Summer Drink

When You Need A Thirst Quenching Summer Drink

 

Refreshing Summer Drink

A refreshing summer drink made from fruits and vegetables is just what I want in July. By midsummer, the farmer’s markets are full of more beautiful ingredients than I can eat. That’s when I need to get out my juice recipes.

Fruits, Herbs and Vegetables

Fruits, Herbs and Vegetables for a Summer Drink

Herbs

My herb garden is my newest summer drink inspiration. Basil, mint, parsley and cilantro figure prominently in my recipes. Full of flavor, they add complexity to any beverage.  A mix of basil, watermelon, apple and lime juice is my newest after dinner treat. It’s sweet, filling and nutritious.  The basil also aids digestion and has mild sedative properties which makes it a perfect compliment to a evening meal.

Basil

Basil in the Herb Garden

Exercise

I take walks as a break from writing. It’s nice to get some fresh air after hours of solitude. When I get home I usually make a hydrating summer drink. The one that I make most ofen is a watermelon Agua Fresca. Watermelon is full of water and fiber. In the body, fiber acts as sponge, releasing water as the body needs it. Sweet and sour, it’s perfect for a hot day. For my Watermelon Agua Fresca recipe follow this link to my page on 30second.com. Also for more ideas about how to balance working remotely, check out my contributions to 7 Ways to Overcome Social Isolation on The Art of Happy Moving.

Sliced Watermelon

Watermelon

Green Juice

I wasn’t sure if I would like homemade green juice. I have mixed feeling about the packaged varieties. However, when I upgraded to a Vitamix blender, juicing became easy. It pulverizes everything. I just balance the flavors. Admittedly, a novice green juicer, I still rely on the sweetness of the fruit to balance the greens. Nevertheless, it’s a healthy low calorie snack that can be made in just minutes. It’s also more nutritious than packaged juices that remove the fiber. Try offering it to children who aren’t willing to eat spinach or kale. They might be entertained by the idea of sweet green juice, or willing to try it on a dare. Here’s my recipe. Let me know if it works for your family.

Homemade Green Juice

Green Juice

More Summer Drink Recipes

For mre summer drink ideas try my recipes for iced tea or a low alcohol Pimm’s Cup on my posts How to Make Perfect Iced Tea  or How to Create Your Favorite Summer Cocktail.

A Refreshing Summer Drink

Pimm’s Cup, a Refreshing Summer Drink

Recipe

Sweet Green Juice 

Serves: 1

1/2 cup Watermelon, cubed (rind and seeds removed)

1/2 cup Red Grapes

1/2 of a Banana

2 cups Spinach, stems removed

1/2 cup Ice

If you have a powerful blender add all the ingredients to the blender. Pulverize and serve. Otherwise, juice the grapes and watermelon. Then add the juice with the other ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kabul House Restaurant

When You Are Looking for the Best Middle Eastern Food in Chicago

Middle Eastern Food

I love Middle Eastern food, and one of my favorite Chicago discoveries is Kabul House, a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant. An Afghan kabob house, it draws on the cuisines of India, Persia, the Mediterranean and China.

Kabul House Middle Eastern Restaurant

Beautiful Lighting at Kabul House

Afghan Restaurants

Afghanistan is located in Central Asia, between the Indian Subcontinent, Iran and the former Soviet Union. Although Middle Eastern restaurants are common in the US, Afghan restaurants are relatively rare. Kabul House originated in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, IL. It’s opening in September of 2001 coincided with increased awareness of the country by American audiences. Delicious food and increased curiosity about Afghan culture have brought Kabul House a loyal following. A recent relocation now finds them in a beautiful space in the neighboring college town of Evanston.

Garnishes at Kabul House Middle Eastern Restaurant

Garnishes at Kabul House

Lunch

I adore vegetables.  Despite Kabul House being an Afghan Kabob House, it’s the vegetarian dishes that draw me back. At lunch, it’s the lighter side of the menu that tempts me. Aushak, a vegetarian dumpling is a popular lunch/appetizer. The dumplings are filled with scallions and leeks, I like them topped with yogurt – mint sauce. For bigger appetites, the dumplings are also available with a tomato – meat sauce.

Scallion and Chive Dumplings at Kabul House Middle Eastern Restaurant

Aushak, Scallion and Chive Dumplings

Vegetables

The Vegetarian Platter is one of favorite dishes. It contains an array of  baby pumpkin, eggplant, spinach and cauliflower, each cooked in its own spices. It comes with  a side dish of Afghan rice, fluffy basmati topped with raisins and julienned carrots.  The vegetables are also available individually. Nevertheless I like the platter because it is my chance to enjoy  a variety of vegetables my family won’t eat.  The sweet pumpkin is addictive. I also find the eggplant irresistible.

Vegetable Platter at Kabul House Middle Eastern Restaurant

Vegetable Platter

Kabobs

Kabul House  serves organic meats and poultry sourced from sustainable farms. The selection of traditional beef, lamb and chicken kabobs is extensive and even includes filet mignon, and rack of lamb.  I can find traditional kabobs in Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants throughout the Chicago. When I go to Kabul House, I choose a more unique dish. Recently I tried the Spicy Chicken Tikka kabob. The dish was as complex and spicy as any I’ve had in an Indian restaurant. Still, the Chicken Tikka was subtly different, not as creamy and more lightly sauced than Indian versions of the dish. Kabobs at Kabul House also include a choice of rice: Afghan (carrot-raisin,) Dill Lime, or White Saffron.

Spicy Chicken Tikka Kebob at Kabul House Middle Eastern Restaurant

Spicy Chicken Tikka Kebob

Decor

Kabul House is  unremarkable from the outside. The restaurant is quite different. Inside it’s s a colonial cafe with large windows looking out on adjacent park. I find Kabul House a tranquil, upscale oasis in an area otherwise populated by fast-casual dining options.

Light and Airy Kabul House Middle Eastern Restaurant

Light and Airy Kabul House

If you want more ideas for culinary exploration around Chicago read my posts: Possibly the Best Mexican Restaurant in Chicago and Why You Need to Try Chicago’s Amazing Mango Pickle.

Kale Salad

Why You Want a Better Kale Salad Recipe

A healthy kale salad might be a cliche, but it can also  be delicious.s Even people who hate cabbage like them. Low calorie and filled with fiber a kale salad is a perfect antidote to an indulgent holiday weekend.

Kale Salad

Sumer Kale Salad

I have to admit I didn’t expect to like kale. I don’t like cooked greens. Won over by kale chips I thought I’d try it raw. Not as delicate as spinach, fresh kale is is best chopped in a salad with bold flavors.

Raw Kale

Kale

I spread tiny bites of cheese, nuts and fruit throughout, to balance the dark leafy green. My summer recipe has sharp and salty Pecorino Romano, sweet cherries and toasted walnuts. Dressed with fruity vinaigrette, it makes a perfect lunch or side dish.

Fresh cherries

Cherries

If you are looking for more healthy recipes try my Yogurt Parfait or Roasted Salmon. They are easy to make, and nutritious.

Yogurt with Blueberries and Almonds

Yogurt Parfait

For ideas on how to lose weight read my posts a Healthy Way to Lose Weight or Food is a Way of Life.

 

Please share your favorite summer salad.

RECIPE

Summer Kale Salad

Serves 3 for lunch or 6 for dinner

 

6 handfuls kale (center stalk removed)

1 ounce Pecorino Romano, diced

1 ounce toasted walnuts, chopped

1 ounce pitted sweet cherries, chopped

Salt

Pepper

 Toasted Walnuts

Chopped Walnuts

Combine kale, Pecorino Romano, toasted walnuts and chopped cherries together. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Dress with Lemon Vinaigrette.

Fresh Lemon

Lemon

Lemon Vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Teaspoon maple syrup

 

Whisk together maple syrup and lemon juice. Whisk in the oil one table spoon at a time until emulsified.

 

 

Why You Should Make Barbecued Ribs the Easy Way

4th of July: fireworks, barbecued ribs, picnics and trips to the beach. I love all the holiday traditions, except one. I know this sounds like sacrilege, but my favorite barbecued ribs recipe relies on cooking in the oven.

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Lillies Q Barbecue Sauces

Barbecued ribs were a passion for my father. As a neighborhood bad boy, they symbolized his flaunting of convention. He became a connoisseur. We tried ribs throughout the Detroit area and while on vacation.

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Barbecued Ribs

I joined his barbecued rib quest, but I also make my own. While it is possible to make them on the grill, I think it’s easier to control the temperature in the oven. I want a delicious meal, but it’s also a holiday. I love the idea of putting something in the oven, and giving it little attention beyond occasional basting.

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Spice House Rub

My recipe owes a great debt to Ina Garten. She says: keep it simple and use the best ingredients. With that in mind I bought tender baby back ribs and a rub from Chicago’s Spice House. I often blend own spices, but I also love the unique combinations at this local store. I tried the Caribbean Calypso Seasoning, a combination of citrus peels, hot peppers, nutmeg and coriander mixed with salt.

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Ribs Ready to be Cooked: Coated with Rub and Sauce

I’ve tried many barbecue sauce recipes. Nothing I’ve made compares to the sauce by another local favorite, Lillie’s Q. I chose their tomato – vinegar based Carolina Sauce, but they have a sauce from every barbecue region. Also, if you want the taste of outdoor cooking try their Smoky or Hot Smoky.

charred-broccoli

Charred Broccoli

For more dishes for your Fourth of July celebration  try my recipes for Charred Broccoli or  a refreshing Orange and Avocado Salad.

Also for ideas for family fun on the 4th, read my tip on 30seconds.com

 

Easy Barbecued Ribs in the Oven

Serves 2-4

2 racks baby back ribs

Spice House Caribbean Calypso Seasoning

Lillies Q Carolina Sauce

 

Sprinkle the rub on the both sides of the meat and rub it in. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the racks meat side up and and apply a thin coating of sauce to the ribs. Tent the pan with foil. Bake for 2-2 ½ hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Apply another coating of sauce on the ribs and put under the broiler 3-5 minutes until the sauce has caramelized. Cut into sections of 3-5 ribs. Serve.

You Need These Simple Healthy Breakfast Ideas for a Fun Summer

On hot days I like a cold breakfast. I also want a breakfast recipe that is simple, healthy and packed with protein.

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Banana Coconut Breakfast Jar

Growing bored of toast, I started noticing enticing overnight oat jars. Stirred together than put in the refrigerator, they couldn’t be easier. I added chia seeds to turn the mixture into a smooth pudding and increase the nutritional value. I also increased the health benefits by adding ground flax seeds.

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Banana Coconut Breakfast Jar with Almond Butter

I think my favorite breakfast jar topping is peanut butter and blueberries. A close second was a banana coconut variation with almond butter. There are endless combinations. Try it with your favorite cereal, yogurt or oatmeal topping. Post your favorites!

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Peanut Butter and Blueberry Breakfast Jar

For other healthy breakfast recipes try my Peanut Butter and Vanilla Smoothie, Yogurt Parfait or Tropical Smoothie Bowl.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Breakfast Jar

¼ cup rolled oats

¼ milk of your choice

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Blueberries

Stir together rolled oats, milk, chia seeds, flax seeds nut butter and maple syrup and refrigerate overnight. In the morning fill the remaining space in the jar with blueberries and serve.

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Blueberries

Banana Coconut Breakfast Jar

¼ cup rolled oats

¼ milk of your choice

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Sliced banana

Unsweetened shredded coconut

Stir together rolled oats, milk, chia seeds, flax seeds nut butter and maple syrup and refrigerate overnight. In the morning fill the remaining space in the jar with sliced banana, shredded coconut and serve.

 

How to Make a Superior Cocktail for Father's Day

How to Make a Superior Cocktail for Father’s Day

Whether you find Father’s Day an opportunity or a challenge, it’s often the small things that make an occasion special.

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One way to make any dad’s day out of the ordinary is by making his favorite cocktail taste just a little better. It involves little investment. In fact, I’m sure you already have everything you need.

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Coarse and Fine Sea Salt

While sea salt has been everywhere on baked goods lately, adding a dash of salt to a cocktail has stayed under the radar. Similar to the affect it has on sweets on sweets, adding a pinch of salt to a drink heightens the other flavors.

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Salts

My knowledge of this trick actually comes from one my husband’s beloved cocktail books: Liquid Intelligence, The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by David Arnold. If you haven’t gotten that Father’s Day gift yet, I enthusiastically endorse it for all the science loving dads on your list.

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Adding a Drop of Salt Water to a Cocktail

For other cocktail ideas try my Blood Orange Negroni, Espresso Gin & Tonic  or Old Town Pimm’s Cup.

Superior Cocktail Recipe
Add a pinch of salt to any cocktail

Cocktail Salt Solution – 20% Solution
20 grams salt
80 milliliters of water

Dissolve the salt in the water. Put in a bottle with a dropper top. Add a drop or two to a cocktail.

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20% Solution

Find Out the Latest Way to Make Grilled Vegetables Remarkable

I love summers in Chicago, so I try to enjoy every minute. I work outside, eat outside and cook outside. Lately I’ve been grilling what I find at the farmers market.

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Grilled Sweet Potato Yogurt Bowl

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Chicago

My newest discovery is grilled sweet potatoes. Soft and custardy inside, they have the marvelous consistency of a roasted sweet potato without having the oven on for an hour.

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes

They’re delicious as a replacement for fries, or drizzled with sweet – tart pomegranate molasses. Although I enjoy it as a healthy side dish, my true favorite is having it for lunch topped with both pomegranate molasses and Greek yogurt.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate Molasses

Serves 4         

 3 sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon sal

1-2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Peel sweet potatoes. Cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each half in quarters to make eight spears. Put the sweet potatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, paprika and salt. Toss until the seasoning and olive oil is evenly distributed over the potatoes.

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Sliced Sweet Potatoes

Grill over indirect heat, turning every five minutes for approximately 30 minutes. The sweet potatoes are done when they are easily pierced with a fork. Arrange on a platter and drizzle with pomegranate molasses.

 

Sweet Potato and Yogurt Bowl

Serves 1

4 grilled sweet potato spears

½ cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses

Arrange 4 grilled sweet potato spears in a bowl. Top with Greek yogurt. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses.

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