Category Archives: drinks


Tea.  My favorite drink next to water.  I like it warm or cold, with a meal or just on its own.  I like green, black, white, red (rooibos), herbal, oolong, they are all good.  Personally, I don’t care for tea bags, I prefer loose tea, and I found a great place to get my tea and an easy (and quicker) way to brew my tea.  I was researching loose teas a couple of years ago and came across Adagio Teas (Adagio Teas – Best Tea Online) and fell in love with their products.  They have high quality, yet affordable teas.  My first purchase was their Tea Starter:
Tea Starter Set

Continue reading Tea

July Challenge for R2R

It’s the beginning of another month and that means its Recipes To Rival time!! Our host this month is brought to you by Lauren of Fried Pickles & Ice Cream.

What was our challenge this month? A little summer taste of Italy! A delicious & simple antipasta (appetizer), Bruschetta & a digestivo (after-dinner drink), Limoncello.
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Lauren tells us that “Bruschetta, having its origination in Italy, is served as an antipasta. It is one of the simplest & easiest things to make & will gratify your taste buds. It is greatly enjoyed when paired with red wine. In Italian, Bruschetta is pronounced ‘brusketta’, where ‘bruscare’ means ‘to roast over coals’. The trick is to roast or grill the bread… NOT bake it as we do in America. Once you have tried this recipe you will have a hard time ordering it at a restaurant!”

She also tells us that “Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that originated in Southern Italy around the Bay of Naples. The liqueur derives its flavor from the peels, rather than the juice of the fruit, resulting in a pleasant, sweet, lemony taste. It is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drink. Keep your bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. The ingredients are simple & few, & making a batch doesn’t require much work, but you’ll need some time… don’t wait until the last minute to make it!!”

I love bruschetta! I also love limoncello! I was so excited to see this challenge. My first taste of limoncello was at Olive Garden, they have a frozen limoncello lemonade that is amazing!!! I have been looking for a bottle of limoncello ever since, but sadly, I have yet to find it. Now, I can make it at home. It is so simple to make. Bruschetta I have made before & always love it. If you have never tried it before, it is a must make. Thank you so much Lauren for the great challenge!

Here are the recipes:
Bruschetta (4 servings)
4 slices Rustic Bread
2 cups chopped Roma Tomatoes    I used grape and Roma tomatoes
1 clove Garlic
4 to 8 leaves Basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil                     I omitted
Sea salt

-Heat grill or grill pan to medium high heat
-Slice THICK pieces of bread
-Place bread on grill until each side has a nice golden color
-Rub garlic on top side of each bread piece
-Pile tomatoes on
-sprinkle one big pinch of salt per piece on top of the tomatoes
-generously drizzle oilve oil on top of tomatoes (about 2 to 3 tablespoons per piece) omitted
-add basil to the top

1 liter grain alcohol
5 1/2 cups water
5 large lemons (or 10 small lemons)
2 1/2 cups sugar

-Gently wash lemons in cool water to remove any dirt
-Peel away zest from lemon leaving as little pith (the white stiff) as possible.
-Put peels in a large sealed jar or container (I reused the alcohol bottle)
-Pour alcohol over lemons and place container in a cool place.
-Leave the mixture for 7 days.
-Every day give the container a little swirl. You will see the alcohol become darker & darker every day.
-After 7 days, strain the alcohol by using a coffee filter.
-Prepare the simple syrup. Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar to dissolve.
-Mix the syrup with the alcohol. BE CAREFUL… DO NOT DO THIS NEAR A FLAME!!!
-Pour the limoncello into bottles or containers. Let cool completely. Store in the freezer until ready to serve!
*Date your limoncello. After a year it will no longer be delicious.

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Verdict: Limoncello – a little too much alcohol and not enough lemon, but pretty darn good for my first try. I will definitely be making this again. It is totally worth the effort. I would also use vodka next time instead of the grain alcohol.

Bruschetta – always a winner! Hubby actually liked the Blue Cheese, Pear & Walnut Crostini that we did back in December better, he just isn’t a huge fan of basil. Very tasty, quick & easy to make. This makes a great appetizer for any party.

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This weeks menu plan

Every week, I sit down and figure out my dinner menu for the next week and write out my grocery list.  I don’t normally plan out a daily breakfast or lunch menu, just dinners.  Breakfasts are always a smoothie and then we add on either cereal, waffles or pancakes, hashbrowns, or steel cut oats.  I switch it up a little if I have a lazy morning, or find a recipe I want to try.  For lunches, we typically have leftovers, peanut butter and jelly, fakin’ BLTA or cucumber sandwiches.  Mainly depends on if I have to take my lunch with me to work or if I’m home.  Here is our dinner plan for the week (I say plan, because it is always subject to change as life happens):

Sunday – Special (check back at the end of the month to see what this was)

Monday – Quick Protein Salad with Bread

Tuesday – Vegan Patties with Corn on the Cob

Wednesday – Cajun-Seared Portobello Fillets with Avocado Cream

Thursday – Salad and Beans with pita chips and hummus

Friday – Leftovers

Saturday – Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Salad

This morning we had waffles with a ZenMatcha Power Shake (adapted from Refresh Cookbook pg. 158).  The shake turned out really good, it has 1 tablespoon of matcha powder in it which makes it a pretty light shade of green. 

ZenMatcha Power Shake 

Prep Time: 5 minutes    Yield: 1 serving

1 cup pineapple, cubed

1/2 cup orange juice

2 cups ice cubes

1 1/2 cups spinach

2/3 cup soymilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 TBSP matcha green tea powder

1.  Place all of the ingredients in a blender in the order given and blend until smooth.  You may need to stir it a couple of times to make sure it all gets blended together. 

2. Pour into a glass and enjoy. 

Sorry, no picture, there were too many cooks in the kitchen and I was starving!   Everyone loved it though!  The matcha flavor is great!

Product Review: Izze Pop

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A little break in the cruise log to let you know that I really like this drink.  It has all natural ingredients, low in calories and sugar (about 1/2 that of regular pop), and has fruit juice in it.  I don’t recommend drinking soda pop at all, and carbonated beverages only occassionally, but when you do splurge, Izze’s are the way to go.  I found them at Costco, they come in a box of 12 (4 of each flavor) with an assortment of Pomegranate, Clementine and Blackberry.  The Clementine goes great with Mexican food, the Pomegranate is good, though a little tart and the Blackberry is mine and K’s favorite.  I also found 3 other flavors at my local health food store: Grapefruit, Blueberry and Pear.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I can’t wait to try the Grapefruit one!