Summer vacation. You are on a quiet beach under a cloudless sky, laying on a soft towel, the sun drying you off after a quick dip in the warm ocean water. Behind you is a rugged mountain, lush with tropical plants and towering trees bursting with life, bright neon green from the frequent rains. The only sounds are the gentle surf and native birds singing in the distance as you rest your eyes. Your trip has just begun and your only plans for the rest of the day are to relax on the sand and get ready for tonight’s sunset dinner. You take a deep breath, opening your eyes to find yourself sitting in a plastic lounge chair at your neighbor’s backyard barbecue party. No one is staring at you, and it appears as if just seconds have passed. What just happened? What is in this magical icy beverage you are holding in your hand, glowing a deep amethyst and infusing the air with fresh citrus and mint? How did it transport you to paradise and where can you find more of these? There are lots of unknowns in this world, but thankfully we have the answers to your curious questions.
Looking for a refreshing cocktail to make for your next brunch party? We’ve got you covered. This delightful beverage was introduced to us by our mixologist friend Al who made it for a backyard breakfast party we threw at our house last month. Ryan and a few friends spent the past year organizing an elaborate reunion celebration for his college acapella group, The SoCal VoCals. With over 100 guests, gourmet food trucks, custom craft cocktails, and live musical performances, the party was a huge success. And on this beautiful Sunday morning we celebrated their hard work over a relaxing brunch. We prepared a double batch of our Winter Shakshuka for the main course, other friends brought tasty dishes to the potluck, and this sociable drink was the perfect light accompaniment to all the delicious home-cooked food that was spread out on the table. Made with crisp cold navy strength gin, vibrant green chartreuse, fresh lemon juice, sparkling soda water, and garnished with a slice of orange, this effervescent cocktail is sunshine in a glass.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This is going to be a short post. We wanted to share something super quick and easy that you could whip up today in no time at all. This rich and creamy shake is dreamy and delicious and takes less than five minutes to prepare. It is cool, minty, and tastes like a decadent dessert, but in fact it is made without any ice cream, and the vibrant green comes from all-natural ingredients—not a drop of food coloring to be found! Made with frozen bananas, honey, vanilla, and almond milk, all the ingredients are mixed in a blender with fresh mint leaves and a splash of mint extract for an extra lift. The beautiful green color comes from matcha and spirulina which also give this smooth drink a slight pick-me-up as well as a boost of nutrients! This refreshing treat was inspired by today’s holiday, but this minty matcha made in heaven shake will be enjoyed throughout the year. Whipped cream is optional, but highly encouraged. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
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Matcha Made in Heaven Shake
2 bananas, sliced and frozen (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups almond milk
8 large mint leaves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (see note)
1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (see note)
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
whipped cream (optional)
Combine the frozen bananas, milk, mint leaves, vanilla, matcha, spirulina, mint extract and 1 tablespoon of honey in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness and add more honey as needed. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of matcha powder, if desired. Enjoy!
— To freeze the bananas, slice them and place the slices in a resealable plastic bag in a single layer, then lay the bag flat in the freezer until frozen.
— Matcha and spirulina powders can be found in natural food stores, and both are available online.
— To make this vegan, replace the honey with agave syrup or other vegan sweetener.
Monday was National Margarita Day. We don’t know who comes up with these random food holidays or how they get started, but somehow, we seem to hear about them the day they happen. Our schedules are fairly flexible so it keeps things exciting for us when these culinary affairs unexpectedly appear. A few weeks ago, we were in the kitchen about to make vegetarian matzo ball soup for the blog, when we realized everyone online was posting about National Chocolate Cake Day. You can’t ignore a sweet holiday like that, so we followed our instincts, baked a cake instead, and made the soup the following day. And how can you pass up an opportunity to start off your week making delicious margaritas first thing on a Monday morning?! Sure, it may have been 8am, but it was 5 o’clock somewhere plus it was Washington’s birthday, so we had to raise a glass to honor the father of our country, even if we hadn’t had our breakfast yet. And as appropriate as cherry margaritas would have been to recognize his 282nd, another idea blossomed. One of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, Cacao Mexicatessen, makes the best margaritas, and we thought if there was one recipe we’d like to make, it would be theirs. Even though they are closed on Mondays, we crossed our fingers and sent them a message on Instagram asking if they would be willing to share their recipe with us. Not only did they immediately respond on their day off, but were gracious enough to email us the recipe and said we would be welcome to post it on our website. So in celebration of this momentous holiday, as well as a belated toast to our first president, we thank Cacao, and nobly introduce you to these most-delicious jalapeño-cucumber margaritas.
Imagine you are walking barefoot down a private, serene beach at sunset, cool silky sand beneath your feet, with the calming sounds of waves gently crashing on the shore, and the glowing orange sun shimmering on the water as an occasional seagull flies overhead. No one else is around, yet you feel so comforted by the warm sea breeze blowing through your hair. A light ocean mist caresses your face as you admire the first glimmering star in the darkening sky. You open your eyes to realize that you are standing in your kitchen and you just had a sip of your first Granada Sour. It takes you a moment to adjust, as if you just woke up from a pleasant dream. But in reality, you were in the same place the entire time, and only a few seconds had passed. Let us explain.