Thursday, July 31, 2008

Minty Drink for Summer

I love mojitos and have been making them for years. I love that they are all the rage now and are offered in every flavor you could ever imagine. Sitting on my deck...sipping on a minty mojito just makes me happy. Here's my recipe that I used at my restaurant for years. You can add any flavor to this recipe to make it new and hip (i.e. mango...raspberry or my favorite pomegranate).

Avesta Mojito
6-8 fresh mint leaves
2 Tablespoons sugar
2-4 oz. light rum
Juice of 1 lime
dash roses lime juice
Club soda

You'll need a high ball glass or any taller cocktail glass you've got... tear up all but one or two of the mint leaves and put in the bottom of the glass, add the sugar and half of the lime juice, use the end of a wooden spoon or what they call a mojito pestle or muddler to mash up the mint with the sugar and lime juice. Once this mixture is blended and the smell of the mint is too good to hold off anymore....add ice about one inch from the rim of the glass, then top with the rum and then finally the club soda and add the remainding lime juice and the dash of roses lime juice. Garnish with a lime and the leftover mint leaves. Do a little stir with your finger or straw and enjoy your summer day!

For great Mojito sets and muddlers go to:
the first picture above is a set of glasses that I bought from here....all drinks look great in these glasses but especially mojitos!
the second picture above is the mango mojitos that I made for my wedding reception...they were a huge hit!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Color Red....

I love the color red. It makes me I think that's why I love strawberries so much...they remind me of love...and all that other stuff that goes along with love..................tonight....I lit the red lanterns that hang from my deck and ate fruit. I make this really easy white chocolate dip that goes great with any sort of fruit but especially well with strawberries.

White Chocolate Fruit Dip

8 oz of whipped cream cheese

1/2 cup plain Greek style yogurt (most grocery stores now carry this but if you can't find this just use regular yogurt or you can substitute with sour cream)

2 tablespoons of white chocolate pudding mix

2 tablespoons powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar) (more or less to your taste)

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

I recommend the following vanilla extract


Combine all ingredients and add powdered sugar slowly at the end to taste....serve with fresh fruit....especially strawberries!

Here's some health benefits of eating a whole lot of other info on this gorgeous fruit from a great website called WHfoods (the world's healthiest foods)

"The fragrantly sweet juiciness and deep red color of strawberries can brighten up both the taste and aesthetics of any meal; it is no wonder they are the most popular berry fruit in the world. Although strawberries have become increasingly available year-round, they are at the peak of their season from April through July when they are the most delicious and most abundant.

Health Benefits
Strawberries not only look like a fruity heart-shaped valentine, they are filled with unusual phytonutrients that love to promote your health.
Potent Antioxidant Protection from Phenols
Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich surce of phenols. In the strawberry, these phenols are led by the anthocyanins (especially anthocyanin 2) and by the ellagitannins. The anthocyanins in strawberry not only provide its flush red color, they also serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body's organ systems. Strawberries' unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberry include the ability of phenols in this fruit to lessen activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, or COX. Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen block pain by blocking this enzyme, whose overactivity has been shown to contribute to unwanted inflammation, such as that which is involved in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Unlike drugs that are COX-inhibitors, however, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding."

to read more about the benefits of strawberries go to:

I joined technorati

Technorati Profile

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ahhhh....summer salad!

So today I made a summer sprout salad that I just have to share with you. I've been reading all these articles about broccoli sprouts and so I try to use them in everything. I use broccosprouts...they are almost always available in the grocery store and seem to really have the benefits I'm looking for in them. Go to to find out all the details and the benefits of eating broccoli sprouts. Here's a quick overview that is posted on the company's website:

Sulforaphane is a naturally occurring phytochemical that enhances the cancer-protective capacity of animal cells. According to studies by Dr. Paul Talalay and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, sulforaphane induces Phase 2 (detoxification) enzymes. These are the enzymes which deactivate carcinogens and free radicals, thus enhancing the body's own defense system against cancer-causing chemicals.

In animal studies, administration of sulforaphane blocked tumor development, reducing incidence, multiplicity, and size of carcinogen-induced mammary tumors. (see Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens)
In general, Brassica family plants such as broccoli are rich in sulforaphane in its glucosinolate precursor form. However, the evidence suggests that broccoli must be eaten in large quantities to substantially reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, supermarket broccoli varies considerably in sulforaphane content, whereas certain varieties of young broccoli sprouts, grown under standardized conditions, contain large and highly uniform quantities of the compound.

Talalay and his colleagues identified the specific varieties of three-day-old broccoli sprouts containing 20 times the concentration of sulforaphane glucosinolate found in mature broccoli.
More importantly, small quantities of broccoli sprout extracts reduced the incidence and size of mammary tumors in animals. (see
the paper) Clinical studies are underway to further explore the effects of broccoli sprouts on protective biomarkers against human cancer.

So can eat very little of these sprouts and get the cancer-fighting benefits of eating tons of! I think that's great! I love putting them on salads and sandwiches...they make everything taste so fresh and get on the broccosprouts!!!!

SUMMER SPROUT SALAD w/pomegranate mint vinaigrette

6 cups mixed greens (you can buy the pre-washed kind or chop up several of your favorite salad greens...I love to mix butter lettuce and baby spinach)

1/2 English cucumber sliced thinly (I the sweet taste of English could also buy fresh cucumbers from the farmers market)

1/2 cup chopped cauliflower

1/2 cup avocado chunks

2 cups broccosprouts

1/2 cup toasted almonds (or any other nut of your choice)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 lemon

Pomegranate Mint Vinaigrette:

the juice of 1 lemon

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

salt & pepper to taste

combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor or blender and slowly add the olive oil to emulsify (that means to mix two liquids that normally do not mix easily by adding one (like the olive oil) slowly to the other liquid (which will be the lemon juice and pomegranate mixture while beating or mixing very rapidly). If you don't mind if your dressing seperates, then you can just mix all the ingredients (including the olive oil) in a container or bottle with a lid and just shake it up by hand.

In a large bowl (a clear glass bowl that's wider than it is tall works great for this salad or you can make individual salads on plates in the same manner) start layering the salad by starting off with the mixed greens then adding the sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, avocado chunks, toasted almonds and finally topping it all off with the red of the cranberries. Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the top of the salad and serve with the pomegranate vinaigrette (which adds even more antioxidents to this already fully-packed salad)

What is an antioxidant? (according to

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals.

Some common antioxidants:

red wine
purple grapes or
Concord grapes
Tomato and tomato products
pink grapefruit
dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, kiwi, brussels sprout and spinach
flax seed

Enjoy and look for more recipes every Tuesday and my favorite cocktail recipes every Thursday. Sundays will concentrate on the latest food and cocktail trends. If you have any questions or ideas....please feel free to contact me!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Does the unpacking ever end?

I spent the majority of the day unpacking and organizing....I wonder where all this stuff came from...I don't remember most of it even being in my old house. Isn't it strange how we find all this stuff that we stuff in boxes for years and then when we move we stumble upon it and wonder why we even kept it in the first place. It just shows that yes....we buy too much....hoard too much....everything too would be better simple.....with just a few books and picture frames....a few pairs of pants and a few shirts and just three pairs of shoes....but God....I can't live simply....I've tried and I just fall for all the gimmicks and crap that Target sells.......I think I found a whole box of just candles....I guess I walk by the candle aisle and think...."I need a candle because I can't find any around the house." Well guess what....I had tons of candles....they were just hidden in one of my "boxes" Everyone should move every so many years.....just so we can realize just how much "stuff" we've really got hidden in all those boxes and drawers in our homes. Take the time to cleanse.....throw away old candy and receipts from three years ago....and donate your skinny jeans if you're just not going to fit in them anytime soon......

Saturday, July 26, 2008

it's all about the view....

It's been an amazing day...starting out with this view from our new house.....this was around 6:30 this morning...the sun was can see the whole valley...the Missouri River and so many's breathtaking. We should all start our day off by taking a look around and appreciating the beauty and life all around us...whether we have a view like this or could be the view of your husband next to you....your newborn baby in her crib....your sunflowers starting to bloom....or the city lights all starting to come on....just enjoy whatever it is that you're lucky enough to wake up to everyday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

nephew love....

so now I must give some love to my adorable nephews since I went on and on about my nieces yesterday. It isn't just that my nephews are's that they are so much so beyond their years....they are just amazingly smart....and know just how to cock that head to the side and give you a smile that will melt your heart and make you say yes to whatever it is they want at that moment.

I truly love my family....I didn't grow up having much of a family so I get so excited for our kids because they have so many cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. I hope they realize just how lucky they are to have all this love around them.....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

ode to youth.....

Lately....I've been thinking a lot about youth. I have been reading my old journals....especially those during my teen years. I have been looking at old pictures.....remembering days of no responsibility and just pure fun. (too bad we don't realize how good we have it while we're young...huh!?!?) I don't know why I've been going through this lately....but I've been missing my old friends....even though I am very good at keeping in touch with friends....there are a few that I have let slip friends in Sweden for instance....I long for lazy days with girlfriends....gossiping and planning our next night out.

I look at my nieces and adore their youth....their beauty is flawless and I am just so excited for them....for all they do now and for all they'll experience in the coming years. My ode to youth is to show just how beautiful youth is with pictures of my nieces. Oh to be young again........

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

closing a chapter....

I was thinking about my restaurant was a great little place. It wasn't fancy and it wasn't perfect....but the food was amazing and the cocktails were very hip for the time and place. I started making pomegranate martinis years ago before they were cool....and our mojitos were a staple long before Applebees and Fridays started making them as one of their signature drinks. Here's a couple pics of the any of my old customers and fans...........I miss you guys too.......and I, too, would love one of our baked brie w/pear and honey walnut sauce apps or one of our 7-cheese gourmet mac and cheese entrees right now!!! I look forward to a new dream and goal that will entice me and make me as proud as my first place.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yummy Potroast.....

So we went to the Jonas Bros. concert last night witht he kids (yea...don't ask....but hey...I used to love New Kids On the Block just as all these tweens love these boys!) so I made the pot roast tonight....can I just say yummy! This clay pot from Germany (that is mostly used to bake chicken) is amazing for pot roast. Even my 10 year old son gobbled it up! go to this cool site and buy one....they're amazing (and last forever!) and you don't need to add any oil or makes everything so tender and if you use good spices....the flavors are just amazing!

Directions for Use & Care

(from (also has some recipes to follow direction on the site)

Always soak the lid in cold water. The first time you use it, soak both the top and bottom for 30 minutes. Prior to subsequent uses, a 10 minute soaking will be sufficient. Soaking the bottom is not necessary after the first use.

Place the roaster in a cold oven, then set the temperature. (In gas ovens, turn to low heat after placing the roaster in the cold oven, and after 10 minutes turn to the temperature shown in your recipe.)

The lid is not tight fitting, to allow excess steam to escape, adjust the pressure within the pot, and facilitate browning of foods.

Do not add cold liquids during cooking time.

Foods brown with the lid on. Pre-browning is not necessary and basting is eliminated. If you want extra browning, just remove the lid the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.

Since oven temperatures vary and cooking times are affected by many factors (cuts, thickness of meat, etc.), check the food for doneness when first using your Glazed Schlemmertopf, to learn what to expect during future uses.

To keep it in top condition for many, many years, take care not to temperature-shock it by moving it from one extreme temperature to another. Use mitts or pot holders to move it when it is hot, and place it on a trivet, mat or folded dishtowel when moving it out of the oven.

Clean the bottom (glazed) part of the roaster with hot water, using a mild detergent. The bottom (glazed) part can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Clean the top (unglazed) part of the roaster using only hot water. If you must, add a drop or two of mild detergent. Do not use abrasives or scouring pads to clean the lid, and do not put it in the dishwasher.

Don't use the Schlemmertopf on an open flame or hot cooking plate. It is designed for oven and microwave use only.

I used a 2 1/2 pound beef roast and again...all I added was one large onion (cut into big chunks)...salt and pepper to taste (make sure you use enough salt...meat with no salt has no flavor!!!)...two sprigs of rosemary....4 cloves of garlic and 1/2 cup of red wine (I used a pinot noir...and remember don't use a wine that you wouldn't drink in cooking....make sure the wine is good!) I baked at 400* for 2 hours. You can add other veggies too like carrots...mushrooms....potatoes...etc...I just like to cook them seperately bc I don't like them too mushy. When you get your pot make sure to read all the directions and then start trying all your favorite recipes in it bc it really is a great way to make healthier meals that taste great!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I love to..............

I used to edit this photo of my favorite hot plate that I always have on my stove. I'm thinking of incorporating it into my logo somehow....I think it really looks good in red...what do you think?