Summer Refreshers

Now that it is officially summer and finally warm in most places in the US, I feel like we need to talk about cool drinks. Not drinks with alcohol, nope, not today (but you can for sure add some if you’re feeling it), today is all about super refreshing, healthy, ice cold summer drinks. But with a little fizz, cause all drinks can benefit from some sparkles and bubbles!

SOO. Let’s jump right into talking about these recipes today since we have not one, not two, but THREE to chat about.

First up: Cucumber Melon Refresher

Just like the title states, this drink is super refreshing thanks to the cucumber, honeydew and mint. It’s super simple, basic, not too sweet and most definitely needs to be ice cold to drink. If you’re into minty drinks, this one is for you! It’s also a great one for using up all that summer melon!

Second: Mango Lemonade

SO GOOD, but then how could anything mango and lemon not be good? It’s super sweet, yet tangy from all the lemon. This would be so fun to drink while sitting in the sun, by the pool or simply to sit and sip throughout a picnic.

Third and last: Hibiscus Agua Fresca

This one is possibly my favorite. Well, OK, I can’t choose a favorite (that’s why there are 3!), but this one is just really, really good. I love anything hibiscus and this agua fresco is full of lime, a little ginger and sweetened with honey. Such a great refreshing drink to sip on after coming in from the heat.

Ingredients:

Cucumber Melon Refresher

  • 6 cups cubed honeydew
  • 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 english cucumber skin removed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 2-6 tablespoons honey or agave depending on your taste
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • chilled sparkling water for topping

Mango Lemondade

  • 2 cups very ripe mangos peeled and diced (about 3-4 )
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • sparkling water for topping

Hibiscus Agua Fresca

  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lime juice and lime wedges for serving
  • sparkling water for topping
  • fresh basil or mint

Instructions:

Cucumber Melon Refresher

  1. In a blender, combine the melon, cucumbers, mint and salt. Blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, being careful to not push too much of the pulp through the strainer. Discard the pulp. Stir in the the lime juice and honey. Chill the puree until ready to serve.
  2. To serve pour a little melon puree into a glass filled with ice. Top with chilled  sparkling water.

Mango Lemondade

  1. In a blender, combine the mango, honey and lemon juice. Blend until completely smooth. Pour mixture into a jar and chill until ready to serve.
  2. To serve, pour the mango mixture over a glass filled with ice and top with chilled  sparkling water.

Hibiscus Agua Fresca

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the dried hibiscus, ginger, water and honey. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for another 15 minutes. Strain the mix through a fine mesh strainer, discard the hibiscus flowers and ginger. Stir in the lime juice and then chill the mixture until ready to serve.
  2. To serve, pour the hibiscus mix over a glass filled with ice and top with chilled sparkling water.

Cheers!

Summer-Sodas-3-Ways-1

 

Sprinkled Dipped Chocolate Churros

If you’re planning on hosting a Cinco de Mayo party, finger foods and appetizers are an absolute must. What kind of a celebration would it be without chips, guacamole and of course, churros?!

These babies pack a sweet punch and are bound to be an instant crowd pleaser. Just add a refreshing margarita and Chimichurri skirt steak, and you’ll have yourself the ultimate Cinco de Mayo spread. Keep scrolling to recreate these irresistible dipped churros and prepare to fall instantly in love…I know I did.

2c521ec7479187895fe03c76dc9adb53.jpg

Ingredients:

For the churros: 

  • 1 ½ quarts canola oil for frying
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

For the toppings:

  • 1 cup dark melting chocolate discs (I used Ghirardelli for both)
  • 1 cup white melting chocolate discs
  • sprinkles
  • chopped nuts of your choosing

Instructions:

For the churros:

  1. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan until it reaches 370 degrees. You want it to be about 1 ½ inches deep.
  3. Combine water and butter in another saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon consistently for about a minute (until the dough forms a ball).
  4. Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time (with a wooden spoon) just until combined, not longer. Tip: Don’t over-mix the dough once the eggs are added. It will make the dough too dense.
  5. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large piping star tip.
  6. Carefully pipe out 5-inch-long strips directly into the hot oil (I squeeze with one hand and cut the dough off with scissors with the other). Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  7. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels. While they’re still warm, toss the churros in the cinnamon sugar mixture until completely coated.

For the toppings:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. After your churros are baked, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and cooled, melt each chocolate separately in the microwave. Be careful not to over melt the chocolate. I melt mine in 30 second bursts, stir, and then melt again.
  3. Dunk the churros ¾ down into the chocolate. Tap lightly on the outer edge of the chocolate bowl to release some of the excess chocolate. Set down onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle immediately with your toppings. Repeat with remaining churros until all of your chocolate is used up!

These are easily one of my favorite desserts! I’ll be dreaming of them for weeks…

What will you be serving at your Condo de Mayo party?

Upgrading Your Look With Just One Item: The Kimono

I think we all can relate to having days where you just can’t be bothered to get too dressed up with your outfit. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep or maybe it’s laundry day. We all have days where only a simple tee and jeans will do, but there’s a chic piece of Spring outerwear that is not only super comfy, it’ll instantly upgrade your look with barely any effort.

Kimonos! I cannot tell you what a huge difference a simple, detailed piece like a kimono, silk robe or caftan will do for your look. They add plenty of character and print, turning your outfit from basic to fabulous, in a matter of seconds.

Beach weather is almost upon us and of course, the beauty of being able to style a kimono during the warmer days ahead of us is that it is very versatile, so you can wear virtually any simple tee or cami, some denim (including shorts) and sandals and you will come out looking chic as ever.

4775b7f300009c8b37600298f9b037e1

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I don’t know a person out there who doesn’t love a blueberry muffin. (I love, love.) But I also consider them an occasional treat rather than an everyday breakfast item. While a blueberry streusel muffin might not normally sound like the most nutritious breakfast out there, it’s worth remembering that not all muffins are created equally. Unlike your typical blueberry muffins, these blueberry streusel muffins are grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free…..and most importantly they are insanely delicious too! So whether you have a food intolerance or just want a healthier option, these blueberry streusel muffins fit the bill. Check out the recipe below and enjoy!

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Yields 12-14 muffins

Ingredients:

For the muffin dough:

  • 2 ½ cups almond flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, packed
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. blueberries

For the streusel topping:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a small bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients thoroughly. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

3. Pour the batter into the cake molds and top with blueberries. Use a spoon to lightly swirl the blueberries into the cake.

4. Mix together the ingredients for the streusel, until it forms a cookie dough-like texture. Crumble the streusel onto each muffin cup and pop in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake pulls away from the sides and is golden brown. Turn out of cake molds and cool completely before cutting. Happy eating!

Pretty Spring Salad

With friends and family coming over as it’s getting warmer, it’s not always easy to find the time to create the perfect lunch with my busy schedule. But, I’m trying! I love using Pinterest to search for easy, healthy recipes, plus getting them to look as beautiful as they are delicious is half the fun. Filled with detoxing ingredients that are rich in amino acids, glutathione, and fiber pectin, it’s perfect to start off a healthy eating plan while removing all toxins from your system. This light edible flowers salad is perfect for impressing guests with minimal effort, treating yourself or snapping a photo to add to your Insta feed (you won’t be able to resist!).

Ingredients:
-One package of mixed greens
-About a handful of edible flowers
-1 bunch of radishes
-4 carrots
-2 green onions
-Half of a radicchio
-Olive oil and vinegar for the dressing
-Pears or apples (or both)

Directions
1. Thinly slice all of your vegetables, and create carrot ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, adding olive oil and vinegar to taste.
3. Garnish with flowers for a gorgeous final touch!

Guide to Spring Denim Must Have

Is it Spring already? It’s ridiculous how fast time flies these days! Well, a new season calls for a wardrobe change and there are a number of cool trends in store for us this year. Sometimes, updating your style for the new season is as simple as refreshing a classic fashion essential – such as denim. Like most Cali girls, I love my jeans and my collection is pretty extensive. From boot cut, to denim jackets and the perfect cut-off shorts, it’s the easiest fabric to wear. Here are some Spring denim trends for 2018. Which is your fav?

7513247800_6_1_1

The Skinny Flare

6045040400_6_1_1

The 80’s High Waist

5862068407_6_1_1.jpg

The Culotte Jeans

6840065400_6_1_1.jpg

The New Straight Jeans

9699044400_6_1_1

The Wide Leg Jeans

Bookworms Unite

Ever wonder if people are still reading books these days? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m still a total bookworm and to this day I’m a sucker for actual books rather than digital readers. Whether it’s a page turning piece of fiction, an informative political novel or uplifting biography, a good read keeps our imaginations alive and if anything, keeps us entertained. While I haven’t had much time to read over the last few weeks, but you will always find me cozied up in bed, on the couch and on the plane, scanning pages whenever I possibly can.

I’ve gathered some books that I’m dying to read this year and trust me, some of them look like real page-turners! If reading more was on your New Years Resolutions list this year, I highly encourage taking the time for yourself to relax, sit down somewhere and flip through one of these. Scroll down to see my picks!

DIY Rules for a WTF World: How to Speak Up, Get Creative, and Change the World by Krista Suh

The creator of the Pussyhat Project gives you her inside tips on how to weave (literally and figuratively) around the weird world. She encourages you not only to how to DIY a lot of things, but help you take down the patriarchy, live by your own rules, and to have fun!

Back Talk: Stories by Danielle Lazarin

Another refreshing story about self-love, Lazarin puts together a stunning collection of stories about women and their unexpressed desires. The accounts entail how women defiantly push the boundaries that our world and social norms have narrowly put together for her.

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Written by renowned essayist Zadie Smith, this novel touches on her take on contemporary culture. She puts interesting perspective on big influencers, popular places and trending phenomena, and answers the general question of why we do what we do. It will definitely leave you understanding the world a bit better.

White Houses by Amy Bloom

This exciting fictitious novel is about the very close, intimate relationship between journalist Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt, which turns into a very secret, scandalous affair. It entails her journey from her status as “first friend” in the White House down to their last days together, and Hick never lost sight of her love

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

(I know, the book came out last year, but its film adaptation had multiple Golden Globe and Oscar nominations! Which is more reason for us to pick up the actual book and start reading it.) This book follows the intimacy that grows between an adolescent boy and a research student staying at his family’s mansion on the Italian Riviera. Both of them are unprepared for their attraction to each other, not only is it unexpectedly romantic, but the backdrop of ’80’s Italy is all-engrossing.