Sunday, April 29, 2012

Strawberry Mint Sparkling Limeade

Vacation spoiled me.   For two weeks I didn't cook.  I didn't drive.  I didn't work.  I barely checked my personal email.  I occasionally posted a pic on Facebook so my friends knew I was alive and having fun.    On Monday all the mail that had been on hold poured in.   Including the most recent issue of Cooking Light with a feature on strawberries.    I decided that this drink was the right way to return to the kitchen.  Slowly.  And with alcohol.    I have mad love for sangria, but I think this limeade will join sangria in the summer drink rotation.   It will be delicious at City Park Jazz. 

What You Need
3 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (I squeezed 3 limes and when that didn't yield enough, I added some bottled key lime juice to make up the difference - I didn't want this to be too much work)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar (I was able to buy just what I needed at Sunflower Market in the bulk area)
1 750ml bottle sparkling wine, chilled (I bought Andre and the lid even screws back on if you aren't making 6 glasses at once)
strawberries / mint for garnish

What You Do
Place strawberries, mint, lime juice, water and agave nectar in your food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Pour 1/2 cup into your fancy limeade glasses.   Slowly pour, at an angle, about a half cup of wine into the glass.  Stir gently to combine.  Garnish with a strawberry and mint leaf if desired. 

If you're making this for the under 21 crowd, you can replace the sparkling wine with sparkling water or club soda.  

Recipe from Cooking Light

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vacation in a Cup

Sometime, back in 2005, say,  I started to drink coffee.   Coffee, as in something more than a frappuccino.   Now, regardless of what my trainer says, I will not drink just black coffee, or black coffee with skim milk.   I need a little something.  Sugar.  Syrup.  Something.   

I remember going out to breakfast with my grandma and ordering coffee.   She was shocked.   Never in my life had she seen me drink coffee.  Somehow I got through college, the prime coffee addiction years, without picking up the habit.   I wouldn't say I'm addicted.   I don't drink coffee every day.   But I do enjoy it.   Especially the social side of coffee.   Chatting with a friend over breakfast or dessert.   Walking out of my office, and out of the building, for a break.  

Cappuccinos to me are a special occasion drink.   I want to drink it in a real cup.   You can't adequately enjoy it in a paper cup with a lid.   You need to see it.  Smell it.  Savor it.   It's a vacation in a cup.  Even if you aren't anyplace exotic. 

I just returned from a two week vacation to Greece and Turkey.    Almost every day I took a coffee break.   Cappuccino A (top) was on the ferry from Athens to Mykonos.   The little chocolate chip cookie on the side was an unexpected, but delicious, treat.  Being in the land of baklava and its cousins, you know.  Cappuccino B (bottom) was at a cafe across from the Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete.   We had some free time for shopping or a snack before getting on the bus to go back to the cruise ship.   I didn't need any souvenirs.  

I needed to sit in the sun at a cafe and enjoy some relaxing vacation in a cup.
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