5. Serve the coffee immediately. If you leave it in the french press, the coffee will continue to brew. So either pour it in cups right away or store it in an insulated thermos till you are ready for a second cup.
  6. And if you want to take it to the next level. Sweeten your cup with a little simple syrup and top with warm frothed milk.

  1. Coffee Grinder – Once you have a french press, a coffee grinder should be next on your list. You’ll never want to buy ground coffee again.
  2. Whole Coffee Beans – Counter Culture is one of my favorite roasters. They source beans from small scale farms around the world.
  3. Simple Syrup Bottle – I make all my own syrups and don’t worry and simple syrup 101 is coming soon as well.
  4. Bodum French Press – this is the best of the best. I still use a Bodum that was my mom’s and she used it back in the 80’s. The best part of Bodum is that all the pars are replaceable, even the glass.
  5. Coffee Scoop + Bag Clip – these are so handy for both keeping your beans fresh in their bag and also for measuring out the coffee.
  6. Electric Kettle – I actually haven’t owned an electric kettle in years. But, they really are so handy. Maybe I’ll add this cute mint one to my Christmas list.
  7. Insulated Coffee Mugs – if your cup of joe isn’t piping hot, what’s the point? I also love that you can see your coffee through this mug. So much of drinking coffee is a ritual and experience, the right mug can make all the difference.
  8. Milk Frother – this is for taking your coffee enjoyment to the next level. When we lived in both Papua New Guinea and Yemen, I had one of these hand frothers and it worked so well.