Friday, September 30, 2011

Recipe of the week: Bellissimo

Several years ago I spent a week at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas and discovered an amazing cocktail.  Sadly, when I was there this past week, it's no longer on the menu.  Good thing I called and asked for the recipe way back when.  I told the bartender what was in it and since he had everything on hand, he was able to come up with a pretty good imitation.  Here's the original recipe (or at least what they told me and how I've been making it).  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!  

1 Shot Red Alize
1 Shot Bicardi Limon
1 Shot sweet and sour mix
2 large dashes Angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake vigorously until very cold. Strain into a tulip shaped glass or champagne flute, serve with slices of lemon and orange.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not an accident

I LOVE this!  I couldn't have said it better myself.  Have a beauty filled day!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recipe of the week: Farmer's Market Salad

Last week I had lunch at one of my new favorite restaurants, Mendocino Farms in Marina Del Rey.  I love their food but even more so their philosophy.  They are all about locally grown, farmers markets and eating seasonally (which I'm about too!)  I sampled this salad from the deli case and knew I had to try to recreate it at home.  I did and the results were amazing!  They used pecans in their salad, I had walnuts so I used those.  I didn't have any raspberry vinegar so I used red wine vinegar and some fresh raspberries.  If you end up trying it let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

Farmer's Market Salad
1 large plum sliced
1 pluot sliced
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts (or pecans)
3 oz smoked Gouda sliced into small pieces
4 to 6 cups organic mixed baby greens

Place greens, plums, pluots, nuts and cheese in a large bowl, toss with raspberry mint vinaigrette and enjoy immediately.

Raspberry Mint Vinaigrette

Juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp raspberries (about 6 large)
2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
2 green onions (only the white part about 2 inches each)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the first five ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Add salt, pepper and agave (or sugar), taste and adjust seasoning, pulse quickly.  Add olive oil in a steady stream to mixture, a few seconds in the food processor will mix it up nicely.  Toss over salad, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recipe of the week: Healthier "Chunky Monkey"

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted a recipe.  It's been way too hot to cook, so I've been making lots of salads.  I think I've turned the oven on a few times to make sweet potato fries and once for cookies this summer.   It's September and it's still in the high 80's to low 90's here.

On another note, I've been tweaking my diet a bit.  Trying to eat less gluten, dairy, sugar etc.  Last night a friend and I were talking about ice cream and my favorite is Ben and Jerry's....pretty much any flavor will work, some I'm more fond of than others, one of those in Chunky Monkey.  I had some bananas that I'd frozen for smoothies, but no one has used them, so I thought I'd make ice cream out of them.  This is what I came up with. (This is dairy and gluten free so it's Paleo friendly and Vegan)  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

4 large frozen bananas
6 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts chopped (I left some whole)
1-2 oz dark chocolate (I used 72%)
pinch of salt

The only thing you need for this is a food processor.  You may have to do small batches depending on the size of your food processor.   Put the frozen bananas in, add the coconut milk one tablespoon at a time, add the vanilla.  (You could also use bananas that aren't frozen and then freeze the mixture later).  Once you have a creamy mixture spoon into a freezer proof bowl.  Add the walnuts, salt and dark chocolate, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until the texture resembles ice cream.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

It's been 10 years since that awful day we now refer to as 9/11.  Where were you?  That's the question of our generation....much like my parents was "Where were you when JFK was shot"?  On 9/11/01 I was just about to get up to get my kids off to school when the phone rang.  It was my mom, she said to turn the news on.  When we turned the TV on we saw a split screen of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and we sat speechless as we watched the second plane fly into the north tower.  Unbelievable.

I was scheduled to help my cousin move from the San Fernando Valley to Corona that day.  After talking it over, we decided to go ahead.  What I remember as I drove through LA was the eerie silence.  We get so used to the air noise of helicopters, planes etc and to hear absolutely nothing was terrifying.  One of those times when the silence is deafening.
I think for me September 12 was worse, mostly because I didn't have anything to do.  I remember being glued to the news for most of the day.  We had my cousin, her husband and friends from the neighborhood over for dinner, the wine was flowing, it was one of the few times when I had to put my husband to bed.
I've always been one of those people who get teary eyed during the Star Spangled Banner (especially when my daughter Jade sings it).  I used to get so upset as a teenager when our cross-town rivals who were "the Braves" used to sing at the end of the national anthem "and the home of the braves"....ugh would make me so mad.  Now when I hear the National Anthem, from almost the first 5 words I'm in tears, and if you've actually heard all three verses it means more:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

My prayer now is that we will always remember.  God have mercy on us that we would ever forget and take our freedom for granted.
We are the land of the free because of the brave men and women who sacrifice their lives for us every day via military, fire department, police, ambulance and paramedics.   Thank you for your service, today and everyday.  God bless you and God bless America.