Category Archives: Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler

August 21, 2017

Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler - a fun mocktail the whole family can enjoy. Sweet, smokey and just a touch of heat, this drink is far from boring.

Happy Monday and happy eclipse day friends, if you make it through the day alive, how about celebrating with a yummy sunny colored mocktail. And while is packs a little bit of heat, it’s guaranteed not to damage your eyes. I’m really excited about this latest mocktail recipe. This Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler has been in the works for a while. I love unusual flavor combinations, and pairing sweet pineapple with smokey ancho chilies really works. My son thinks this drink tastes like a pineapple grilled on the BBQ, which is super yummy and also his description might be spot on.

Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler - a fun mocktail the whole family can enjoy.

Like any good mocktail, this drink starts with a delicious simple syrup. And this chile ancho syrup is such a pretty amber color. If you aren’t familiar with chile anchos, they are just dried poblano chilis. They can be found in the Hispanic section of the grocery store.

Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler

  • Pineapple Juice
  • Sparkling Mineral Water
  • Chile Ancho Simple Syrup
  • Pineapple slices, leaves and a little piece of the chile for garnish.

Start by making the Chile Ancho Simple Syrup. In a small pot, add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 large chile anchos crumbled into small pieces. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely. Pour through a fine metal sieve to remove the chile ancho pieces.

In a glass filled with ice, add 1 oz. of the Chile Ancho Simple Syrup. Fill the glass half full with pineapple juice and then top with sparkling water. Stir and garnish with a slice of pineapple, leaf and a little piece of the dried chile.

For a cocktail, adult version, I think a little dark rum would pair well with this drink. 

Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler - a yummy combination that is sweet, smokey and just a touch of heat. Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler - a fun mocktail the whole family can enjoy.Pineapple Chile Ancho Cooler - a fun mocktail the whole family can enjoy.

Food & Drink

Rhubarb Rose Fizz

August 9, 2017

Well, this has sure been a great Summer. And before I share this yummy Summer Rhubarb Rose Fizz with you, I want to thank you for sticking with me, even though I took most of this last month off from posting. I needed some quality time with my family. Being a mom is always my first job. This time away gave me sometime to reflect and consider the direction I want to take this blog. I don’t think my direction has ever changed, I just haven’t had the time or means to make it what I really want. Some of that is because I take on assignments and freelance work just to pay the bills. These projects aren’t necessarily things I’m excited about or even things you, my readers, will love. Making a little money is important, but I’m considering saying NO to a few more things to make room for better YES’s. Does that make sense? This is all kind of risky business, and it’s not easy have such an unsure and income stream. But, my new goal is to be a little pickier about the work that eats up my time and energy. Anyways, I say all this because I want you to know that I really want this blog to be a place my readers LOVE to visit each week. Just know, I’m doing my best and I hope to bring you some great posts in the next few months. I’ve got some room makeovers headed your way, which I know you are big fans of and there will always be more mocktails.

Rhubarb Rose Fizz Mocktail

Mocktails are one of my favorite posts to create. I love being in the kitchen experimenting with flavor combinations. I also love the process of styling and shooting these posts. Anyways, I’m rambling on and on, but I’m there will be more mocktails, mostly because I just love a fun drink. And this Rhubarb Rose Fizz feels like a great way to celebrate the last week before everyone in our house heads back to school.

Rhubarb is the BEST! But, it’s actually really hard to find here in Southern California. And one I bought some the other day, the checker had no idea what it was. He looked at it for quite a while and then said, “Is this red celery?”. I couldn’t help not giggling out loud. Before it’s all gone though, I’ve bought quite a bit and have it chopped and bagged in the freezer, ready to future cobblers, pies and yummy drinks.

Rhubarb Rose Fizz Mocktail Rhubarb Rose Fizz Mocktail Rhubarb Rose Fizz Mocktail

I’m really a fan of an egg white drink. It adds a creamy, smooth quality to drinks and really makes them something special. But, I’ll tell you right away, if you are nervous about a raw egg white in your drink, this pretty pink drink can also be made with a splash of club soda instead. It’s still delicious and maybe even a little more refreshing. So, feel free to substitute.

Rhubarb Rose Fizz

  • 5 cups of fresh or frozen rhubarb (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. dried rose petals
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 egg white per drink ( or a splash of club soda can be substituted)
  • crushed dried rose petals and fresh rhubarb for garnish

In a pot, combine the rhubarb, sugar, water and dried rose petals. Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature and simmer for 20 mins of low heat. Pour through a fine metal sieve to remove the rhubarb pulp. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Store the rhubarb rose syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

When you are ready to mix and serve a drink, place ice, one egg white and 1/2 cup of the syrup in a shaker or large glass jar with a lid. Shake vigorously till it is frothy with foam. Pour through a small fine metal sieve to keep the ice cubes out of the drink. Top each drink with a sprinkling of dried rose petals and a knot of rhubarb. To make the knot, use a vegetable peeler, and peel off a 6 inch length of the rhubarb, then simply tie it in a knot in the center.

Rhubarb Rose Fizz Mocktail

Cheers to the last days of Summer friends.

Rhubarb Rose Fizz Mocktail

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