Category Archives: Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

October 17, 2017

I was pleasantly surprised to see fresh peaches still at the grocery store this week. I love ripe, juicy nectarines and peaches in the Summer. So, when I saw them this week I bought I whole box. The last couple of weeks have been crazy with work and travel, so we needed a little Monday afternoon treat yesterday. I made these yummy Peach Ginger Mock-Moscow Mules for my family and we might have also poured this yummy Peach Ginger sauce over vanilla ice cream as well.

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

If it involves Ginger Beer, I’m a FAN! So, any version of a Moscow Mule is a hit with me. This is a great make-ahead mocktail. Make the Peach Ginger sauce, and then just store it in the fridge. When you are ready to serve this yummy mocktail, just mix a little syrup with your favorite ginger beer and you are done!

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ginger beer
  • ice
  • peach and lime slices for garnish

In a blender, place the peaches, ginger, lime, sugar and water. Blend of high to make a smooth puree. Pour the puree into a small pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer. Simmer for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine metal sieve to remove any large pieces of pulp. Pour into a glass bottle and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To make the drink, fill a glass with ice add about 2 ounces of the peach syrup (add more of less depending on how sweet you like it). Top off the glass with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a slice of peach and lime.

And if you would like a spiked version of this drink, a splash of vodka can definitely be added.

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

Cheers friends!

etc. / Food & Drink

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

September 14, 2017

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

It’s been a doozy of a week. I could definitely use a mid-week mocktail! How about you? This Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa is the perfect drink to get you in the mood for some Fall weather and the those yummy familiar flavors of the holidays. Yep, I said it, holidays. Does that stress you out and get you excited? Fall always feels like the busiest time of year for us. So, I’m currently bracing myself for an even more hectic season. But, today the high is only supposed to be 86 F and that sounds AMAZING!  When I took kids to school this morning it was in the 60s, YIPPEEEEE! When we are in the dead of Summer, it feels like cooler weather will never come. I’m excited for a change in Season.

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

I really do enjoy cooking, especially when it isn’t making dinner on a crazy busy week night. For example, making this candied orange peel for the garnish was actually a really fun process and the results are super pretty.

This drink would be great as a classic mimosa with champagne, or you can make it family friendly and use ginger ale. And if you are hosting a big party, this would be great served in a big punch bowl.

You can find the full recipe over on Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company. And if you don’t have access to their super yummy juice, equal parts 100 % cranberry juice and orange juice can be used for this recipe.

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosas garnished with fresh rosemary and candied orange peel.


Food & Drink

Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl

September 6, 2017

Anyone else a fan of the smoothie bowl? I sure am. I’m feeling some Fall vibes with this yummy Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl. And it’s perfect timing for our heatwave. Because there is no way I’m going to turn on the oven and actually bake real carrot cake.

Believe me,  you don’t have to love carrots to love this smoothie bowl. It’s sweet and creamy and really does taste like a treat even thought it’s totally healthy and packed full of goodness.

Head over to Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company for the full recipe. And if you don’t live where Natalie’s is available, any carrot juice will work. I’d just add a 1/4 of turmeric to the recipe.

I hope your week is going well.

Food & Drink

Turkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta Tzatziki

August 30, 2017

Turkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta Tzatziki

Mid-week dinner just got a lot better with these yummy Turkey Meatball Gyros. As the head cook in our home, I’m always looking for healthy meals that can be made easily in the middle of all our hectic weeknight schedules. Many nights of the week, we have a very short window where we can sit and eat together, between gymnastics, guitar, cross country practice, and church. It’s got to be quick, easy and nutritious. I’m also one of those folks that easily gets bored with the same old meals, so I’m always looking for ways to change things up and try something new. This is one of those meals that layers lots of interesting flavors and keeps a weeknight dinner interesting. Sweet, spicy, tangy and crunchy – these gyros have it all.

As you may know, I’m married to a Biology teacher, and about a year and half ago he decided to stop eating beef. It’s all to do with the draught and how much water raising beef takes. Anyways, to make a long story a little shorter, I’m always looking for other protein options. And turkey is number one. Ground turkey is a healthy, leaner and lower calorie alternative to ground beef and is an easy substitute for leaner meals. Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey is USDA Certified Organic and raised free-range on organic land. It’s100% natural with no antibiotics, no GMOs and no added hormones or steroids.

I trust Foster Farms for their organic ground turkey, they are the leading producer of organic turkey in the Western United States. And for me, they are local, Foster Farms turkeys are raised right here in California’s Central Valley. 
Turkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta Tzatziki

Let’s start with tasty, crunchy side to serve with these gyros. On a recent trip, we were served crispy chick peas as a little starter to our meal. They were so addicting, all of use couldn’t stop munching on them. Quick and easy to make, I’m sure you are also going to love these Crispy Curry Chickpeas.

Crispy Curry Chickpeas

Crispy Curry Chickpeas

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp. coriander

Drain, rinse and dry the chickpeas. In a large bowl, combine the spices, olive oil and vinegar. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat them evenly.

Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake at 400 F for 35 mins. Stir the chick peas every 10 mins.

Serve warm.

Crispy Curry Chickpeas

And now for the main course. The nice thing about this meal is that you can make everything ahead of time and then just when you are ready to sit down and eat, all you have to do is warm up the meatballs.

Turkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta Tzatziki

Turkey Meatball Gyros

  • Pita bread or mediterranean flat bread
  • cucumbers, sliced
  • tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh cilantro
  • Sweet and Spicy Red Onion Pickles (see recipe below)
  • Lemon Feta Tzatziki (see recipe below)

Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb. Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. harissa paste (or Siracha is a good substitute)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Using small ice cream scoop, scoop the meatballs onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 F for 17-20 mins. Be sure to check them at 17 mins., you don’t want to over cook them, remove them as soon as then are done. This will prevent them from getting tough or dry.

Turkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta Tzatziki Turkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta TzatzikiTurkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta Tzatziki

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Red Onion

  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 a red onion sliced thinly

In a jar, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the red onion, seal and place in the fridge for at least two hours.

Sweet and Spicy Quick Picked Red Onion

Lemon Feta Tzatziki

  • 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • zest ad juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated cucumber

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Turkey Meatball Gyros with Lemon Feta Tzatziki

Foster Farms is offering $2 OFF their Organic Ground Turkey. Click HERE for the coupon!

Foster Farms will be conducting a Facebook drawing over the next three weeks for a FREE package of Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey; five winners will be drawn randomly each Friday. To be eligible, readers just have to comment on this post, HERE their favorite way to prepare Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey. 

This post is sponsored by Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey, thanks you for supporting the great companies that help make this blog possible. 

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

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.