These were the types of shenanigans that were occurring in my kitchen Sunday afternoon after a splendid day in Central Park.
We had such a blissful relaxing day that I wanted to keep the relaxed mood going. I fancy myself a martini kind of gal but every now and then I like to change things up and go a little tropical. As my husband watched baseball, I meandered into the kitchen, took out the blender, and proceeded to blend together a few things that I luckily had in my refrigerator , bar and pantry. I threw in some bananas, some pineapple, some mango nectar, some Bacardi Rum, ice, and some homemade sour mix.
It was delightful…a little island hop if you will. This is adapted from The Barefoot Contessa’s Mango Daiquiri recipe. She uses fresh mangoes (..of course she does). My little concoction uses mango nectar (which you can find in most grocery stores) and fresh pieces of pineapple. While I would like to be as perfect as Ina Garten, I worked with what I had and Jeffrey…er…my husband was very pleased.
Mango Pineapple Banana Daiquiris
My freezer has been seducing me for the last couple of days. Every night it beckons me: Ciao Bella, Hello Beautiful and I willingly succumb to its advances. Who can resist being called beautiful, right? When I open the freezer door I’m met with the happiest, most colorful pint of pure decadence – Ciao Bella Gelato and Sorbets.
I had been meaning to try this brand of gelato’s and sorbets for quite some time, so when I saw a sale in the Sunday circular, I sent my husband to the supermarket to “Scoop” some up (yes, I know- pun intended). I knew I definitely wanted to try the Blood Orange sorbet because I’ve found blood orange anything to be absolutely amazing. (Years ago when I lived in Italy I used to drink the freshest blood orange juice for breakfast and the memory still brings tears of pure joy to my eyes). I let my husband choose the other flavor (because the key to a happy marriage is compromise – of course) and he decided on the Pistachio gelato. We had the best of both worlds: a refreshing sorbet of Sicilian Blood Orange and a creamy gelato with salted Pistachios to really sweep us off our feet.
While I have traditionalist tendencies – who can resist some good ‘ol chocolate and vanilla ice cream – I love taking my tastebuds to another level with “out of the box” flavors. The Ciao Bella brand of gelato’s and sorbets have an assortment of creative flavor to choose from and they do not disappoint in quality. I’ve just perused their website and Chocolate Jalapeño, Belgian Chocolate and Peaches & Cream are next on my must try flavor list–Yum! Check out their blog as well for some really creative recipes to incorporate their gelato’s and sorbets into cocktails and smoothies.
Ciao Bella, Hello Beautiful
Ciao Bella's Pistachio Gelato and Blood Orange Sorbet
I don’t really consider myself a dessert kind of gal. When I go out to eat I’m not the one clamoring for the dessert menu at the end of the meal. That’s not to say I don’t have a sweet tooth, I just tend to prefer cocktails over cupcakes. When I become obsessed with a sweet treat (you might recall this) I can’t help but share.
My recent dessert obsession does not involve some expensive rare chocolate found in darkest Peru. Nor is it an egregiously priced confection wrapped in edible gold leaf that will set you back a day’s pay. Nope, it is neither of those thing. This sweet treat involves cake and a stick and will set you back $3.00. I wish I could follow this description with some really mouth watering adjectives to lure you into trying one but all I can really say is that it is a ball of some damn good cake on top of a stick. Simple and sweet.
These wonderful cake pops (Johnny Cake is my current favorite flavor) can be found at Stick&Pop a new shop located in Chelsea, NYC. The owners are equally as sweet as their desserts and I guarantee you will not be disappointed with whichever flavor you choose!
I woke up to read the headline “World Markets down sharply” and started feeling the beginnings of agita, so I decided to keep this post SUPER light (not that this blog usually features hard hitting news) and write about something that I find super comforting–Ice Cream.
While a scoop of chocolate ice cream is always a nice treat and a classic standby, when I really want to indulge I go a little gourmet and go searching for the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck. The sight of this pastel yellow truck serving some of the best organic ice cream around town, always sets my heart aflutter. I usually make a visit to the VL ice cream truck while it’s parked in front of the Standard Hotel in the Meat Packing district. While hordes of 20-somethings line up in all their “fabulousness” to get inside The Standard Beer Garden to “see and be seen”, I line up in front of the VL truck to get my cup of Earl Grey Ice Cream. For a brief moment, as I savor the taste of my first spoonful, I do not have a care in the world. With their truck parked in several locations all throughout the city, and shops in the East Village and 2 more in Brooklyn, it’s easy to get a taste of their delicious ice cream. The Early Grey (which is currently not listed on their site) is my all time favorite flavor and definitely worth trying. Check out their website for more information about their process, flavors, and locations (http://www.vanleeuwenicecream.com/). When the news of the world gets you a little down and out, just scream for Ice Cream.
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream TruckThe VL TruckThe delicious Earl Grey Ice Cream
The delicious Earl Grey Ice Cream
Sometimes I even share with the Hubby
I am by no means “Ms. Conservationist” but I do try and help the environmental movement in my own capacity. I recycle, I try to conserve water and electricity, and I try not to be wasteful. This is after all the only planet we’ve got, which is why I wanted to share with you a really cool product that makes me feel all earthy-crunchy inside. Not only is its design sleek and modern but it helps us use one of our greatest natural resources-Water.
This is the Bobble. The what you ask? The water bobble. Big deal–a water bottle. (Go pull the wool over someone else’s eyes Lady L). However this is not just a water bottle. Sure, at first sight it looks that way, but this cool bottle contains a portable filter that purifies any water source while you’re on the go. In my home, we try not to buy water bottles when we don’t have to. We have a great Brita Carafe that we use religiously but there was never a way to take this filtered water around and have it last all day. This water bottle lets you refill your bottle from any good water source and does the job of filtering it while you drink it. You can continue refilling and drinking while you’re out and about without having to buy those pesky plastic water bottles and pollute the earth.
So how did I stumble upon the Bobble? The DH (darling husband) and I were walking through Washington Square Park one summer afternoon when we saw two really eager people with bright shirts and a cart showing someone the Bobble. Curious old me decided to inobtrusively make my way into the conversation (the DH proceeded to shake his head). One of the bright shirts saw my interest and asked me if I knew what I was looking at. I told him I thought it was one of those bottles where you can fill water in the middle and freeze it to make ice. He told me that was not the case and began to extoll the virtues of this new found object. And then he told me something which made me just HAVE to try it. He said, “Here take one. Take one and try it out.” Then he looked at my DH who was standing a few feet away trying to look like he was not with me and said “Here, you can have one too.” His and Hers—how could I resist?
I love a free gift, but I really love a free gift that works and I can actually utilize. I pride myself on writing about things and sharing things that I actually like and use. The Bobble people don’t know me (aside from that sweet bright shirt guy that gave me this bobble), nor do I know them, but I wanted to share with you this great product because I feel it is definitely worth getting. I used the Bobble while spending the day at Hudson River Park the other day. It was an intensely hot day and the DH and I were drinking away from our Bobbles. As soon as we finished we simply went to the nearest water fountain and refilled.
If you want to learn more about the Bobble, check out their story here. And if you want to learn more about the negative effects that water bottles have on our environment please check out these frightening facts.
Next stop for me…Birkenstocks. Actually,no, not really ; )
Happy Bastille Day mes amis! On France’s special day it seems only appropriate that I share some French things that I really j’adore!
My pair of Christian Louboutin heels which I don’t have the opportunity to wear as much as I would like to. They sure are beautiful and slipping them on makes me feel spectacular!
Beautiful drinking glasses from Paris that we received as a wedding gift. Any drink tastes delightful in these colorful glasses. À votre santé!
Scrumptious and amazingly decadent French Macarons. I’ve already raved about them here
- Image via www.davidlebovitz.com
And of course le fromage, especially Brie! Check out my Brie and Caramelized Onion panini recipe here. Perfect meal to celebrate Bastille Day!
Sometimes men can be so hard to shop for. Take for example my husband. He never asks for anything and the things he has asked for are usually things he “needs”. Every year for birthdays, Christmas, Anniversaries I find it hard to find something that is fun, thoughtful, and just plain cool. So it’s always great when you find something that is a really creative gift idea. I stumbled upon these great beer soaps that will make a fantastic gift for any man in your life: brother, husband, dad, cousin, friend.
- Image via The Beer Soap Company
These ingenious soaps made by The Beer Soap Company are made with natural oils and butter- pure Olive oil, Unrefined Cocoa and Shea Butter, Jojoba, Sweet Almond oil and of course, BEER! They carry 95 varieties of beer…er, soap ranging from Ales, Lagers, Pilsners and Stouts. The soap featured here is the Black Pepper and Lime-made with Corona! Perhaps you’re interested in a Sam Adams or a Sierra Nevada? Don’t worry they have those too. Can’t decide which beer that man in your life likes? No prob, you can pick and choose in their “6 Pack” set (so awesome!)
Now, let’s be honest here, these soaps are not just for the man in your life. They are great for yourself, your mother, sister and any other woman you know who likes a nice cold brewski every now and then. Check them out: www.thebeersoapcompany.com. I guarantee that anyone receiving these as a gift will be drunk with happiness!
**UPDATE: For the life of me, I couldn’t remember where I adapted this recipe from. I go through countless recipes everday trying to find something inventive that will please the palate of me and my husband. Upon going through a stack of papers today I found the recipe and couldn’t go without giving it a recipe ”shoutout.” This recipe will provide you with actual measuring but like I stated in my adaptation free feel to eyeball ingredients to suit your tastes! xo
When summer comes around I always try to make dishes that are flavorful and light but that also utilize ingredients that are in season. I had stocked up on cucumbers - 8 for $1 at the Korean market- (you really can’t beat that) and was trying to get creative with some of my summertimes recipes. Here’s a great summertime pasta salad that makes a large quantity to last you through the week or to serve at a barbeque or dinner party. For a cucumber cocktail, make sure to check out one of my earlier posts on Cucumber Martini’s here. Enjoy!
- Mint Cucumber Orzo Salad
-1 box of Orzo
-a handful of fresh Mint leaves, chopped (enough to really flavor the salad)
-3 scallions (green and white parts)
-1-2 cucumbers chopped into small pieces
-2 Tbs Olive Oil
-Juice of 1 Lemon
-Salt and Pepper to taste
Boil the Orzo until it’s “Al Dente”-about 8-10 minutes. Aside from the box of Orzo, use as much of the ingredients listed to suit your tastes. I just gave you a ballpark but I pretty much eyeball everything. I really love the flavor that the scallions bring to this dish so I tend to add a bit more. If it looks like there is too much Orzo and not enough of the other ingredients, simply add more of the scallions and cucumbers. The mint should be a welcome flavor suprise, but don’t let it overpower your dish. I found that a “handful” of leaves does the trick. It’s probably 1/4 cup, so just make sure it’s finely chopped.
When I find something new that I like I tend to become a little bit obsessive about it (yes, the entire Adele album is still on repeat). Such is the case with two of my current favorite desserts/snacks: Yogurt with honey and sliced almonds and Dark Chocoalate Acai with Blueberry. I’m more of a savory foods person but every now and then I like a little something sweet and sugary to satisfy my sweet tooth.
- Yogurt with Honey and Sliced Almonds
The first is super simple to make and is a great afternoon dessert or after-dinner dessert. Simply buy a container of plain yogurt, a bag of sliced almonds, and honey. Fill a dessert bowl with as much yogurt as you like, then layer it with a good amount of honey (the amount of honey you add depends on how sweet you want it. I usually like it med-sweet), and finally layer it with sliced almonds to temper all the flavors and give it some much needed texture and crunch. Voila! Super simple and super delish. For those of you who are constantly hitting up the office vending machine for a mid afternoon snack, you can quickly and easily do this at work instead.
- Dark Chocolate Açai with Blueberry
The next snack are little nuggets of goodness and are my recent discovery. I have always loved Raisinets and these are like uber-gourmet Raisinets, but instead of raisins this company Brookside Foods creates fruit pieces blending the juices of Açai berries and blueberries. Delicious! These are super addictive and the first time I ate them I must admit I overindulged! I bought this bag at Costco and as with most portions from Costco, it is sure to last you a while. You can also have this as a mid-afternoon snack or keep a bowl of them on the coffee table. I guarantee you guests will love them. Apparently Brookside Foods also has Dark Chocolate Pomegranate and Goji berries as well….yum. Must try those ASAP.