Cherry Mint Mule

Trying to find delicious and refreshing alternatives to alcohol can be hard, especially in the summer when all you want to do is have a cocktail in the sunshine! Whether you’re on a fitness journey, trying to consume things in moderation or simply don’t like the taste of alcohol – this is the drink for you! Its flavorful, fun and uses delicious summer cherries. Grab the four ingredients and your muddler and lets make the tastiest cocktail all summer long!

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh mint
3 limes
Ginger Beer
5 red cherries

Instructions

Slice limes and juice them into a cup. Pit the cherries and slice in half. Add the cherries and mint to the cup with lime juice. Muddle them together until the cherries have broken down a little and released some of their juices. Place ice in glass and pour in lime, mint and cherries. Top with ginger beer and garnish with additional lime slice. Enjoy!

*If you do not want to add the cherries you can substitute with pomegranate, orange, other seasonal fruit or omit completely!


Easy Sweet Potatoes

Ok, taking it back to the basics and breaking down the best way to cook a sweet potato. Yes, sweet potatoes can be cooked MANY ways but when you eat them as often as I do you need something simple, easy & foolproof.


What You’ll Need:

Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with tinfoil
  2. Carefully cut both sweet potatoes in half long ways. Place the sweet potatoes down on the baking sheet flesh side down. The skin should be facing you at this point.
  3. Add about 1 T of olive oil to each piece of sweet potato (4 T total). Drizzle the olive oil so that the sweet potato is fully covered
  4. Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully with tongs flip the sweet potatoes over
  5. Season the flesh side of the sweet potatoes with salt & pepper
  6. Place back in the oven for 18 minutes
  7. Remove & enjoy! The center of the sweet potato should be soft to the touch with a fork

I love incorporating sweet potatoes into all my of meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner! They are versatile, filling and healthy. An added bonus is that they can be transformed into french fries, and if you know me you know I LOVE french fries! In all seriousness, I made a batch of these sweet potatoes on Sunday and had them ready to go for the week ahead! They can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They reheat very well in the microwave, air-fryer or oven!

Now go make some sweet potatoes and let me know what you think!

Cut sweet potatoes in half long ways
drizzle about 1 T of olive oil over each sweet potato. Cook at 425 degrees for 20 minutes
remove & flip, season with salt & pepper and cook for an additional 18 minutes
perfectly cooked sweet potatoes!


Strawberry Paloma

Weekends mean cocktails and the only beverage I am reaching for this weekend is this refreshing, delicious Strawberry Paloma. Traditionally a Paloma is a tequila cocktail mixed with grapefruit soda, lime & salt. I have taken the traditional and kicked it up a few notches – because duh!

I love love love tequila – yes I know this particular spirit isn’t everyone’s favorite BUT my fellow tequila lovers will love this cocktail! When it comes to tequila their are three different varieties – blanco (silver), reposado & anjeo. There is a huge difference amongst the three! Blanco Tequila is not aged – meaning the agave has not had time to develop over time. This particular type of tequila is the best for mixed drinks like paloma’s & margarita’s! Reposado Tequila which is a little golden in color is aged (for at least two months) in oak barrels. The aging process allows for the tequila to develop flavor from the oak barrel. Anjeo Tequila is aged for at least a year – the flavors are very robust and is a dark golden color. Anjeo Tequila is great for sipping!



What You’ll Need:
Tequila – I am using Espolon Blanco Tequila
Grapefruit Sparkling Water – I am using Spindrift Grapefruit
1 Cup Strawberries
2 Limes

Instructions:
First, I cut up the strawberries, remove the stems and quarter the berry. Add the cut strawberries into a jar and squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the jar. Muddle the mixture until there is a good amount of liquid and the strawberries are mashed up. TIP: If you don’t have a traditional muddle you can use other kitchen essentials – I used a beater that goes to my hand mixture. Transfer the muddled strawberry and lime mixture to a shaker or large glass jar (make sure it has a lid). Fill the jar up half way with ice. Add three ounces of tequila – or more if you are trying to feel good! I added a little more lime juice for balance! Close the jar and shake shake shake! Add ice to your glasses and strain the liquid into each glass evenly. Top with Grapefruit Sparkling Water and add extra strawberries as garnish! Enjoy!


Strawberries in jar
Add juice of one lime and muddle with any kitchen utensil you can find
After you shake the strawberry lime mixture with tequila, strain it over a glass with ice in it
Top with Grapefruit Sparkling Water and garnish with strawberries!

The Perfect BLT

If you know me, you know I LOVE a good BLT. If you don’t know me, here is me telling you I LOVE a good BLT! I don’t know what about the combo makes me smile but it does. I think it’s the crispy bread, the lush lettuce, juicy tomatoes and crispy bacon! The moment you bite into the sandwich and the bacon, lettuce & tomato meet for the first time – it’s like a salty, lush, juicy combination that is truly delicious. I know that it’s a classic combo and can be found in most deli’s and even on restaurant lunch menus – but I am here to tell you how to make the perfect, and I mean MOST perfect BLT at home. I am going to break down all the different types of lettuce and tomato, tips on how to get that perfect crispy bacon & even a little homemade bagel recipe. Get your pen and paper out, take notes and then go try it out for yourself!

Ok – so it’s in the name – bacon, lettuce & tomato. Those are the important factors to this sandwich.
BACON: needs to be crispy. Half of the beauty of this sandwich is the crispy bacon. It gives the sandwich and the perfect bite definition and meaning. The salty component of the bacon also makes my mouth water and pairs perfectly with the tomato. Quick tip getting the perfect crispy bacon every time; the oven! So here it is and you’ll never make bacon differently again.


Preheat your oven to 375
Place bacon on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and flip bacon and place back in the oven for 3 more minutes. **all ovens are a little different so after the initial 10 minute window watch the bacon so it doesn’t burn (but also if you don’t like it as crispy)

LETTUCE: this piece of the puzzle is important because you want to make sure the flavor and texture of the lettuce doesn’t overpower the other flavors of the sandwich. I know that some sandwiches can become complex and people are into that now so I am giving you options; Bibb Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce & Arugula. Bibb lettuce tastes like butter – I love it. The texture is soft and lush. Romaine has the crunch factor! I love a good crunch on a BLT. The arugula is for the out of the box BLT lover. With a spicy flavor and more of a earthy texture this one is perfect if you are looking to kick up your BLT game!

TOMATO: The tomato can arguably be the toughest decision. Given our current season (summer) all tomatoes taste like pure heaven. This one might truly be a convenient factor (homegrown if you are fortunate to have them), local because we all love to support local! Heirloom because well they are gorgeous, juicy and come in so many different colors! And the sweet cherry if you like little pockets and bursts of tomato in your sandwich. All are great options – just find the ripest and you’re good to go!

Ok, so now we have the basics identified. There are two other factors that are very important (to me at least). The bread and the sauce! Any homemade or local bread would taste amazing, bagels are my personal favorite (and I have even tried corn tortilla’s – hello BLT tacos!) I truly think the biggest make-or-break factor with the bread is it has to be TOASTED!!! I don’t have a toaster so I heat my oven up and place it in the broiler section to give it some color – if you go this route you should check on it ever 2 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn!

What ever sauce you go with it just make sure YOU like it! Nothing worse than having this amazing sandwich and a sauce you can’t stand. My two favorites are spicy mayo (mayonnaise + sriracha) & honey mustard (dijon mustard + honey + olive oil). You can obviously buy these from the store but I usually have the staples at home to make a small batch whenever I need!

Remember, toasting the bread is crucial so that it can hold up to all of the internal components – no one likes soggy bread!
Now to assemble:
Toasted Bagel
Spicy Mayo (on both sides)
Bibb Lettuce
Heirloom Tomato
Crispy Bacon

Now add the other side of the bagel on top and baboom, you have just created the best dang BLT, ever!!

I did try to make homemade bagels back in April and they actually turned out really good – so linking the recipe below if you don’ t have access to delicious bagels (we are so spoiled in NYC). I have no clue why but this sandwich is seriously next level for me on a bagel! My go-to is usually an everything bagel but the bagel shop accidently gave me sesame (I love sesame too) so we worked with it!
EASY GLUTEN FREE BAGELS – makes 4
>Gluten Free/Whole Wheat Flour
>Fat Free Greek Yogurt
>Baking Powder
>Salt
>One Egg
>Bagel Seasoning of Choice
Preheat oven to 375. Combine 1 cup of flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder & 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine. Then add 1 cup of fat free greek yogurt. Mix together until a dough forms. Remove from the bowl onto a floured surface and knead the dough (use your fist to press down on the dough. This helps the gluten strands to warm and stretch in the dough which makes it springy & elastic). Then separate dough into four sections. Roll each section in a ball and create a hole in the center. Spread out until a bagel shape forms – repeat until you have four complete bagel shape pieces. Whisk one egg and wash each bagel (taking egg mixture and essentially painting it on the bagels – this will help the bagels get golden and allow the seasoning to stick!) Top with your favorite bagel seasoning and bake in the 375 degree oven for 25 minutes! Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut in half, toast accordingly and ENJOY!