Category Archives: Beverages and Drinks

Straw-Ber-Ita Fruit Pops

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes the most interesting recipes come from trying to figure out what to do with leftovers from the day before…  Two weeks ago, Bruce and I had a backyard barbecue at our home with family and friends.  I love to entertaining guests but I don’t care for dealing with any kind of leftover fruit trays, appetizer platters or main dishes.  After the last barbecue we had at our home, we had more than a boat load of fresh strawberries, melons and assorted fruit.  After our guests left for the evening, I begrudgingly peeled the rinds off the melons, hulled the strawberries and tossed all the remaining bits of fruit in the freezer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When freezing fresh fruit for use at a later date, be sure to place them single layer on a cookie sheet. Once the fruit is frozen, remove the fruit from the cookie sheet and toss in a releasable plastic bag.  Curious as to why?  The deal is, when you throw all the fruit in the plastic bag first, you end up with a big ball of frozen fruit that is all stuck together like a brick.  It’s a pain to break apart and to deal with.  Trust me.  I learned that lesson the hard way. This cookie sheet technique makes the fruit not stick to each other in the freezer and makes it easy to grab a handful of fruit whenever you need it.  Leftover frozen fruit chunks from fruit trays is great for smoothies, sorbets, and boozy little fruity concoctions such as my Straw-Ber-Ita Fruit Pops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In addition to leftover fruit, I found myself with several cans of Straw-Ber-Ita’s floating around in the ice bucket the next day.  Straw-Ber-Ita is a margarita-like alcoholic beverage made by Anheuser Busch.  It has a refreshing strawberry lime flavor and is “supposed to” mimic the flavor of a strawberry margarita.  Frankly, they remind me of those fruity little wine coolers that were so popular in the 1980′s.  As an alcoholic beverage, they are a bit too sweet for my taste but they do work amazingly well in my Straw-Ber-Ita Fruit Pops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Straw-Ber-Ita Fruit Pops are super easy to make and taste great on a hot summer day.  Enjoy!  Tessa

*****Note:  These fruit pops contain alcohol.  Please enjoy these fruit pops responsibly.  Do not serve Straw-Ber-Ita Fruit Pops to people under the legal drinking age and/or to children.*****

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound frozen fruit chunks (I used strawberries, watermelon and mango)
  • 2 8 ounce cans Straw-Ber-Ita’s
  • Stevia to taste (optional)

Toss all ingredients in a blender.  Pulse until the fruit is broken down to fine bits.  Pour mixture into frozen Popsicle molds.  Add Popsicle sticks.  Freeze until firm and serve.  Makes about 10-12 frozen fruit pops.

Print Friendly

Banana Avocado Mango Smoothie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My “go to” breakfast or morning snack during the hot summer months is an ice cold Banana Avocado Mango Smoothie (aka BAM Smoothie).  I love preparing smoothies because they are good for you, quick and easy to make and most importantly, they’re portable.  After blending, just pour it in a spill proof container or glass, add a fat straw, and breakfast is served!  My Banana Avocado Mango Smoothie is made with a fresh banana, avocado, frozen mango chunks, and chilled unfiltered apple juice.  My BAM Smoothie is a simple combination of ingredients that is simply satisfying and tastes delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized banana
  • 1/2 medium sized avocado (skin and pit removed)
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • stevia (optional, for additional sweetness)

Add all ingredients to a blender or a single serving blender cup.  Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Serve immediately.  Pour into a glass, add a straw and enjoy!  Makes 1 serving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Print Friendly

Godzilla Smoothie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Godzilla Smoothie

For the past year, my life has been extremely hectic.  Long hours at work with very little time off.  In order to get things done in an efficient and effective manner, I have had to step up my game in the multitasking department.  It’s not that I wanted to do it but, had to.  Picture this…  Imagine a woman sitting at her kitchen table every morning before the sun is up and the neighborhood is awake.  She has a hot cup of coffee in the left hand, a newspaper in the right, her laptop is open to the day’s emails, a tube of black mascara is on one side and shiny lip gloss on the other.  Oh, and there’s a bright orange cat in her lap demanding attention and a lively white terrier with his paws on the side of her chair wanting to play ball.  That woman you just imagined is me.  I do that nearly every day in a span of about thirty minutes.  After the half hour is over, there’s nothing but a vapor trail between my home and the office.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGodzilla

I have to admit that I never had an energy drink until about a month ago.  One day, on my way to work, I stopped at my favorite coffee stand.  I was not in the mood for my usual triple shot nonfat vanilla latte over ice.  I wanted something different.  It had to be ice cold, slightly sweet but with a “generous” dose of caffeine.  As the barista suggested, I purchased a smoothie blended with a Red Bull.  Pros: It tasted really good.  It filled me up and gave me that big energy boost that I was looking for.  Con:  It was five bucks including the tip.  After that, I knew that I could make my own smoothie with an energy drink.  The very next day the Godzilla Smoothie was born.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Godzilla Smoothie is all that I wanted my new smoothie to be.  Ice cold, slightly sweet, and highly caffeinated.  It’s made with spinach, mango, a splash of mango juice and a can of Red Bull…  It does have healthy elements such as nutrient rich spinach and mangoes.  Yet, it has the lively pick me up of an energy drink.  It tastes great and certainly does the trick when time is at a premium.  I must say, drinking my Godzilla Smoothie is multitasking at its finest.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach
  • splash of mango juice (to taste)
  • 1 8.4 ounce can of Red Bull

Add all ingredients to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.  Makes one Godzilla Smoothie.

***Note:  This beverage should be consumed in moderation.  It’s not for everyone.  Be sure to read the label.  Energy drinks are not for children, pregnant women or people who are sensitive to caffeine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Print Friendly

U-pick Apricots at D & L Acres and an Apricot Smoothie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Apricot Smoothie

I must be on a roll… I can’t believe that I just enjoyed two consecutive days off.  On my first day off, I did pretty much nothing.  Two afternoon naps, dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants and then I went to bed early and slept for another twelve hours.  I never sleep that much.  8 hours max.  There was no doubt, I really needed the sleep.

Today I woke up cheery and refreshed.  I felt like my normal self again.  What was even better is that today was U-Pick apricot day at D & L Acres.   D & L Acres is one of the only U-Pick apricot orchards here in Southern Oregon.  D & L is open for business from mid July to early August and I have to tell you, their apricots are absolutely fantastic!  I was so excited as I grabbed my camera, my bucket, and headed out to the orchard.  I knew that I was in for a real treat!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view of the front orchard.  This orchard has been picked through…  In the back orchard, that was another story.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the back orchard, the trees were totally loaded with apricots.  So loaded, that some of the branches were broken on the trees because of the heavy fruit.  This year was a good year.  Tons of bright orange apricots, sweet and juicy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These apricots were so ripe that if you just touched them, they would fall off the tree.  I knew that once I got these apricots home, they would not last long.  I had to process them immediately.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A bucketful of fresh picked apricots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a handful of apricots!  Orange color with a pink blush.  These are called Tilton apricots.  They are perfect for canning, freezing or drying.  They also have a heart like shape similar to a peach.  They’re also great blended up in a smoothie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As soon as I got home, I whipped out my new blender.  I knew exactly what I was going to do with them.  Sweet creamy smoothies for Bruce and I.  Oh, and I have to tell you that they sure were delicious!

Thank you Janie and Brian for the apricots!  If you are looking for apricots in the Southern Oregon area, be sure to look up D & L Acres.  D & L Acres is located at 5225 Fern Valley Road in Medford, Oregon.  Call for apricot availability before heading out.  The apricot season is short, and in my opinion, the apricots at D & L acres are awesome.  Their phone number is (541) 535 – 2901.  Be sure to tell them that I sent you!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 large pitted apricots
  • 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.  Serve immediately.  Makes one serving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Print Friendly

Snowshoeing at Union Creek and Fireball Hot Chocolate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fireball Hot Chocolate

This last week was one of the busiest work weeks that I have had in a while…  It was so brutally busy that by the end of the week, Bruce and I decided to book a cabin at Union Creek Resort for a mini vacation over the weekend.  Union Creek Resort is located in the Southern Oregon Cascade Mountains approximately 70 miles from our home and only 21 miles from Crater Lake National Park.  Union Creek Resort is a charming 1900′s era lodge with cabins for rent and miles of hiking trails all around.  Beckie’s restaurant is a short walk across the road and is known for their delicious homemade huckleberry pies.  At Union Creek Resort, there’s no cell phone coverage, no cable television in the rooms and definitely no internet.  No nothing, except for peace and quiet…  And, that was precisely why we were there.  To unplug and to unwind after a crazy busy work week…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The lodge and country store at Union Creek.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The rental cabins appeared rustic and rough on the outside but, they were nicely updated and clean on the inside.  We found the resort staff polite and courteous.  We would definitely stay there again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The old Do Not Disturb sign was pretty cool…  So was the antiquated key hole and knob on the front door.  Not to worry, there was a sturdy “modern” brass lock on the door above…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Early in the morning, we rented snow shoes at the lodge.  This was the first time that Bruce and I ever tried snowshoeing before.  The skies were clear and the air was cold and crisp.  We knew that we were going to have a wonderful time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view from the middle of the footbridge over Union Creek.  The water was icy and cold from the snow melt.  In the warm summer months, you can fish for rainbow and brook trout.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bruce and I trekked along Union Creek and through the forest on our way to the Rogue River.  There was about 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground and bit more under the trees.  While making our way through the woods I made the mistake of tripping over my snowshoes and falling flat on my face in the powdery snow.  Note to self…  Be careful how you step in the shoes and be sure to not to fall into deep powder snow without poles.   Once down, I quickly learned that you can’t push yourself up very easily.  Every time I put my hand down on the snow to get my balance, I sank deeper. I yelled and Bruce had to turn back around and help me my get back upright.  It was embarrassing and fortunately nobody else was in the woods that morning to witness the event.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When snowshoeing on the unbroken marked trail, we always looked for the blue diamond markers nailed on the sides of the trees.  In the summer months, following the trail is really easy.  Winter is a completely different story.  You can’t see the trail and it’s easy to trip over logs and branches if you happen to veer off.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We finally reached the Rogue River…  During the summer, Bruce and I like to take our tent trailer and camp along the bank.  It’s such a quiet, peaceful and beautiful place. Yet another reason why I love living in Oregon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After reaching the bank of the Rogue River it was time to start our trek back to the cabin.  The snow was light, fluffy and sparkled in the morning sun.  I was extremely careful to make sure that I did not trip over my snowshoes on the way back.  I did not want to do an embarrassing “face plant” again.  By the time we got back to the cabin we both agreed that we would like to do this again soon.  Snowshoeing is a fun way to explore the forest and to get a great winter workout.

One delicious way to warm up after spending a day in the snow is to make Fireball Hot Chocolate.  Fireball Hot Chocolate is a wonderful blend of homemade hot chocolate (you can use instant hot chocolate packets if you like) and cinnamon flavored whisky.  It’s easy, delicious and is a perfect beverage after spending a day snowshoeing.  Makes one serving.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • I cup milk
  • 2 – 3 tsp cocoa.powder (I like dark cocoa powder best)
  • 2 Tbs sugar or to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces Fireball Whisky (cinnamon flavored whisky)
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate sprinkles and cinnamon stick for garnish

Begin by preparing the hot chocolate.  In a mug, add cocoa powder, sugar and salt.  In a microwave safe bowl, heat milk in microwave 1 to 2 minutes or until hot.  Add the hot milk mixture to the mug and stir.  Add the Fireball cinnamon flavored whisky to the mug and stir again. Top with whip cream and garnish with chocolate sprinkles and a cinnamon stick. Makes 1 serving.

Cocoa recipe adapted from Hershey’s Perfect Cocoa.

***Note:  This is an adult alcoholic beverage and should not be served to those under the legal drinking age.  Please drink responsibly.***

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Print Friendly

Salty Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past week has been one crazy busy week.  My finance department just finished undergoing an annual audit of our year end financial statements.  All went extremely well but those who know what I am talking about know regardless of how successful an audit is, audit preparation can be time consuming and a wee bit stressful.  Not to mention, I have not been able to spend any time home in my kitchen.  Microwave products, fast food and dinners out have been my only options this week.

It’s over.  I’m happy.  I’m finally home.   And it’s time for a Salty Dog!

A Salty Dog is a simple cocktail made with pink grapefruit juice, vodka, and salt.  I like to use pink Himalayan salt and crushed ice in mine.

Here’s to a successful audit!   Great job everybody!  Cheers!  – Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces pink grapefruit juice (strained)
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/4 cup crushed ice
  • coarse pink Himalayan sea salt
  • grapefruit wedge for garnish

Begin by mixing grapefruit juice, vodka and ice in a shaker.  Line the edge of a martini glass or an old fashioned glass with salt.  Pour cocktail mixture into the glass.  Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.  Sit down, put up your feet and enjoy the beverage.  Makes one cocktail.

Print Friendly