Sparkling Emerald Palmer

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The kids are back to school, but summer is hardly over. Celebrate with one more picnic, BBQ or deck party. Today’s recipe is my second entry in the Steviva Blogger Recipe Challenge. It’s my new go-to summer drink which can also be dressed up for any upcoming holiday parties.

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Never a fan of green juice you might wonder how I came up with this emerald beauty. Well, I am a huge fan of the drink called an Arnold Palmer. It’s a mix of lemonade and iced tea. I wanted a healthier version that would still quench my thirst, but eliminate all the sugar. While I was at it I thought I could boost the flavor profile and health benefits with fresh cucumbers and mint from my garden and a touch of matcha tea.

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The drink gets its sweetness from Nectevia. Nectevia is made from organic agave nectar that is enhanced with stevia. It’s 4x sweeter than sugar, safe for diabetics, Kosher, non-GMO and easily dissolves in liquids. It has a clean refreshing sweetness with no bitter after taste. It’s perfect for sweetening beverages like my Sparkling Emerald Palmer. Cheers!

Sparkling Emerald Palmer

1 medium organic (unwaxed) cucumber, ends trimmed (do not peel), chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

2½ cups cold water

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup Nectevia or more to taste

1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder

chilled sparkling water, club soda, prosecco or champagne

fresh mint, lime slices, fresh raspberries for garnish

In a blender, combine chopped cucumber, mint and ½ cup of water; blend until mixture is smooth. Add remaining water, lime and lemon juice, Nectevia and green tea powder; blend until mixture is very smooth. Strain, if desired. Pour into ice-filled glasses or shake with ice and strain into flutes. Top with sparkling water or prosecco. Garnish edge of glass with a fresh lime slice and sprig of mint. Float raspberries in glass, if desired. 

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Sparkling Emerald Palmer dressed up for the holidays

For more information and recipes check out these steviva brands links.

Website: https://www.steviva.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steviva

Twitter: https://twitter.com/steviva

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stevivabrands/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/stevivabrands/

Thank you Stevia Brands for this fun opportunity to play with my food and drinks. A toast to you.

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Also… if you want to take advantage of a 20% discount Please use coupon code: THANKYOU when checking out of our on-line store at http://steviva.com/store/

 

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What I Miss & Perfect Pairs

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Yesterday was William’s 29th birthday. Cheers to my boy. His birth was truly one of the best days of my life. Missing him more than I can express I celebrate him in the best way I can. In the garden planting seeds and in the kitchen creating a few recipes inspired by him he continues to be a bright light in my heart. I’m thankful for my hobbies and my passion to want to learn and try new things. Getting through tough times? It’s all about the distraction. Cooking, baking and gardening do it for me. How do you do it?

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I have been practicing my food photography with a new camera and have already received some very exciting feedback from some recipe/food sponsors. Can’t reveal what that is right now, but it sure made me feel good about trying something new and difficult. These days’ recipe contests require quite a bit of work. I miss the old days when all I had to do was create a recipe, write it down and mail it in. Now, in addition to preparing an original recipe, I am required to be a food stylist, food photographer and a creative writer. My poor husband. He knows he is not allowed to eat anything in the house until I have photographed it…on many a day we eat the food cold.

Probably one of the more wonderful things that have been on my plate lately is teaching two really smart and joyful young ladies, ages 11 & 9 how to cook. Sharing what I know about cooking and baking with the younger generation is quite fun and exciting. We are cooking our way around the globe and just finishing up Mexico with a Mango Tres Leches Cake. I think I was channeling my favorite teachers of Mexican cuisine Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Too Hot Tamales. I miss those cooking shows that really taught me and helped build my knowledge in the kitchen.

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Mango Tres Leches “Celebration” Cake is perfect for a birthday or Cinco de Mayo

Are there any famous chefs that you have learned from and would like to meet? Wouldn’t it be great fun to travel  to the 2017 Vegas Uncork’d Expo food & wine event happening next week? Take a look at that celebrity chef schedule. Famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Giada de Laurentiis will be preparing their dishes alongside perfectly paired cocktails. There are a few I would love to learn from, but if I could only pick one my heart still belongs to Mary Sue & Susan as they opened up a whole new world of Mexican cuisine and especially cheeses to me.

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queso fresco on scrambled eggs makes a perfect pair

Speaking of cheese and back in my own kitchen I have been working on some new recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches. After a hard day in the garden cooking up something like a grilled cheese and dining out al fresco on the deck is an easy and delicious way to end the day. Heading into the warmer weather we often enjoy a cool glass of rosé wine with a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a rustic perfect pairing, but who says wine has to be fancy? Rosé matches quite well with just about any cheese and bread. It’s not as elaborate as some famous celebrity chef dishes, but it works.

Cheers!

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Here is one of my winning cheese sandwiches from yesteryear. The salty bacon and olives with the sweetness of fruit, peppery arugula and luscious burrata pairs perfectly with a glass of Rosé.

Burrata & Bacon Ciabatta, Oh My

3 slices thick cut bacon

¼ cup apricot jam

1 (4-inch) ciabatta roll, toasted

2 tablespoons Mezzetta Napa Valley Bistro Homemade Style Basil Pesto

¼ cup arugula leaves

2 Mezzetta Sweet Cherry Peppers, seeded, diced

1-ounce burrata cheese (1/2 of a 2 ounce ball)

1 ripe apricot, sliced

4 pieces Mezzetta Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, chopped

1-teaspoon balsamic vinegar syrup

Heat oven 400F. Line bottom of broiler pan with foil. Coat both sides of bacon with jam; place on broiler pan rack set over foil-lined bottom. Bake 30 minutes; transfer bacon to a plate. Spread bottom half of roll with pesto. Layer with arugula, cherry peppers, bacon, burrata, apricots and olives. Drizzle with balsamic. Cover with remaining bread slice.

 

 

Warm & Wild Blueberry Smoothie Latte

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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Baby it’s cold outside! Get out the warm wool sweaters, favorite fleece lined boots and the blender. Blender? Yes, I said blender because we are making smoothies. Believe it or not winter is one of the most popular times of the year for smoothie making because it fits right in with those healthy new year resolutions. Smoothies are the easy way to pack more nutrition into your diet.

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Now let’s talk about wild blueberries.

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Wild blueberries are little purple powerhouses of nutrition. Grown in barrens across Maine and Canada wild blueberries are quite different from those that are planted or cultivated.  Wild blueberries have grown naturally under harsh conditions for 10,000 years, so they have adapted with more than 2x the antioxidants and fiber of cultivated blueberries. Frozen at harvest to lock in the goodness studies show that they may help prevent the onset of cancer, heart disease, alzheimer’s and diabetes.  With a well balanced sweet-tart flavor just about everything pairs well with these super fruits in a smoothie.

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Webster’s dictionary defines a smoothie as “a creamy beverage made of fruit blended with juice, milk, or yogurt.” Much to my delight it doesn’t seem like I am breaking any smoothie rules by going warm instead of cold because did you hear me earlier? It’s freezing outside here in Pennsylvania and I can use all the antioxidants I can get to boost my immune system. Fighting off a cold or the flu? I have a smoothie for you!

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and yes, I really did accidentally spill all that froth all over the counter

Infused with green tea, pomegranate and warm revitalizing cleansing spices this deliciously wild blueberry smoothie will certainly cure your winter blues.

Warm & Wild Blueberry Smoothie Latte

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup frozen wild blueberries

1 ½ tablespoons real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup water

2 green tea with pomegranate tea bags

1/2 cup milk (or almond milk)

Place blueberries and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in blender. In small bowl, combine cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and allspice; stir to blend spices. In small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and ¼ teaspoon of spice mixture; stir and let steep for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, heat milk with remaining ½ tablespoon of maple syrup and 1/8 teaspoon of spice mixture just to a simmer, stirring to combine. Stir and strain hot tea mixture into blender with blueberries. Add ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture; blend well. Re-warm mixture in pan on stove to desired temperature. Froth the remaining milk mixture with an immersion blender or tool specially designed for frothing milk. Divide the hot tea mixture among two mugs and top with frothy milk. Sprinkle with additional blueberries and spice mixture, if desired. Serve warm. 


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wish you could see my wild blueberry smoothie latte mustache right now

Frozen wild blueberries are available all year long.Click this link to find a store near you: grocery store. Click here if you would like to try my Easy as A-B-C Wild Blueberry Smoothie