Don’t say goodbye to summer just yet

We may have to bid summer goodbye soon, but for those of you still craving, it is time for barbecues, parties and afternoon get-togethers. Get out your drink umbrellas and dazzle your guests with some of these delicious drink recipes influenced by tropical flavors and warm weather. Serve them in mason jars for that extra oomph!

Clementine and Red Wine Spritzers

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Serves: 4

1 bottle red wine (not super sweet)
2 bottles clementine soda
Ice and straws, for serving

 

Fill each glass with ice. Fill each glass a third of the way full with clementine soda. Top with wine and serve immediately!

 

The Natural

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Recipe:

2 oz fresh pressed watermelon juice
1 1/4 oz Tequila Blanco
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 oz Allagash White

Shake all ingredients together except the Allagash, pour into chilled brandy snifter, add Allagash, and garnish with a mint leaf.

 

Watermelon Sizzle

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Recipe:
1 1/2 oz Casamigos Tequila
1/2 oz agave nectar
1 oz chile-infused watermelon juice

 

Serve with a pink Himalayan salt rim and garnished with a tequila soaked watermelon wedge.

 

Skinny Cherry Berry Bash

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Cherry pie is a quintessential summer dessert — but it’s not exactly figure friendly. This Skinny Cherry Bash turns dessert into a delectable drink. Plus, all of the cherries and blueberries will give you a serving of fruit!
Ingredients:
12 cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/2 cup blueberries
12 fresh mint leaves
6 ounces dark rum
1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes worth)
3 cups black-cherry or cherry flavored soda
ice

Directions:
Add 3 cherries, 2 tablespoons blueberries, and 4 mint leaves into each glass. Muddle with a wooden spoon. Add 1 1/2 ounces dark rum, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 3/4 cup soda to each glass and stir. Add ice.

 

Chupacabra

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Recipe:
25oz pineapple syrup
1/2 oz lime juice
3/4 oz long chile-infused Domaine de Canton Liqueur
1 oz fresh watermelon juice
1 oz Lunazul Blanco Tequila

Combine ingredients in a shaker. Fill with ice, shake vigorously for eight to 10 seconds. Double strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

 

Mutticano Cocktail

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1 ounce vodka
3/4 ounce Campari
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice, chilled
Ice
Club soda
Orange twist, for garnish

Directions:
Place the vodka, Campari, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker and stir to combine. Fill a rocks glass with ice and pour in the mixture. Add just a splash of soda and garnish with the orange twist.

 

And now its time for “Salute!! Cheers!! Kampai!!” I hope you enjoy these and have a great weekend!

Get Happy

Now that summer sunshine has finally reentered your world, it’s time to trade heavy jeans for shorts and bulky boots for strappy sandals – and hit the beach. But, summertime also brings in heat and with that comes sweet and cold cravings specially when last weekend was National Ice-cream Day. Not all are good because overall wellness isn’t really about being a stickler when it comes to what you eat, but rather balancing indulgence with hard work. So, you can keep eating your sweets, and enjoying them without guilt—you just may need to change the type of treat, and perhaps the quantity. Here are my healthy-ish treats that are so yummy and they won’t throw off your workout efforts:

Frozen chocolate-covered bananas

IMGP7477 You can’t go wrong with a fruit-based dessert because the natural sweet already brings the sugar—but paired with fiber. What’s the benefit of eating sugar with fiber versus sugar without? The fiber slows down the digestion of the sugar, allowing it to be released into the body at a slower pace that it’s designed to handle. These chocolate-covered bananas have a little bit of both natural sugar and added sugar, making them the perfect low-calorie indulgence. Simply melt dark chocolate chips, slice up half of a banana, and dip the slices into the gooey chocolate. Then pop them in the freezer for 30 minutes or so, and you have bite-sized treats ready to go. You can also take it up a notch by adding toppings like crushed pretzels, cereal, sprinkles, coconut, salted peanuts, toasted almonds, hopes & dreams.

Vegan cherry chocolate chip ice cream

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This vegan “ice cream” skips the dairy in favor of a frozen, blended banana, which brings the sweetness without overpowering the main event: fresh cherries. You should actually start with the cherries: wash, pit, and dry them, then stick them in the freezer for at least three hours. Then cut a banana in half, peel it, and put that in the freezer, too, along with a quarter-cup of almond milk in ice cube trays. Once everything is nice and frosty, throw it all in the food processor until it’s creamy and smooth (with an additional unfrozen quarter-cup of almond milk). Add a dash of dairy-free chocolate chips and dig in.

Mango Brûlée

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Pre-heat your broiler and set an oven rack a few inches away from it. Lay each mango half face up, and score with a sharp knife — basically, make a big hashtag on your mango. Brush with rum and squeeze lime over the top. Finish by sprinkling sugar on top. Pop it into the broiler and check after five minutes. (If you’re a real pro, feel free to whip out your brûlée torch and go to town.) Once it’s reached a dark golden-brown, pull ’em out and serve immediately.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

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Strain your yogurt well. You can use an ultra-fine sieve or line a strainer with cheesecloth and fill with your yogurt. Even if you start with Greek yogurt (which is already strained), do it anyway. You want to remove as much excess liquid from the yogurt as possible, which will prevent it from getting too icy in the freezer. We recommend leaving it to strain into a large bowl placed in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight. After removing, blot the outside of the sieve or cheesecloth with a paper towel to get any leftover liquid.Freeze your berries (or other add-ins, especially if they’re fruits) in advance. This will also help it to not get rock-hard and icy in the freezer. There’s no reasonable explanation as to why this makes such a difference, but it does. It’s frozen yogurt voodoo. Once all ingredients are thrown together and mixed, use a food processor, blender, hand mixer, or immersion blender to finish the job. This will help the honey and berry flavors to really infuse the yogurt, blending in a way you just can’t do by hand (unless you have a turbo-charged arm). Do this quickly, before the frozen stuff softens too much. Pop your goodies in the freezer for one to two hours — definitely check after one. We find it’s best not to leave overnight, or you may have to defrost the yogurt a bit. This recipe is at its best when eaten same day. But, we have a feeling it will be gone even faster.

Spinach Chicken Curry

Spicy and fragrant – A dish that is bursting with flavor, just the right amount of heat, and so darn good you’ll just have to have seconds. Today, I bring you a delicious chicken recipe from my mom’s kitchen. Without further a-do, here’s another Chicken Curry recipe. Yummylicious!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Lbs Chicken, Goat or Lamb meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Bundle Spinach
  • 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 Green Cardamon
  • 4 Tbs Oil
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Cilantro, for garnishing

Spice Paste:

  • 4 Tbs Dried Shredded Coconut
  • 2 Tbs Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Medium size Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 1-2 Tbs Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Black Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Nutmeg Powder
  • 6-8 Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2-3 Green Cardamon
  • Salt, to taste

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METHOD

STEP 1: Take the bunch of Spinach leaves and boil it in water for 2 minutes. Drain the leave and puree it.

STEP 2: Coarsely grind all the spices along with some water used for spinach boiling and make its paste.

STEP 3: Heat oil in large cooking pot. Add chopped onions and fry it till they turn brown.

STEP 4: Add chopped tomato and fry along with onion. Allow it to cook until oil separates out. Mash 2 green cardamons and add it to the pan. Mix well and let it cook.

STEP 5: Now, add chicken or your choice of meat pieces to the pot and fry it for 2-3 minutes (or until it changes color).

STEP 6: Add the spice paste and spinach puree to the pan. Mix it well with the chicken or meat, so that everything is well mixed and coated in spices. Cover and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes.

STEP 7: Pour in about 1 cup of hot water (The meat and spinach will make good thick gravy. So, do not add too much water). Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is soft, tender and fully cooked.

STEP 8: Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve it with rice or bread. Delicious!!

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Spice It Up!

In Spring, the Golden State turns green. Well, the weather is as changeable as the seas, literally! Just yesterday we were rejoicing in warm sun and today it’s rainy. Even in spring, we want to feel cosy on a rainy, somewhat chilly day. And what better than turning to fresh, spicy recipes to warm up your day and appetite. Nothing quite compares to the comforting abilities of piping hot dinner. And yes – you can still enjoy it with a glass of rosé. It’s spring, after all.

Subtle and succulent chunks of chicken simmering leisurely in a fiesty gravy which sends off an inviting aroma that cannout be ignored by any. The spark of Indian spices, deep flavors and perfumed aromatics – there’s a lot to look forward to. A chicken curry dinner is a ultimate crowd pleaser. So, lets get started –

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Large Onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Large Tomato, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp Spice Blend (Use store bought Chicken Curry spice or recipe below)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Oil, for cooking
  • 1-2 cups Water
  • Cilantro, for garnishing

SPICE MIX INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 6-8 Cloves
  • 1-2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 1 Tsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Seeds
  • Salt, to taste

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INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: Coarsely grind all spice mix ingredients togther to make a thick paste. (You can store this spice blend in refirgerator to use again)

STEP 2: Heat oil in a large cooking pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and saute for few minutes until it’s fragnant and softened. Cook, stirring occassionally, until they turn golden-brown, approximately 10-15 minutes.

STEP 3: Add chopped tomato to the pan and stir. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes till oil separates out.

STEP 4: Lower the heat to low-medium. Add the spice mix to the pan. Mix it well with the onion-tomato mixture. Let it cook for couple of minutes, till it’s aromatic and flavor intensifies. Ensure to keep stirring occassionally. (HINT: you know it’s ready when the oil starts to separate out)

STEP 5: Add chicken pieces to the pan and mix it well with the curry mixture. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until chicken turns pale. Cover and let it cook on low heat for 5-6 minutes for chicken to let out moisture. While it’s cooking, microwave 1 cup of water for 1 minute.

STEP 6: Pour water to the pan and mix well (Make sure you have just enough water to partially cover the chicken) Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is soft and tender.

STEP 7: Sprinkle coriander and serve with rice.


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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Rice, washed and soaked
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Oil
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 Tbsp Onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds. Saute till the seeds splutter. Add chopped onions and cook until fragnant and brown.

STEP 2: Add salt and water to pan, and bring it to boil. To the boiling water, add rice and mix cautiously (We don’t want to break the rice)

STEP 3: When it starts boiling, lower the heat and cover the pot. Let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until rice is completely cooked (as per instructions on type of rice).

NOTE: You can make variations to rice by adding peas, finely chopped dill or mint/coriander leaves. It’s your take!

Enjoy it with your warm Chicken Curry! Seriously –  so good!

 

 

Game On!

Do like enjoying beer while talking about football? Or do you love hosting parties? If so, Sunday February 7, 2016 brings your biggest challenge. All America will pause for a single game.

Guests will start gathering at Super Bowl Party or wishing your appearance at theirs. In a 6 minute game (which takes 3 hours to play), there are actually only 7 minutes of “action”. The rest of the time is “making plans”, unpiling, removing wonded, etc. And, if you are anything like me someone who only cares about food, drink and half-time entertainment, fear not — we’re here to help. Whether you’re cheering for your favorite team or singing to Coldplay and Beyonce during the halftime show, these simple and satisfying appetizers and snacks are sure to be a touchdown at your party. It will even make you the Super Bowl-iest super bro at your Super Bowl party.

Blue Cheese Dip

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Ingredients:

Serves: 1
  • 1 (6-oz) container plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Crudités and/or whole-grain crackers, for dipping
Directions:
 
  • Open the Greek yogurt, then add the lemon juice, blue cheese, and a generous pinch each salt and pepper right to the container; stir until combined.
  • Serve the dip with cut vegetables and/or whole-grain crackers.

The Best Guacamole Ever

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2. 3 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, halved and very finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

Directions:

  • Soak the minced red onion in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes; drain and pat dry. 
  • Make slices in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern. Scoop out the pieces into a large bowl using a spoon. 
  • Add the red onion, serrano chile, tomato, lime juice, and salt, and fold together, crushing the avocado slightly, until combined. Serve immediately. 

Hot Tips:
Soaking the red onion in water softens its sharp flavor. 
Squeeze avocados to see if they’re ripe — they should give a bit under gentle pressure. Remove the small brown stem at the top: If the flesh underneath is brown, the avocado is probably bruised/old. 
Juicy tomato seeds can water down guacamole and make it slimy. Cut the tomato into quarters, then slide your knife underneath the seeds to remove before chopping.

 

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup prepared breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
Directions:
  • Place the flour in a resealable plastic bag and season with the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the flour and toss to coat (work in batches). Transfer the breadcrumbs to a rimmed plate, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a medium bowl. Remove a piece of chicken from the flour, dip in the egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the chicken, and set on a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan (work in batches if needed) and brown on each side, about 8 minutes total. Use a spatula to transfer the chicken nuggets to a paper-towel-lined plate. Salt while hot and serve.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread Pizza

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Ingredients:
For the pizza:
  • 4 whole-wheat pita breads (about 7 1/2 inches)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and julienned
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
    fresh basil, sliced
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 of a 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    To make the tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and slightly browned (about 4 minutes) then add the rest of your ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, allowing tomato sauce to simmer for about 35 minutes. Sauce should become thick.
  • On two baking sheets, assemble pita bread and spread about 1/3 cup of sauce on each. Add bell pepper slices and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for roughly 20 minutes, until cheese has melted and crust is slightly browned. Remove from oven an sprinkle with fresh basil. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Vegetarian Black Bean Chilli

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Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 2/3 cups coarsely chopped red bell peppers (about 2 medium)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
  • 1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
  • Sour Cream
  • Grated MontereyJack Cheese
  • Chopped Green onions
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
Directions:
  • Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté until onions soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir 2 minutes.
  • Mix in beans, 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid, and tomato sauce. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle chili into bowls. Pass chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese, and green onions separately.

Chicken Burgers, Thai Style

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon very finely minced red chili
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil

Directions:

  • Thoroughly mix the chicken with the garlic, cilantro, shallots, red chili, fish sauce, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into 4 burgers, each about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Rub each burger on both sides with a bit of the safflower oil and grill for about 8 minutes on the first side and another 5 minutes on the second, or until nicely marked and firm to the touch
  • Transfer burgers to buns and/or serve with greens.

Gin Rickey

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Ingredients:

  • 1.25 oz Tanqueray London Dry gin
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 5 parts soda water

Directions:

Build in a highball glass, stir, top with soda water. Drag to mix and garnish with a lime wedge.

Ultimate Sangria

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Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • 2 tbsps fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsps fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur (like Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • 1 bottle hearty red wine
  • 1 750-ml bottle sparkling water
Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, excluding the sparkling water. Stir until sugar dissolved completely.
  • For the wine, don’t get fancy. A high-end wine is unnecessary and will lose it’s complexity when combined with all these ingredients. Try a Rioja, Cabernet, Chianti, Sangiovese, or Merlot for around $10. 
  • Ideally, let the sangria chill in the fridge for an hour or so, then top with sparkling water and serve!